A force-multiplier is something that by its existence, use, or actions enhances the effectiveness of other things. Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) is a force-multiplier in that it enhances the AAW abilities of all the individual units enabling them to achieve levels of performance that they could not, on their own. It’s commendable that the Navy looks for and attempts to implement force-multipliers. However, there’s one extremely potent force-multiplier that is readily available to the Navy, can be instantly implemented, costs nothing on a relative basis, would produce staggering benefits and yet is not being used to advantage. Training!
|Did Anyone Learn Anything?|
“This change has begun in the departments of the Navy and Air Force; the CNO and CSAF have written: ‘The Air-Sea Battle operational concept will guide our efforts to train and prepare air and naval forces for combat. We already train together and share joint doctrine. Under Air-Sea Battle, we will take ‘jointness’ to a new level, working together to establish more integrated exercises against more realistic threats.’”
"I hate missile exercises. Because of the inordinate safety concerns, they have become the very worst of Kabuki theater, scripted to the finest point, overcommunicated, and essentially meaningless.""To some degree we have become a navy that specializes in safety, communicating, inspecting, engineering, administering, retaining, and counseling. There is too little emphasis on shiphandling, warfighting, battle repairing, and leading. ... we all need to know that the essence of why navies exist is to fight and win at sea.As an example of how we are a bit out of whack is that if I charted my personal time, I suspect I spend virtually my entire day working the first list and precious little devoted to the latter."
Not only is he unhappy with the quality of training, he notes how little time is spent doing it.
He goes on to describe some of the weapons training exercises and I'm struck by the extremely simplistic, set-piece nature of them. For instance, he describes the CIWS training which consists of a Lear Jet with a tow target banner flying in straight lines back and forth alongside the ship while the CIWS shoots at the banner. How's that for realism? All that does is verify that the CIWS is mechanically functional.
Those are quotes and observations from the horse's mouth.
Now, here’s the really ironic and unfortunate part. Yes, our training is lacking, at the moment. But, it could be drastically improved with no capital expenditure, whatsoever, by simply providing realistic training. Instead of scripted exercises, use free form activities. Train to operate sensors in a heavy jamming environment. Exercise ship movements without the aid of GPS signals (USS Port Royal grounded because the GPS was non-functional and navigation lost positional awareness). And so on …
A good training exercise would be to place a ship in an open patch of water, turn off GPS, subject the ship to continuous jamming and for several straight days “attack” the ship from planes, ships, small craft, and subs at irregular intervals at any time of day. Want to see how well a Captain has trained his ship? That’ll do it. When the entire ship’s company has to be involved rather than just the “A” team, it will quickly become apparent where the training shortfalls are. It will also become obvious which equipment works in a wartime scenario and which doesn’t. Let the crew and command see scenarios they’ve never seen before.
|Iranian Small Craft - Are We Training for This?|
(1) Armed Forces Journal, AirSea Battle: Clearing the Fog, DuPree & Thomas, http://www.armedforcesjournal.com/2012/05/10318204