Unity of Command
Navy realigns fleet chain of command while preserving enterprise concept
By RICHARD R. BURGESS, Managing Editor
The Navy is streamlining its fleet chain of command.
— a fleet type commander — as a
three-star, while his counterpart in
the other fleet was a two-star who
reported to him and to Fleet Forces
For example, the individual type
commander of Naval Air Force
Similar command relationships were established in
the surface and submarine communities, with commander, Surface Force Pacific, also becoming commander, Surface Forces, over his Atlantic counterpart.
Commander, Submarine Force Atlantic, also became
commander, Submarine Forces, over his Submarine
Force, Pacific Fleet, counterpart. Of note, the Atlantic
Fleet staff was disestablished, and in its place U.S. Fleet
Forces Command exercised administrative command
over units formerly assigned to it.
Concurrent with these developments, the Fleet
Readiness Enterprise — with its air, surface and submarine enterprises — was established in 2006 to implement best business practices and encourage collaborative approaches to improving readiness among all of the
stakeholders in each community. The enterprises folded in, for example, the systems commands that ran the
acquisition and life-cycle management of ships, aircraft
and weapons in collaboration with the operating forces
and training establishments, all with the goal of pursuing efficiencies. Commander, Naval Air Forces, for
example, chaired the Naval Aviation Enterprise.
“Although intended as a behavioral model to promote Navywide collaboration and coordination within
existing chains of command, the cumulative effect of
■ Air, surface and submarine type commanders now have only
one immediate superior in command.
■ Fleets will continue to promote common policies and standards.
■ Enterprise collaboration will continue across fleets.
The Navy has restored a more traditional chain of command to its fleet forces, while preserv- ing, in a modified form, the 6-year-old collaborative fleet enterprise concept.
In an Oct. 5 joint message to fleet flag officers, Adm.
John C. Harvey Jr., commander, U.S. Fleet Forces
Command, and Adm. Patrick M. Walsh, commander,
U.S. Pacific Fleet, announced a realignment of the
individual type commanders — air, surface, submarine, expeditionary warfare and cyber warfare, as well
as Military Sealift Command — back to a chain of
command that eliminates the “dotted lines” that
crossed geographic boundaries yet ensures a fleetwide
unity of policy and standards.
The changes — approved by Adm. Gary Roughead,
chief of naval operations — modify the lead/follow
fleet type commander structure originally put in place
to eliminate duplicative functions between the Atlantic
and Pacific individual type commanders and unify the
entire fleet in common administrative, training and
Prior to the establishment of U.S. Fleet Forces
Command, the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets each staffed a
three-star commander for their respective air, surface
and submarine forces. Under the Fleet Forces concept,
and a devolution of power from the individual type
commanders’ counterparts on the Navy Staff, one of the
two commanders in each community became the lead