Adm. Scott Swift, the commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet (CPF), established a new organization to oversee training and certification for forward deployed surface vessels on Tuesday.
This CPF Detachment Naval Surface Group Western Pacific (CPF Det NSGWP) is an interim detachment forward deployed to Japan and has the authority to determine if a ship is ready for operations.
The Pacific Fleet said the Seventh Fleet will assign forward deployed naval forces-Japan (FDNF-J) ships to the NSGWP during maintenance availabilities and follow-on training, and the organization will make those ships ready for operational tasking.
Swift said in a statement he is “forming CPF Detachment Naval Surface Group Western Pacific to address an organizational gap in FDNF-J that allowed a culture to grow myopically focused on operations to the detriment of readiness.”
This was a reference to three warship collisions and one grounding over the past year as well as other mishaps which are all under investigation. Two of the collisions resulted in severe damage to the ships and killed 17 total sailors.
“CPF Det NSGWP will consolidate authorities to oversee the training and certification of surface ships forward deployed to Japan,” he added.
The detachment will initially report to Swift now but eventually is set to report to Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, commander of U.S. Naval Surface Forces. CPF Det NSGWP will be the initial fleet commander representative before replacement by a permanent Commander of Naval Surface Forces Group Western Pacific.
“CPF Det NSGWP will be my eyes and ears on the ground here in the Western Pacific. Not only to consider the operations we have to execute, but also to ensure we understand how we are going to properly generate the readiness we need,” Rowden said in a statement.
Capt. Rich Dromerhauser will be the first leader of the organization, which is set to generally be a post-major command 0-6 officer. He will be responsible for the manning, training, and equipping of the forward-deployed surface forces in Japan.
Dromerhauser’s detachment will be able to determine if a ship is ready for operations or if it is not certified and requires remedial training.
“This is about taking care of our entire Navy family and ensuring that they have the resources and tools to get the job done right,” Dromerhauser said in a statement.
“I am here to protect the most precious resource we have – time; time for the maintenance and modernization of our systems and time for the focused training that builds the confidence and competence to fight and win at sea,” he added.