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21 Association of the United States Navy stationed overseas. In late January, the Navy established a panel called the Readiness Reform and Oversight Council, with the duty of overseeing and making sure that the service is moving forward effectively with a plan of action to address shortcomings. In April, the Navy announced the permanent establishment of a command dedicated to the oversight of maintenance — as well as training and certifica- tion — for ships stationed in Japan. Initially created in October as the Detachment, Naval Surface Group Western Pacific, it now operates under the moniker of Commander, Naval Surface Group Western Pacific (CNSG-WP). CAPT Rich Dromerhauser, the detachment's commander, said in a written response to questions provided by Navy magazine that the command has incorporated a "disciplined protocol" that focuses on providing the proper time and space, in order to ensure that ships are properly maintained to conduct opera- tions. "We are building a culture of rigorous training [and] thorough maintenance assessments," Dromer- hauser said. Stakeholders are encouraged to ask questions and raise concerns. Work continues toward providing a balance among operational, training and maintenance requirements, he said, "to provide a standard and predictable model to protect each ship's maintenance and training entitlements." Dromerhauser described his Sailors and officers as "experts in their respective fields," who "bring an unpar- alleled work ethic and desire." Such an attitude is essential to success, he said. "e addition of a command that is dedicated to managing the maintenance and certification process is something new," Dromerhauser said. "But there can be no compromise for safe operations of our ships. We firmly believe that by speaking up when we see an issue that needs to be addressed and resolved, and by encour- aging our shipmates to do the same, we are creating conditions that make possible the safe and professional operation of the Navy's FDNF-J [Forward Deployed Naval Force – Japan] ships." is effort to make things right will be a formidable one, said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think tank. Resolution will require particular attention at the depot level — in the shipyards themselves — he believes. "First of all, there's a finite capacity in the shipyards. And maintenance intervals can take a long time. ese aren't quick-turnaround things, like in a day or two," Harrison told Navy magazine. "ey have to plan well in advance to make sure the platforms that are in need of maintenance are in the right place to begin that maintenance, at the right time." Further complicating matters are the extremely high-operations tempo during the past 10 years, and the unstable budgets under which the Navy, and Defense Department as a whole, have had to operate. Harrison is convinced that the string of continuing resolutions in lieu of actual budgets, combined with proposed budgets that are either much higher or lower than anticipated, have "wreaked havoc" on maintenance plans. Building a maintenance schedule in which the necessary parts and equipment are there for the ship that needs them at a certain critical point in time becomes nearly impossible, he said. Like every other agency in the federal government, the Navy cannot control a budget process that is largely a function of broader budget politics and driven by Congress, Harrison said. e Navy simply must build maintenance plans that assume budget instability and continuing resolutions are facts of life, he said. e key, then, would be for the Navy to control situations it can control. Operations tempo, Harrison believes, would be a good place to begin. "e Navy needs to push back on combatant commanders every time they ask for another ship to participate in another exercise," Harrison said. "ere's an opportunity cost here. Every time [the Navy does] real-world deployments, or these presence activities and training exercises, we take a hit in readiness because it's "The Navy needs to push back on combatant commanders every time they ask for another ship to participate in another exercise." Todd Harrison

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