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!


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.

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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