#WARFIGHTING FIRST – An interview with the C.O. – October 30, 2012

BLOG UPDATE: October 30, 2012

As a follow up to our initial blog post (here), I conducted an interview with Cmdr. Lore Aguayo, commanding officer of NMCB-11, to get her thoughts on the CNO’s tenet, Warfighting First.  You are encouraged to share your own thoughts on the CNO’s tenet of Warfighting First by replying at the end of this post.

Question: Ma’am, looking at the CNO’s tenet, Warfighting First, what are your thoughts on how Seabees can best support that tenet?

“With Warfighting First, when the CNO states ‘be ready to fight and win today, while building the ability to win tomorrow,’ I do believe that is very much in alignment with my Commander’s philosophy and my vision statement.

“In my vision statement I talk about value that we, as Seabees, have to bring to the Navy in today’s world and in tomorrow’s world.  I do believe that the Seabees bring value, as I have always stated in my indoctrination classes and in my Commander’s Philosophy.  What makes us different and extremely valuable is our ability to construct permanent facilities, being self sufficient and being mobile.  At a moment’s notice we can go and build these permanent facilities that are needed, whether for peace time or war time.

“As we’re starting to wrap up the war in Afghanistan it’s important that we refocus on what is required in the future, which is the presidential strategic effort to move to PACOM, to the Pacific.  Of course, Seabees have been operating in the Pacific for a long, long time.

“In particular, I think it is important that we go back to really hone in those construction skills.  Permanent construction is, in fact, what we need in the Pacific in those countries that are currently unstable.  We can go in there, and we can build clinics and school houses at these locations where the locals can see us Americans as the good guys and not the bad guys.

“I think we, as Seabees, definitely bring value to the Navy as a whole with a forward deployed force because we can go in first and build those relationships, and then the rest of the Navy can come in to do what they need to do to continue to build those relationships.  We are very uniquely trained, because of our skill sets with construction, to be able to be the first on shore to start building relationships, and do it by actually providing a finished product; something that they need and can use for their quality of life.

“So it is important that we go from today’s war where we’re constantly looking ahead at what the future threat is and ask ourselves if we, the Seabees, are training to ensure that we have the right skill set for that future threat.  And I certainly think we are.  I think that honing in on those construction skills to make sure we go forward and we’re ready to build those permanent facilities in the Pacific is important.

“I’m so proud of being with the Seabees, and I tell people this all the time.  Building and constructing is part of what we do.  Obviously our mission is to build and to construct.  We build; we fight.  But the main part of that is that we build.  We build relationships;  we build facilities; we build roads; we build water wells; but most importantly, we build relationships.  That’s what Seabees do.”

Question:  Ma’am, do you think the CNO had Seabees in mind when he used the term ‘build’ in Warfighting First?

“I do know that the CNO and the PACOM commander are very aware of what it is that the Seabees can, in fact, bring to the table that no other really can simply because of those skills that we do have.

“I don’t know if the CNO specifically had the Seabees in mind, but I certainly know that the CNO understands that Seabees build more than just ‘things’.   They build relationships with countries that are strategic partners.”

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