In CNO’s Sailing Directions I explain how we can accomplish our Navy’s core responsibilities and execute its missions by applying three guiding tenets (Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready) to every decision we make that affects the Navy. Warfighting First is our core responsibility—it’s the reason we have a Navy. Operate Forward is our global maritime mandate to be where it matters, when it matters. Be Ready is the critical link that achieves our purpose and ensures we meet our mandate. The “Be Ready” principle is about creating and sustaining a ready fighting force, while harnessing the teamwork, talent and imagination of our diverse workforce.
To achieve our core responsibility as a Navy we must build and sustain a ready fighting force. We do this by training and equipping our Sailors with what they need to fight and win today, while building our capability to win tomorrow. The keys are relevant equipment, credible capability and proficient Sailors. We need Sailors who understand their equipment, have confidence in how it works and can operate it in any environment. Having the most advance tools and weapon systems does us no good if, when the time comes, our Sailors are unable to operate them. Sailors need proven equipment and systems, as well as the time and resources to train; realistic training that tests and trains Sailors and builds a crew’s proficiency and confidence.
Proficiency breeds confidence, and confidence is the true measure of readiness. Whether you’re flying in a flight simulator, responding to a main-space fire drill, conducting live-fire naval surface fire support, or completing the daily boat report, these are all part of “Being ready” and ensures we can meet the mission and you can effectively fight when the time comes.
Being ready also means doing everything possible to harness the teamwork, talent and imagination of our diverse workforce. When you raised your right hand and joined the Navy you joined an organization that fundamentally relies on trust. In order to be ready, Sailors have to trust one another. They trust you know your equipment and understand your job, but they also trust that you’re ready to respond when needed. Mentally and physically fit Sailors get the job done more safely and effectively. Ready Sailors also take care of each other. Part of “Be Ready” is Sailors who have the moral courage and conviction to intervene when they see a fellow Shipmate in need.
Whether that’s stepping in when witnessing someone treating a Sailor disrespectfully, getting help for someone who seems particularly depressed or being a fitness-buddy, we have to look out for each other. When Sailors look after each other, we reinforce that intangible, but crucial bond of trust. We can then harness the imagination and talent that attracts America’s best and brightest to the Navy in the first place. And Sailors are what makes our Navy the best in the world.
As you develop your division’s training schedule, execute your command’s POD or contemplate your next liberty port, think about the “Be Ready” principle. Stay focused on putting Warfighting First so you and your shipmates are ready to fight and win; remember that our mandate is to Operate Forward; and that in order to Be Ready we have to build our proficiency in the weapons and systems we employ, while strengthening the trust between the Sailors we serve with.
JONATHAN W. GREENERT
Admiral, U.S. Navy