By Mass Communication 1st Class Sandra M. Palumbo, Navy Public Afffairs Support Element, West
May 14, 2010 - PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The core leadership of the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) met to discuss future challenges and current demands at its annual Executive Committee meeting as they charted the NAE's course for the coming year.
"Every time we do this meeting, we find that there is continuing relevance and there is a continuing reason for the Naval Aviation Enterprise," said Vice Adm. Thomas J. Kilcline, Jr., commander, Naval Air Forces. "The NAE is maturing, and every year over the last six years, we have taken a really good hard look at what we are doing and how we can improve. This year, as in the past, we questioned the assumptions that underline what we do and why we do it."
During the meeting the NAE Executive Committee members discussed current and future Naval Aviation issues while setting the agenda for a larger NAE Extended Air Board meeting that will take place in August.
"The NAE is relevant, if not more relevant today, in championing the processes that deliver a warfighting capability. The purpose of this meeting is to bring together a core group of leaders that have an impact on naval aviation," said James Beebe, executive director for Commander, Naval Air Forces. "It is all about communication and understanding the equities that we all have in supporting naval aviation requirements."
For the duration of two days, NAE Executive Board members, including about a dozen flag officers and Senior Executive Service (SES) civilians from across the naval aviation community discussed the future of the NAE. The board reviewed not only the NAE's structure and processes but also the impact on naval aviation of the current high op-tempo demand combined with constrained budgets. Also discussed was whether or not the Enterprise was using the right indicators to properly measure the many complex processes that produce the current naval aviation combat readiness.
"There are challenges in regards to funding, to readiness and aircraft that we need to get our arms around. We need to create more up aircraft and more operational capability to overcome those funding challenges," Kilcline said. "The Naval Aviation Enterprise has to focus on the processes that help manage the dollars we are given and then focus on how best to deliver more aircraft. We have to sustain those capabilities and then allow the Navy and Marine Corps to move forward in the future with enough dollars to do so."
The NAE consists of three cross-functional teams: current readiness, total force and future readiness. Working across traditional command boundaries, these teams use transparency, metrics-based decisions, and accountability to efficiently synchronize naval aviation's readiness delivery processes and help naval aviation leadership to make smarter risk-balanced decisions.
"The Naval Aviation Enterprise has helped Marine Corps Aviation perform far better than we could on our own and is our main mechanism to exchange information and to ensure that there is transparency among all the stakeholders who contribute to our complex enterprise," said Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George J. Trautman III, deputy commandant for aviation. "Navy and Marine Corps aviation are inextricably linked inside naval aviation. We contribute something that is very valuable to our nation."
Naval Aviation today includes more than 180,000 Sailors and Marines, 3,800 aircraft, 11 aircraft carriers and executes a budget in excess of $40 billion annually. The NAE's mission is to support naval aviation readiness requirements with transparent, cross-functional processes, which inform risk-balanced decisions.
"Today things are moving forward at a rapid pace. We have challenges associated with combat operations and transitioning to new types of aircraft, and it is absolutely imperative we communicate and talk with those who contribute to our success," Trautman said. "You can not be successful on your own, you must interact with others, and share your perspectives with them. This is what the NAE has done and will continue to do in the future."
At the conclusion of the meeting, NAE leadership had identified focus areas for the coming year. They included approving a strategic direction for Fiscal Year 2011, refining the NAE's measurements and key thresholds, assessing successes and challenges, reviewing the relationship to other enterprises and setting the course for the Extended Air Board meeting.