Vice Adm. Kitchener Takes Command of Naval Surface Forces as Vice Adm. Brown Retires

 In Sea, U.S. Navy

Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener gives remarks during a change-of-command ceremony for commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP) on Aug. 3, 2020. US Navy Photo

Vice Adm. Roy Kitchener has taken com­mand of Naval Surface Force U.S. Pacific Fleet during a small cer­e­mo­ny in San Diego, Calif., the Navy announced on Monday.

Kitchener, for­mer­ly the com­man­der of Naval Surface Force Atlantic, relieved Vice Adm. Richard Brown, who is retir­ing from the ser­vice after 35 years.

“I am thank­ful for Vice Adm. Brown’s lead­er­ship the past two and a half years. His focus on good stew­ard­ship, pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment and safety were the cat­a­lyst for rebuild­ing a better and smarter force of combat-ready ships and battle minded crews,” Kitchener said in a state­ment.

While SWO Boss, Brown was respon­si­ble for imple­ment­ing many of the changes in train­ing sur­face war­fare offi­cers that were set in motion after the fatal 2017 col­li­sions in the Western Pacific that killed 17 sailors.

The Navy cre­at­ed the Readiness Reform and Oversight Council, ini­tial­ly led by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran, to over­see improve­ments to sur­face readi­ness train­ing. It pro­vid­ed ser­vice lead­ers with 111 rec­om­men­da­tions, 47 of which were spe­cif­ic to sur­face war­fare and have been imple­ment­ed, Brown said in January.

“I have been advo­cat­ing that the RROC remain in place for years to come – it is a focus­ing and bar­ri­er-removal orga­ni­za­tion second to none,” Brown said during the Surface Navy Association sym­po­sium in 2020.
“Where there was a lot of angst about the RROC and pro­vid­ing over­sight and they’re going to get into our stuff, the sur­face com­mu­ni­ty actu­al­ly embraced it and said, more of it.”

Changes includ­ed a retooled sur­face war­fare offi­cer career path that emphasized mariner fundamentals, man­dat­ing SWOs record their watch­es and train­ing in a “Surface Warfare Mariner Skills Logbook,” and the stand-up of two new train­ing cen­ters on each coast. Brown also over­saw the estab­lish­ment of the San Diego-based Surface Development Squadron (SURFDEVRON) 1 to test new sur­face war­fare con­cepts and work with unmanned sur­face ves­sels as they are inte­grat­ed into the fleet.

Vice Adm. Richard A. Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Pacific Fleet, in 2019. US Navy Photo

“Today, I can proud­ly say that we only deploy ships that have the required man­ning, are fully cer­ti­fied, and mate­ri­al­ly ready. That isn’t pos­si­ble with­out the hard work and ded­i­ca­tion of the SURFPAC staff and the great crews of our ships,” Brown said in a state­ment today.

Kitchener, orig­i­nal­ly from Connecticut, grad­u­at­ed from Unity College in 1984 and com­mis­sioned via Officer Candidate School in Newport, R.I. He attend­ed the Naval Post Graduate School, where he spe­cial­ized in Western Hemisphere stud­ies and earned a Master of Arts degree in National Security Affairs.

A career sur­face war­fare offi­cer, he com­mand­ed USS John Paul Jones (DDG-53), USS Higgins (DDG-76) and USS USS Princeton (CG-59), as well as Expeditionary Strike Group 2 prior to taking com­mand of SURFLANT.

USNI source|articles

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