Home » Aviation » Navy Leaders Say ‘Dynamic Force Employment’ Proving Successful in Truman Deployment

Navy Leaders Say ‘Dynamic Force Employment’ Proving Successful in Truman Deployment

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson is greeted by commander of Carrier Strike Group 8, Rear Adm. Gene Black on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on Nov. 22, 2018. US Navy Photo

The chief of naval operations and the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group leadership said their first deployment under the dynamic force employment (DFE) model sharpened their proficiency in high-end warfare more than expected, the leaders said during a media call while aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) for Thanksgiving.

The Truman CSG is nearing the end of its scheduled “deployment phase” and will return home to maintain its readiness in the “sustainment phase,” under the Optimized Fleet Response Plan. Asked how the first DFE deployment had gone, CNO Adm. John Richardson said “magnificently.”

“We laid out some very challenging goals for ourselves in terms of this dynamic deployment. I would say that the Navy by nature is predisposed to being dynamic and moving around. It is very good to kind of get back into that game a little bit,” he said, noting the Truman strike group had performed a wide range of mission sets in a much more diverse set of environments than a typical East Coast carrier deployment, which would cut through the Mediterranean to launch air strikes on Middle East targets from either U.S. 6th Fleet or U.S. 5th Fleet waters.

“I talked about this dynamic force employment with some of my predecessors, and they looked at me like, well what else have you been doing? This is what we do in the Navy,” he said during the call.
“So we don’t have to go too far back to sort of recapture what it means to be moving around the world as a strike group or an individual deployer and really kind of making everybody guess, hey where’s this team going to show up next? What are they going to bring to us next?”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenburg, center, Supreme Allied Commander Europe, Gen. Mike Scaparotti, left, and Commander, Carrier Strike Group 8, Rear Adm. Gene Black observe flight operations on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on Oct. 12, 2018. US Navy Photo

Reflecting on how DFE forced the Navy to think a little differently about this carrier strike group deployment, Richardson said Truman’s foray into the Arctic Circle for two months was a “back to the future” event that forced the Navy to research how the service operated and sustained ships in the high north during the Cold War era.

Capt. Nick Dienna, Truman’s commanding officer, said during the call that one example of that involved “an old Navy Arctic operations publication, and within that publication there was a list of the snow and ice removal equipment each ship should be equipped with. And number-one on that list was 48 baseball bats. So we outfitted ourselves with 48 Louisville Sluggers and some additional equipment. And I bring this up to sort of demonstrate that, while operating in some of the areas that we did were beyond some of our personal experience, the body of knowledge and the experience base in the U.S. Navy still exists, and it’s a matter of recapturing lessons learned and continuing to learn rapidly and relevantly.”

The Royal Norwegian Navy Fridtjof Nansen-class frigate HNoMS Thor Heyerdahl (F 314), left, pulls alongside the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) for a replenishment-at-sea in the Norwegian Sea on Oct. 26, 2018. US Navy photo.

The unexpected locations the carrier strike group visited were part of the DFE’s stated goal of creating operational unpredictability. Truman Strike Group Commander Rear Adm. Gene Black said during the call that that led to the CSG spending more time with NATO allies than usual, which ultimately allowed for more high-end training.

“We’ve gotten the opportunity to cover most of the Med and on up into the North Atlantic and operate in partnership with the Moroccans, the Italians, the French, the Brits, the Canadians, the Norwegians, and the Portuguese. We got to partner with our own Air Force doing some very high-end training with the air wing. So to me the opportunities are amazing,” Black said.
“We did the French Air Defense Week in partnership with the French, got up to the French ranges, operated with some of their ships. Operated with the U.K. for Flag Officer Sea Training, FOST. The opportunity … is an operator’s dream. You show up and you get to do things with NATO partners and allies that we haven’t been able to do to this high-end to the same extent. So it’s an absolute thrill.”

That high-end training had a particular eye towards anti-submarine warfare (ASW). Black acknowledged his strike group had done more ASW training with partners and with U.S. Navy P-8A Poseidons stationed in Europe than a typical strike group would do, and he said that emphasis started with the group’s predeployment training.

“We were so well prepared for the high-end ASW fight in our COMPTUEX. It was the best ASW training I’ve seen in my career – and I’ve been around long enough to remember when it was the centerpiece in the late ‘80s, and now it’s back and it’s more demanding than it was then. We were ready for whatever came at us, and we did get to use some of those tools” during the deployment.

Richardson called ASW a “team sport,” both within the Navy – where P-8s, surface ships and attack submarines all contribute to the mission – as well as between the U.S. and its partners and allies.

“Nothing brings the team together like a challenge like that, and they’ve really done an excellent job rising to that challenge,” he said.

