Category Archives: Warfighting Flotilla

Flotilla SITREP: Airborne ASW and Cyber Damage Control, Plus Upcoming Surface Navy Sessions

By Dmitry Filipoff

Happy New Year to all our readers and members! We hope you had a safe and healthy break going into the exciting new year. We have a lot in store for our new naval professional society.

Last month the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla held sessions on airborne anti-submarine warfare and cyber damage control. These candid conversations revealed opportunities and shortfalls to be addressed, and helped connect like-minded individuals focused on advancing naval warfighting. 

Down below is a sneak peak at the invites for our January sessions, which will focus on the Surface Navy. Matters of tactical excellence in the surface fleet have always precipitated especially spirited discussion in prior Flotilla sessions, and we anticipate these next sessions to be no different.

If you haven’t already, sign up through the form below to become a Flotilla member and receive invites to our upcoming off-the-record January sessions. Feel free to visit the Flotilla homepage to learn more about this community, its activities, and what drives it.

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Upcoming January Sessions

How to Measure Tactical Skill and Experience in the Surface Fleet

The Surface Navy, with the Surface and Mine Warfighting Development Center (SMWDC) in the lead, is trialing a new system of measuring tactical experience and skill— the Surface Warfare Combat Training Continuum (SWCTC). What sort of criteria should be used, and what sorts of experience should be tracked? How should this data be used to inform shipboard management and career tracks? Join us to discuss how the surface fleet can better measure tactical skill and harness the data.

Read Ahead: “Surface Navy to Kick Off Program to Track, Assess Sailors Combat Skills,” by Megan Eckstein
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New Shipboard Organizations for Surface Warships

The shipboard organization of surface ships has a direct bearing on leaders’ ability to cultivate tactical proficiency. Could new shipboard organizations and delineations of duties allow leaders to focus more deeply on developing warfighting skills? What could such reorganizations look like and how can they be trialed? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the relationship between shipboard organization and tactical focus in the surface fleet.

Read Ahead: “Time for a New Shipboard Organization,” by Lieutenant Colin Barnard
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Embracing Failure in Warfighter Culture

Failure is a critical part of learning and development. But within certain cultures and organizations, failure can carry a stigma that inhibits its effective use. How can warfighters better embrace failure as a force of learning and progress? How can aversion to failure mask important shortfalls and sideline opportunities to innovate? What is the role of leaders in setting a constructive tone around the value of failure? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the role of failure in furthering warfighting excellence.

Read Ahead: “Embrace the F-Word,” by Captain Roger G. Herbert Jr., U.S. Navy (Retired)
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Previous December 2021 Sessions

Airborne Anti-Submarine Warfare

Airborne ASW witnessed atrophying skillsets and declining platform counts in the immediate post-Cold War era. Now airborne ASW could prove decisive in addressing growing undersea threats posed by great power rivals, and others. How can airborne ASW improve its combat readiness with respect to modern threats? How can airborne ASW work with other communities to enhance the overall ASW readiness of the fleet? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the state of airborne ASW.

Read Ahead: “Rebuild Air ASW,” by CDR Nicholas Woodworth
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Cyberspace Damage Control

Cyberspace undergirds much if not most modern naval capability. Cyberattacks are expected to feature predominantly in modern high-end conflict, but are warships prepared to weather the effects? Are shipboard crews and shore-based support organizations effectively trained and organized to handle cyber damage control? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we contemplate damage control with respect to cyber.

Read Ahead: “We Need Cyberspace Damage Control,” by CDR Damien Dodge
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Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content and Community Manager of the Warfighting Flotilla. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.

Flotilla SITREP: Surface Navy Tactical Excellence, Bonhomme Richard Fire, and Carriers

By Dmitry Filipoff

The CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla, our new naval professional society, is off to a strong start. After last month’s public launch, new signups prompted the membership to more than triple to nearly 200 members, an exciting start for the Flotilla.

Our first round of post-launch discussion sessions were well-attended, insightfully candid, and further illuminated the exciting potential of this new community. Our November session topics, their prompts, and the recommended read aheads are listed down below for reference.

Sign up through the form below to become a Flotilla member and receive invites to our upcoming off-the-record December sessions. Feel free to visit the Flotilla homepage to learn more about this community, its activities, and what drives it.

We hope to see you at a session soon!

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The State of Tactical Excellence in the Surface Navy

The Surface Navy is looking to improve its tactical skillsets to meet the demands of high-end warfighting. But after decades of focusing on power projection missions, extensive checklists, and significant maintenance demands, the state of tactical excellence in the Navy could have room for improvement. What is the state of tactical learning today in the Surface Navy, and how are things trending? How can the Surface Navy better organize for enhanced tactical learning, especially with respect to great power threats? Join us to consider these questions and more as we consider the state of tactical excellence in the Surface Navy.

