By Jeff Landis, Deputy Director, Corporate Communications, NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support
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Two F/A-18E Super Hornets from the Tophatters of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14 participate in an air power demonstration over the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). –photo by Mass CSSA Ignacio D. Perez
More than 200 senior leaders from the Supply Corps converged in Leesburg, Virginia, Nov. 6-9, at the Supply Corps Senior Leadership Symposium (SCSLS) to focus on their top priorities to support the warfighter and maintain a robust corps of supply professionals. Attendees ranged from active and Reserve flag officers to senior executive service (SES) members, captains and captain selects from the Supply Corps community. Each played a vital role in sharing discussions and perspectives to help shape the future environment of naval supply support.
Several Supply Corps officers (SUPPOs) from NAVSUP Weapon Systems Support (WSS) in Mechanicsburg and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, attended SCSLS with a focus on the Corps’ heavy lifting into the new year – audit, accountability, reform and readiness.
Introductory remarks from Commander, NAVSUP and Chief of Supply Corps, Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic, focused on the imperative of readiness and reform – auditing and tracking assets and modernizing systems and processes – to increase the readiness, responsiveness and lethality of our naval forces. She also reminded that SUPPOs are in high demand and discussed how the Supply Corps must manage risk to make significant and swift changes.
“We exist to support readiness and lethality,” said Skubic. “NAVSUP, with both a Supply Corps and civilian presence, will continue to aggressively improve impact in the industrial space. Our supply expertise is key to getting ships out of availabilities on time and jets back in the air.”
Rear Adm. Duke Heinz, commander of NAVSUP WSS, provided a brief about Performance to Plan (P2P) – a new initiative focused on a deliberate approach to readiness recovery for naval aviation, surface and undersea warfare using a concrete plan with distinct measurables. Heinz described the three-year P2P plan (one year of execution and two to cover the program objective memorandum) as a way to provide the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) with a forward-looking, data driven, operating performance forecast while also allowing senior leadership to get involved early and often to fix any problems and ensure success.
Deputy Commander for Aviation, Capt. Kerri Yarbrough, and Director of Aviation Operations, Capt. Michael York, along with other NAVSUP WSS SUPPOs, recognized the imperative to get it right and get after audit and accountability – to be “front and center” in the solution.
“NAVSUP’s reform efforts have paved the way ahead for us,” said Yarbrough, “but our sense of urgency must penetrate our entire organization and the way we focus our efforts in order to have a direct and immediate impact on fleet readiness.”
NAVSUP WSS in Philadelphia has been tackling one of the more pressing issues – fighter aircraft readiness recovery; predominantly with the F/A-18 fighter jets bridging a gap before the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is able to reach operational capability.
Now, with a laser focus on correcting all the top degraders – those F-18 repair items and parts that are needed to keep the aircraft flying – NAVSUP WSS can aggressively seek repair, supply and delivery solutions with a sense of urgency. Materiel readiness planning meetings, along with strategic industry engagements and workshops, among other efforts, are areas where NAVSUP WSS is aggressively seizing opportunities on a path for readiness recovery. NAVSUP WSS is also taking part in a new aircraft-on-ground (AOG) cell – a collaborative, cross-functional effort between various stakeholders to expand a path of success for all of naval readiness.
“We have a real sense of urgency here,” said York. “Our positive impact on fleet readiness could most certainly affect the outcome in the next naval battlespace. The near-peer threats are real and modernizing supply chain functions and processes to provide the fleet what they need when they need it will ensure our naval forces are ready for the next fight.”