Aviation Ordnanceman 3rd Class Michael Powell, assigned to the ‘Fighting Checkmates’ of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 211, moves ordnance on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) on Oct. 23, 2018. US Navy Photo

After leaving Naval Station Norfolk in April and returning in late July for a working port visit, the Truman CSG should be returning home later this year for the end of its official deployment phase. Whereas in July “we came back in working uniform and we got to work, this time we’re going to have the whole homecoming with Santa Claus and the band and the radio station, and all the good stuff that comes with that,” Black said.

Once Truman enters the sustainment phase, the strike group’s job will be to fix up the ships as needed and keep their skills sharp as the surge force, in case the Navy’s application of dynamic force employment requires them to head overseas again.

Black said the working port visit “was pretty remarkable in that we got an excellent material reset and were back out, but there’s a number of bigger jobs that have got to get done when we get back, and then we’ll be right back to it ready to deploy. We’ll do some sustainment-type exercises, some other things, but we will maintain our ability to deploy whenever CNO calls me and tells me to go.”

Dienna noted that dynamic force employment inherently requires a hefty investment from the Navy to create and sustain strike groups that can conduct any mission at any location to keep potential adversaries on their heels.

“I can tell you we are in phenomenal shape as we look to that sustainment phase. We’ve had both execution and training opportunities beyond what I think any of us anticipated. From a material standpoint, we’re doing phenomenally and we have some opportunities in the sustainment phase not simply to sustain our readiness if we’d be required to subsequently serve, but to even improve on the baseline where we’re at right now and focus on more high-end capability,” Dienna said.

A sailor stands on the flight deck during flight operations aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN-75) in the North Atlantic on Sept. 18, 2018. US Navy Photo

Richardson acknowledged Dienna’s point and said “we’ve got to commit at my level to making sure that the sustainment phase is properly resourced, that the strike group and each of the ships and the sailors have what they need in terms of materiel and funding, fuel, everything they need to maintain that level of readiness through the sustainment phase. So we’ll do that.”

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith added during the call that the Navy was committed to keeping the strike group fully manned during the sustainment phase in case the group were to deploy again.

Richardson concluded by saying “this is a higher level of demand for the entire Navy – we’re upping our game.” He said he was pushing the fleet to operate at the high end of warfare – “much more sophisticated technologically, operationally, really across the entire spectrum of maritime operations and warfighting.”

He praised sailors for rising to the occasion and “being more creative, coming up with solutions that we never would have thought of to pretty vexing problems. Morale is up. Retention is up.”

  • DaSaint

    Bless these sailors on deployment away from their families during the holidays. Always so proud of such commitment and sacrifice for country.

    Looking forward to more of these types of deployments. They’re demanding, and will in essence require really capable ships and crews. Burkes fit that requirement, as do the Ticos. With that said, to me it seems that the FFG(X) would have to be at the top end of the frigate capability spectrum.

    • Ser Arthur Dayne

      So I agree- and I know you’re a big fan of the BAE/Type 26 frigates — and while I personally think the FREMM would be the best ship overall (provided 32 VLS ) and the HII Sea Control/Patrol frigate would probably be the best overall value — my main concern is “Quality” vs. “Quantity” here. And let me be very clear, because that statement could be taken out of context. What I mean is, I think it’s very important to have a very highly spec’d, highly equipped and armed FFG, but perhaps not as MUCH armament as a DDG-51/CG-47. We already know what type of radar it will have- which will be the newest tech we have, just scaled down in size. We want it to have as much armament and equipment as possible — but obviously it won’t have 90/96/122 cells less than half is the theoretical max possible. Probably won’t have more than 8 “over-the-horizon” missiles, but they’ll also be less than half the size of our current ASM (Harpoons) … however, they’re supposed to be more likely to actually hit their targets due to improved stealthiness and passive IR scanning. I’d think that (to use the FREMM example) a very high-end FFG, with hi-end radar, EW/ESM, 8 capable small-to-mid size ASMs, 16 cells devoted to ESSMs (x4=64 very very capable medium-range SAMs) and 16 VLS cells devoted to TacTom Block IVs, SM-6s, and ASROCs , with an MH-60R multirole helo, towed array + VDS sonars, possibility of several guns (the FREMM has 2 versions, one with a 127mm fore and 76mm aft, and another with 76mms fore AND aft — which, if we’re absolutely dead set on the 57mm popgun, at least we could have two of them per ship) plus remote autocannons, Cooperative Engagement Capability, these are high-end ships that might not be able to fight entire SAGs by themselves like a Burke or Tico, but could certainly do plenty of fighting and pack both an offensive and defensive wallop whenever needed. The last thing I want is an LCS with bolted-on NSMs and an 8-cell ESSM launcher that are rebranded “FFGs” lol. I know you feel similarly, I guess I just felt like soapboxing my FREMM fantasies lol.

