Skimmers To Adopt Risky XO/CO Fleet-Up Scheme
Looks like the surface community is following the lead of the aviation side of the house in how they plan to handle XO/CO rotation; under this plan, an officer will serve as XO of a ship for 18 months, then take over as CO:
"Vice Adm. Terry Etnyre, commander, Naval Surface Forces, said, “'XO/CO Fleet Up' is about command. It provides focused command leadership stability throughout a ship’s life. A commanding officer will reap the benefits of the actions and policies he or she institutes as executive officer. He or she will know the crew upon assumption of command and will be intimately familiar with the material condition and the combat readiness of the ship. This improves readiness and will provide an unprecedented level of command leadership stability in our Surface Force.”
"According to Surface Warfare leadership, the plan will increase flexibility in the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) career path in order to send more SWOs to Junior and Senior War Colleges, qualify SWOs sooner as Joint Specialty Officers (JSO), send more SWOs to multiple joint tours, ensure command leadership stability on ships and staffs and increase the proficiency and experience of major warfare commanders.
"Etnyre added, “'XO/CO Fleet Up' helps us meet SWO requirements by providing a career path that solidifies future progression to command and warfighting expertise while enabling our officers to complete critical joint tours as we fight the global war on terrorism. Combatant commands, fleet and joint staffs will also regain critical SWO representation.”
"The career path for SWOs will change under the plan. The start of an officer’s XO tour will move to the right (15.5-year point vice the current 13-year point), and the start of the CO tour will move to left (17 years vice 18 to 18.5 years)."
I don't like the plan, because I've always seen the roles of the XO and CO as requiring the the assigned officer to take on different "personalities" -- XO more of a hard-ass, while the CO can be more "friendly" because he can make the XO or the Chiefs be the hard-asses. It just seems like the transition from XO-personality to CO-personality will be a little harder to accept if you go from one to the other, on the same ship.
On the other hand, it seems to work for the airdales, so maybe there's something to it. It's just that I'd have such a hard time believing that any new initiatives the skimmers come up with could be a good thing...