YOKOSUKA, Japan -- Capt. Dave Stoner, Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) commanding officer, recently visited local leadership to discuss mission readiness and CSCS’ role in ensuring all Sailors receive the training required to become maritime warfighters.
One of the key leadership engagements included meeting with Rear Adm. Fred Kacher, Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, to discuss CSCS’ impact to the fleet.
“Capt. Stoner and I discussed how CSCS could support Expeditionary Strike Group Seven, the only forward deployed ESG in the Navy, to include training simulation systems that could be used in our theater,” explained Kacher. “I appreciate Dave's willingness to personally engage those of us forward deployed to U.S. 7th Fleet and we look forward to working together in the future.”
Stoner also met with various commands and ships’ commanding officers to discuss their training needs and what type of training CSCS can provide.
“In an era of great power competition, mission success will come down to the resiliency and training of the individual Sailor,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joshua Cowart, USS Chief (MCM 14) commanding officer. “This visit by CSCS was critical in addressing the concerns of the operational commanders and in delivering combat-minded Sailors who are solidly proficient in their skillsets to the fleet.”
Stoner also engaged with members of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF).
Stoner met with Capt. Toshihiko Sawada, Missile Systems Training Center (MTC) commanding officer. This visit focused on schoolhouse and waterfront training.
“We spoke about creating a synergetic relationship between the Maritime Staff Office and Ground Staff Office in regards to utilizing JMSDF Aegis training courses and simulations systems with the Japan Ground Forces Self-Defense Force responsible for Aegis Ashore Japan,” he explained.
Stoner then traveled to Fleet Training Command (FTC) to meet with Chief of Staff Capt. Kenji Kawauchi. FTC is much like the USN Afloat Training Group in which they train and assess all JMSDF ships on weapons, deck, engineering and navigation.
“We reviewed overall training, assessment and scheduling,” Stoner said. “Major topics included training domestic JMSDF ships, like MTC does with Aegis, without embedded training systems.”
Stoner also participated in a fleet engagement with Commander, Escort Division Eight (CCD 8), Capt. Kazushi Yokota, embarked aboard JS Suzutsuki (DD 117). They discussed Aegis training for JS Chokai (DDG 176) and Japan's latest Aegis-equipped guided missile destroyer JS Haguro (DDG 180).
“The conversation focused on how to carve out time to train Capt. Yokota’s ships’ crew during very heavy operational commitments,” Stoner said.
He also participated in a cultural exchange with industry partners who support CSCS International Programs.
“The visit to Japan reemphasizes the USN and Japan’s strong partnership,” Stoner said. “CSCS trains not only U.S. but also allied Sailors to operate, maintain and employ weapons, sensors, communications, combat systems and deck equipment of surface warships. By having these visits, discussing challenges and lessons learned, and training together, both our navies can excel in the fleet and in turn, strengthen maritime security.”
Stoner believes that the overall visit to Japan was a success for the Navy.
“These discussions were vital, not only for CSCS but the Navy itself,” Stoner explained. “Lethality requires that every shipboard Sailor be confident and competent to fight and win against any adversary. CSCS is a global organization of professional educators and support personnel focused on training the surface navy to fight and win and we do this by providing systems specific training based on platform and billet. Bottom line, CSCS’ mission is to train the fleet.”