      • DaSaint

        What I like about the FREMM is that it can accommodate 2 helos, has been proven to accommodate various sensors and weapons specific to the custoner, and has a decent propulsive set and good speed. Fincatieri knows how to build ships for their customer, both commercial and naval.

        What I don’t like about it is its funky superstructure, which to me has lots of angles, but not necessarily reflective ones conducive to stealth. The other thing I don’t like about it is the fact that both its primary users are moving on to different platforms. To me that’s not a good sign.

        That notwithstanding, a modified version would do just fine and be a major improvement over the current LCS classes or their proposed variants. Completely agree!

        And yeah, I’m having this love affair with the Type 26, because not to would mean I need to have a love affair with the Typhoon and not the F-35. One is on the way in, and the other on the way out. From a technical and a relationship standpoint, our primary allies are deciding to purchase the most capable aircraft from us. It kinda makes sense to purchase the most capable frigate platform from them that also is being validated by purchases from some of our closest allies, Australia and Canada, because that would also bring tremendous benefits from interoperability and familiarity, just as the F-35, or even the P-8 will.

        • Ser Arthur Dayne

          Fair enough brother, all well said.

          I always assumed that if we adopted the FREMM — or anything else — we will have to do some “redesigning the design” so-to-speak, and I take your point about the masts and stacks — I figured they’d be different in actual US production than they look now (however much more or less). I am sorry but I have no idea what you’re talking about as far as replacement — Italy and France both have different versions and have ordered more to replace current ships (of other classes. ) I guess you’ll have to educate me there.

          And I hear ya, lots of people on here like the Type 26. It’s just not likely — at all– to get chosen. They’re not going to cancel a program in the LCS, to open up a new program, the FFG(X), narrow it down to 5, proceed with the choosing competition/process, then pick an option not even in the running. I don’t have Navy experience but I do have some government AND business experience. This day and age, that’s not going to happen, in my humble opinion.

          And hey now, don’t equate the P-8 with the F-35. By all accounts, people LIKE the P-8 lol.

          • DaSaint

            ROFL at your comment about people liking the P-8 vs the F-35! You’ve got a point there!

            I could be mistaken, and often am, that both France and Italy had new classes to succeed the FREMM, but maybe it was to replace other classes. Will check on that.

            The Navy does state though that the future RFP for the FDG(X) is open, and selection for the previous RFP is not a prerequisite. To me, that’s an open door or a get-out-of jail free card. Plus, we have a POTUS that has placed his thumb on strategic and personal relationships so…

    • vetww2

      RIGHT ON>

  • vetww2

    Versus “STATIC Force Deployment? These people must be straight off of Madison Avenue, Let’s all sing,”BOOLA, BOOLA, BOOLA BOOLA.

    • wilkinak

      Call me a cynic, but when has the Navy Brass ever stated that the Next Big Thing wasn’t working as planned?

      • tom dolan

        When ‘Fat Leonard’ testified against them I imagine…lol.

      • old guy

        It does shake me a bit when our Navy leaders speak and act in such a sophomoric manner. I thought that we were better than that/

  • politicalcorrectnesskills

    God bless our Navy and all other branches of the US military. Thank you to all service members for your service and sacrifice. 🇺🇸♥️

  • Curtis Conway

    I find it incredible that the CNO evaluation of the Dynamic Deployment Strategy has worked so well, and they weren’t using the Littoral Combat Ship crew rotation model. I guess those technicians who own and live with THEIR equipment really does work!
    “BZ” Fleet . . . keep going!

  • Phil50

    “Dienna noted that dynamic force employment inherently requires a hefty investment from the Navy to create and sustain strike groups that can conduct any mission at any location to keep potential adversaries on their heels.”

    Does this mean that before Navy started using the term DFE, that they were not able to create and sustain strike groups that could conduct any mission?

  • vetww2

    The FFG-7, Perry class is a superior hull design to all but the “MEKO”s, and not that much worse.
    1. If the fineness ratio of the hull were to be increased by ~20% (450 to 540), the L/B would go to 12, and the speed wiuld go to 34 knots,with no power change. The displacement would go to about 4,600tons, depending on added system weight. The waterline must not change.
    2. The added ~80,000 Cu. Ft. of hull space could accomodate new systems, and the 3000 sq.ft. of deck space could augment A/C operations. If the superstructure were then to be RIVETED to the hull ( a proven idea from the PG-84) the Racking Cracking problem would be solved. Retraining of the crew would be reduced and many of the most complex construction tooling could be used.

  • old guy

    Versus “Static Force Deployment?”