CRYSTAL CITY, Va (NNS) -- For the first time in the 30-year history of the Surface Navy Association (SNA) National Symposium, attendees were invited to attend panel discussions focused on surface warfare integration in Crystal City, Virginia, Jan. 10.
Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems, Vice Adm. William Merz, moderated the Preserving Our Naval Advantage: Investing for the Future panel consisting of senior leaders from Air, Undersea, Surface, Expeditionary and Warfare Integration Divisions.
During the panel, Merz discussed how investments in technologies, capabilities, and operating concepts enable flexibility and lethality.
"The Navy the Nation needs prioritizes restoring and sustaining readiness and wholeness of today's force to provide our teams what they need to fight and win, developing and quickly fielding advanced capabilities to maintain the competitive advantage, and increasing capacity to pace increasing presence and response burdens in support of our basic 'away game' maritime strategy," said Merz. "All three must be healthy to field the needed credible output. We're establishing an environment that concentrates more on output metrics and feedback loops. Something we have always intuitively considered, but now pursuing data analytics for reviewing comparative results. And we're moving faster."
Merz also stressed that this is a combined effort and requires multiple organizations to work together in order to reach the common goal.
"We're working with our partners in industry, the acquisition community and Capitol Hill to reform our process, remove hurdles, remove lethargy, and improve our agility in moving out on capability improvements when they become available," he added.
Rear Adm. Tom Druggan, commander, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), moderated this year's panel: Surface Warfare Domains-Integrating to Win, and highlighted the importance of delivering the necessary sea power to win and be victorious at sea.
"Things are moving fast these days," said Druggan. "We have to maintain and expand our competitive warfighting edge. NSWC has to deliver the sea power. We are in a competitive environment for control of the sea. It threatens our way of life. Number two doesn't cut it...we have to be number one. We have to be eyes wide open, improve our readiness and take advantage of our technological solutions. But we also have to do our due diligence and get it into the fleet in a usable manner."
Druggan and his panel also discussed the Navy's intentions of moving forward, the importance of developing cost effective flexible platforms, shipboard integration, and future warfare architecture.
Today's panels provided military leaders and members of the industry the opportunity to discuss and showcase current and developing technologies and to enhance the Navy's warfighting capabilities through integration.
The Surface Navy Association was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination and communication among the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in naval surface warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces.
The SNA symposium will continue through Jan. 11. View the symposium live stream on the Navy live blog and join the conversation on social media using #SNA2018.