Flotilla SITREP: Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and Surface Navy Sessions

By Dmitry Filipoff

There is even more than usual going on in the world of geopolitics and naval power, to say the least. This month the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla will be looking to discuss current events and recently published, hard-hitting critiques of Navy combat readiness.

Down below is a peek at the invites for our upcoming February discussions. Of special note may be the session on the naval dimensions of the brewing Russia-Ukraine crisis, and how Russian Black Sea naval power could feature in a contingency. 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 February sessions.

Last month the CIMSEC Warfighting Flotilla held sessions focused on the Surface Navy, including discussions on tracking tactical skill in the surface fleet as well as how to maximize shipboard organization for combat effectiveness. These candid conversations revealed opportunities and shortfalls to be addressed, and helped connect like-minded individuals focused on advancing naval warfighting. 

Feel free to visit the Flotilla homepage to learn more about this community, its activities, and what drives it.


Upcoming February Sessions

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet and The Role of Naval Power in the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

The Russia-Ukraine crisis is brewing with more than 100,000 Russian troops alongside Ukraine’s borders and 140 Russian Navy vessels engaged in exercises. In the event of a significant Russian incursion, how could Russia’s Black Sea Fleet be brought to bear? What operations could be conducted and toward what objectives? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we contemplate the naval dimensions of this major crisis.

Read Ahead: “How Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Could Change the Equation in Ukraine,” by Dr Sidharth Kaushal and Sam Cranny-Evans

Navy Cryptologic and Cyber Warfare Effectiveness

Cyber warfare has long been heralded by Navy and DoD leaders as a critical force multiplier and major arena of competition. But is the Navy well-structured to seize the opportunity of cyber, or effectively defend itself from threats emanating from this domain? To what extent does the Navy’s cryptologic and cyber communities have the resident expertise, training, and integration to be effective? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the Navy’s cyber effectiveness.

Read Ahead: “Navy Cryptologic Warfare Officers Cannot Do Cyber,” by LCDR Derek Bernsen, USNR

Going from Short Term “Can-Do” to “Combat Ready”

The Navy has long operated under a “can-do” logic that sought to maximize the availability of the fleet for operational tasking. But after operating under such logic for decades, many fundamentals of combat readiness have atrophied. How can the Navy restore more balance to the relationship between its availability and readiness? What practices have been corroded by can-do culture, and what opportunities could be seized with a culture change? Join us to discuss these questions and more as we consider the effects of “can-do” culture on the Navy’s combat readiness.

Read Ahead: “Change Can-do to Combat Ready,” by LCDR Aaron Marchant, USN

Completed 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

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

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)

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

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