Land and Maritime hosts top Navy surface warfare officer

By Michael Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Vice Adm. Thomas Rowden, Commander, Naval Surface Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet, visited Defense Supply Center Columbus March 2 to discuss the current landscape of the Navy and align the two organizations in support of the warfighter. 

Welcomed by Navy Rear Adm. John King, DLA Land and Maritime commander, the visit provided a chance to show Rowden the wide-lens capability of Defense Logistics Agency and identify opportunities to enhance Land and Maritime’s support to his mission.

Rowden addressed Land and Maritime associates during three sessions. He held a town hall with the workforce in the headquarters auditorium after a briefing with senior leadership and department directors in the command conference room. He concluded his stop by visiting with Sailors serving in the Buckeye State.

As one of the Navy's top surface warfare officers, it’s Rowden’s responsibility to ensure the Navy’s Pacific fleet of warships is staffed, trained and equipped for combat. He manages some of the Navy's newest ships, such as the Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), along with cruisers, destroyers, minesweepers and amphibious ships.

During the town hall, Rowden discussed the numerous roles he has as the commander of Naval Surface Forces, such as ensuring individual and team training and how it helps prepare his ships and sailors to carry the fight forward, and managing maintenance and modernization of all ships and ship classes.

“We have a responsibility to Sailors on those ships that they are confident that the gear, equipment, weapons systems and everything aboard are supported right,” Rowden said. “All of us in this room are working for the same thing, to ensure that we have the strongest military in the world.”

Rowden stressed the importance of material and operational readiness, tapping into the resources Land and Maritime possesses and how collectively the two organizations can combine to do a better job of understanding what material needs to be purchased and getting it to the shipyards.

Since taking command in 2014, King has stressed the benefits of increasing communication between Land and Maritime and its industry partners, the armed forces and above all, Warfighters.

“To have a senior Navy warfighter like VADM Rowden visit DLA Land and Maritime and take the time to share his vision with us is historic,” King said.

During his briefing with senior leadership, Rowden was provided an overview on the Maritime Customer and Supplier operations and how they directly support his surface forces. They discussed procurement lead time, material availability, backorder reductions and forward stocking support in locations such as Bahrain.

“We’re here to meet your needs by exercising the ability of the supply chain to try to get the material for you as quickly as possible,” Navy CAPT Rogelio Alvarez, Maritime Supplier Operations director, said.

Furthermore, part of the brief detailed Land and Maritime’s involvement in emerging weapons systems as a great opportunity in the infancy of a program to be part of the supply solution that’s in place, such as its role with the LCS. Navy CAPT Brian Ginnane, Maritime Customer Operations director, said his staff has been very aggressive gaining understanding from the LCS program office about material requirements and trying to get ahead of the fleet before they actually request support.

Rowden noted the ability to execute Ballistic Missile Defense needs to be rock solid and King echoed his sentiment, reviewing Land and Maritime’s focus on BMD support and how he’s always exploring opportunities to increase that investment.

Given these points Rowden said that in reality, without everyone aligned to provide capable warfighter support, it will be a challenge to win sea control in the future with potential adversaries examining the Navy’s every move.

“Tell us what we need to do to enable you to help us do what we need to do,” Rowden said. “Anything that I can do to help you do your job—let me know. It’s all about getting the material to the individuals on the deck plate so they can go fight the war.”

VADM Rowden was able to speak candidly with senior leadership, who walked away with a deeper understanding of his priorities and vision for the future of the force.

“I was absolutely thrilled with his energetic engagement as we identified enduring opportunities to enhance DLA support to our Navy Surface Forces,” King said. “I know VADM Rowden left Columbus with an even greater appreciation for all our associates do on a daily basis to support his naval forces worldwide; and the magnitude of global, full-spectrum logistics support he receives from DLA.”

Rowden assumed his current duties in August 2014. A native of Washington, D.C., and a 1982 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Rowden has served in a range of sea and shore assignments. His sea duty assignments include duty in cruisers, destroyers, and aircraft carriers in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets. He served as commanding officer of USS Milius (DDG 69); reactor officer aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73); commander of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 60; commander of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Carrier Strike Group; and commander of the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) Carrier Strike Group.