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NEWS | April 11, 2023

Task Force 71 Focuses on Future of the Surface Force at 2023 SWO Summit

Commander, Task Force 71/Destroyer Squadron 15

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) -- Commander, Task Force (CTF) 71/Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15 held its annual Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) Summit from April 3-7 in Yokosuka, Japan.

The Yokosuka SWO Summit is a five-day event where junior and senior surface warriors participate in a series of professional development sessions designed to highlight advanced capabilities and procedures to ensure our surface forces maintain the highest levels of combat readiness and lethality.

This year's summit was a departure from previous years with the inclusion of surface forces from Australia, Canada, and Japan, all of whom will be operating together as part of CTF71 over the course of the next year in the Western Pacific.

"This is a great opportunity that brings together our ships with Allies and partners and key stakeholders from the Surface Warfare Community to all stay ahead of our planning and capabilities." said Lt. Cmdr. Alex Rose. "We come away from the week with better understanding of our surface force, how we can better integrate with other like-minded maritime nations and how to best employ our combined sea power. Each year of this event has been better than the last, and this year is no exception as we work hard to incorporate a variety of subject matter experts to sharpen our technical and tactical competencies."

In addition to lectures related to high-end warfighting, attendees had the opportunity to learn about the direction the Surface community is heading with respect to manning, training, and procurement. Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener, Commander Naval Surface Forces, opened the summit challenging its attendees to make the most of their time by asking questions and staying engaged.

Capt. Brian Mutty, Commanding Officer of Surface Warfare Schools Command, presented the latest updates to fleet training, and Capt. Jeff Heames led a team from Surface Warfare Officer Assignments (PERS-41) to answer questions related to professional development and detailing within the Surface Community. Every Surface Warfare Officer had the opportunity to meet with their detailer, providing junior surface warriors a chance to learn more about SWO career paths and ask questions about the detailing process.

Vice Adm. Karl Thomas, Commander Seventh Fleet closed out the summit challenging every attendee to apply what they learned over the course of the week at sea.

"This time we spend together now, focused on advanced warfighting and
professional development is critical, made even more important by the
contributions of our closest Allies in the Pacific. This summit gives us a
chance to improve our interoperability with countries like Australia,
Canada, and Japan for the high-end fight, as well as to learn how they solve similar problems." said Capt. Justin Harts, Deputy Commodore, DESRON 15. "We host this symposium to build the relationships necessary to fight as a single combined force, should we ever be forced to do so. This is time very well spent!"

CTF 71/DESRON 15 is the Navy's largest forward-deployed destroyer squadron and the U.S. 7th Fleet's principal surface force. It is forward deployed to the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations in support of security and stability in the Indo-Pacific.


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