Monday, February 07, 2022

The FORD's Helmets-Only Football practice

This is kind of strange and different ... so of course, it is kind of growing on me.

Via Megan Eckstein at Defense News;

The U.S. Navy has promised a first deployment for its new aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford by this fall — but that deployment won’t be a typical one, the head of Naval Air Force Atlantic told Defense News.

Ford won’t fall under the operational command of a regional combatant commander. Rather, it will conduct a “service-retained early employment” period where the Navy keeps full control over the ship’s activities and schedule, Rear Adm. John Meier said.

The Navy keeping COCOM hands off their ships for awhile ... good. Nice habit. We should do this more.

The carrier and its strike group will operate on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean alongside a long list of foreign navies, he said. But the operations will be outside the typical Global Force Management-dictated deployment in support of the joint force.


Meier told Defense News after the panel that this represented the best way to make use of Ford as it comes out of its first planned incremental availability in 2022, ahead of when the long-range Global Force Management plans begin to incorporate the new carrier. GFM is an approach meant to help oversee the allocation of forces.

Editorial note: in the name of all that is holy, please stop using GFM. For those of us with mild dyslexia, it is way too close to FGM and we have too many acronyms already. That and it sounds excessively bureaucratic. Same vibe as NLOS, NGAG, LSCvsLCS etc.

Under the new plan Meier laid out, the first GFM deployment could take place, roughly, on that 2024 timeline, meaning the Navy would squeeze in an operational employment of the carrier in 2022 without throwing off the joint force plan that dictates ships’ maintenance, training and deployment schedules.

Nice, but here is what I like about it;

Meier told Defense News the new carrier already has about 8,200 catapult launches and arrested landings — or cats and traps — from the extensive time the ship spent at sea in 2020 and 2021 for air wing integration, trials, new pilot carrier qualifications and more. Still, Meier said, the Navy has been unable to fully operate a carrier air wing the way it wants to: doing cyclical operations, with jet wings loaded up with missiles for mission training.

Solid. Just a solid idea as presented. In general, I'm a big fan of giving things to the fleet and let them try to work it. We learn a lot, find out what doesn't work like we thought it would, and as our Sailors always do - once they start to work with it they find things out - good and bad - that no one had thought of or appreciated sufficiently. The results at the end are hard to spin if you have the right leadership mindset and culture. 

We're going to go through the playbook, but at a slightly lower level of effort and with not everything fully testing the ship and our Sailors. Good, just like a pre-game helmets-only football practice. Good.

No downside here. Learn a lot ... and less chance for unnecessary injuries before the big game.

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