Recommended Read Aheads:

“The Surface Navy: Still in Search of Tactics,” by Captain Christopher H. Johnson, U.S. Navy, CIMSEC (republication), July 10, 2018.

“What Got Us Here Won’t Get Us There,” by Vice Admiral Roy Kitchener, Rear Admiral Brad Cooper, and Rear Admiral Paul Schlise, U.S. Navy, Proceedings, January 2021.

Warfighting Lessons from the Bonhomme Richard Fire

The loss of the Bonhomme Richard, according to the Navy’s investigation, was the result of “repeated failures [that] allowed for the accumulation of significant risk and an inadequately prepared crew, which led to an ineffective fire response.” What warfighting lessons can the Navy take from the loss of the Bonhomme Richard? Are there implications for damage control readiness, training, and organization? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider what can be learned from the Bonhomme Richard fire.

Recommended Read Aheads:

Long Chain of Failures Left Sailors Unprepared to Fight USS Bonhomme Richard Fire, Investigation Finds,” by Sam LaGrone and Gidget Fuentes, USNI News, October 19, 2021.
Fire, Fire, Fire: How Navy Failures Destroyed the Bonhomme Richard,” by CW4 Michael Carr (ret.), gCaptain, October 26, 2021.

How To Use The Carrier in the High-End Fight

The role of the aircraft carrier in high-end warfighting is under intense scrutiny as peer competitors develop ever more powerful capabilities. What could the role of the aircraft carrier be in modern, networked fleet combat? How could the aircraft carrier figure into Distributed Maritime Operations? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider future warfighting roles for the aircraft carrier.

Recommended Read Ahead: “Use Carriers Differently in a High-End Fight,” by Captain Robert “Barney” Rubel, U.S. Navy (ret.), Proceedings, September 2018.
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Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content and Community Manager of the Warfighting Flotilla. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.

Announcing the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla — Join Our New Naval Professional Society Today

By Dmitry Filipoff

Today we announce a CIMSEC initiative long in the making — a new naval professional society where warfighters and interested individuals can come together to discuss naval warfighting, force development, and the naval profession. Through this naval society — the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla — members will have candid, off-the-record discussions about the ever-changing nature of naval warfighting, how to better organize tactical learning, and how to refine naval professional development to meet warfighting challenges.

Through a months-long series of trial discussions we have amassed more than 60 plank-owning members, a strong and exciting start for our growing membership. These off-the-record conversations have been lively and candid, focusing on topics such as Warfare Tactics Instructor programs, air defense concepts, integrating for cross-community anti-submarine warfare, and much more. The connections made between our members has fostered professional development and expanded personal networks of tactically-minded individuals.

Today we make the Flotilla public and open for any interested individuals to join as members. Fill out the form below to join today and receive invites to our upcoming November sessions. Read on to learn more about the principles driving our growing community.

The Flotilla takes its name from the Torpedo Flotilla of the Atlantic Fleet, an early 20th century naval formation commanded by renowned naval commander and thinker William S. Sims. Sims transformed the Flotilla into an at-sea laboratory for the development of tactics and doctrine on the eve of the First World War. Sims systematically convened Flotilla sailors in equitable and candid conversations about the development of tactics and doctrine, which would inform subsequent at-sea exercises and formal publications. Many of the U.S. Navy’s senior leaders of the Second World War passed through Sims’ Flotilla as junior officers, where their professional development was no doubt enhanced by a collaborative spirit singularly focused on excelling at naval warfighting.

And those two core features are what animate the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla. Today the attention of warfighters is often pulled in myriad directions and across numerous burdens, often forcing the in-depth professional development of tactically-focused skills to take a backseat. The Flotilla’s discussion sessions are exclusively on topics of naval warfighting and force development to guarantee a tight focus on matters immediately relevant to warfighting excellence.

To ensure candid and equitable exchanges, Flotilla conversations are off-the-record, respectful, and collaborative. Issues are explored, solutions are offered, and individuals emerge from conversations with the potential for new relationships and fresh insights. Unless otherwise specified, all Flotilla members participate in a personal, unofficial capacity, ensuring all have an equitable opportunity to speak and be heard. In this community we recognize in earnest that helpful ideas and insights can come from any background and level of experience.

The CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla will help advance the conversations surrounding naval warfighting and force development, while building community and enhancing professional development. Together we will build a strong community of tactically-minded members focused on advancing naval warfighting excellence. 

Join our new naval professional society today to participate and be kept apprised of future activities and member-only opportunities. There is much more to come from the Flotilla soon!

Dmitry Filipoff is CIMSEC’s Director of Online Content and Community Manager of the Warfighting Flotilla. Contact him at Content@cimsec.org.