LIGHT Leadership Institute


Robert Warner
 Command Philosophy

1. PURPOSE:  To promulgate my personal command philosophy  as I assume the duties and responsibilities of Commanding Officer.

2. BACKGROUND:  PLATTE's primary and overriding mission is the attainment and maintenance of the highest state of combat logistics support and combat efficiency in support of the Navy's mission to conduct prompt and sustained operations at sea in support of National policy.  While PLATTE will primarily refuel and resupply the fleet, we have other missions no less important.  Representing the United States abroad and the Navy at home are but two examples.

3.  OBJECTIVES:  The following are enabling objectives to achieve PLATTE's mission of combat logistics support and combat efficiency.


    a.  To be ready to fight PLATTE in defense of the United States and our national interest.


    b.  To maintain personnel in the highest state of training.


    c.  To employ tactical procedures which best utilize the capabilities of PLATTE.


    d.  To maintain PLATTE in the highest state of material condition and cleanliness.


    e.  To organize personnel and distribute the workload, so each Officer, Chief Petty Officer, woman and man in PLATTE will understand their responsibility for their share of the load, accountability in relation to their assigned tasks and will realize the importance of their contribution to the accomplishment of PLATTE's mission.  We will work and play as a team.


    f.  To give maximum consideration to the morale and welfare of each woman and man onboard consistent with our assignments and by creation of a positive command climate achieve the retention of all qualified officers and enlisted.


    g.  To derive personal satisfaction in a job well done and enjoy ourselves while accomplishing these objectives.


    h.  To contribute to individual advancement and professional and personal development of each individual in the crew.


    i.  To promote the morale, well-being and self-sufficiency of our families so neither they, nor we, need be disquieted during our time away from home.

4.  PRIORITIES.  In order to achieve the enabling objectives the following are my priorities during my tenure in command.


    a.  Training.  When training is mentioned most personnel cringe.  However, training or better stated learning is the key to success.  Training pervades everything we do from standing watch on the bridge or lower level engineroom to equipment maintenance to preparing meals to underway replenishments.  The better we are trained and the more we have learned about PLATTE, its equipment, and its capabilities the better we will be able to accomplish our mission.

     Training must be conducted at the individual and team level. Individually, read a book, better yet read a technical manual. Learn why a particular PMS is done or why a specific system setup works best.  Work toward advancement.  Don't be satisfied with your current level of qualification, work toward the next higher qualification.  Take a correspondence or night course in a subject that interests you.  When assigned to a team, learn how your assignment fits into the big picture.  Anticipate what information will be needed and provide it rather than having to be prompted every time.  Work together.  Set goals for yourself and your team and work toward them.


     b. Safety.  A well trained crew that knows its equipment and procedures will be safe.  Safety is not just for the ship, its for everything we do, from driving to trimming trees at home to replacing a winch motor to liberty in a foreign port.  If something seems unsafe it generally is.  I would rather be safe than fast.  People first, then equipment, then the job.  Nothing is more important than a life or a finger or an eye.  There is always time to do a job right the first time. 

     I task every person onboard PLATTE to think safety during every evolution.  If a situation is unsafe or seems unsafe, stop it.  I don't care how senior or how junior you are.  If I'm doing something unsafe I expect and require you to tell me.  If you are involved in a drill or other training evolution and are not sure of your assignment or task, ask for a training timeout until the situation is resolved.

     Finally always remember, I will be the only person in PLATTE who will authorize working on energized electrical circuits no matter what the voltage, bypassing any safety interlocks, one valve protection in any system no matter what the temperature or pressure, or intentionally operating any equipment out of safety parameters.  This includes PMS actions as well as emergent repairs.


     c.  Planning.  Along with training, planning is another key to success.  I am in charge of long range planning.  The Executive Officer should be looking ahead six months; Department Heads should be routinely planning 3-4 months ahead; Division Officers and Chief Petty Officers 3-4 weeks; and Work Center Supervisors 4 weeks for maintenance and at least a week for work center work lists.  Well thought-out, thorough planning produces two results: first and foremost, we are in control rather than someone else controlling us, and a steady strain approach to our demanding underway schedule, maintenance of the ship and preparations for inspections.  If we do our planning right and then faithfully execute our plan, their should be no last minute surprises and regular work hours.


     d.  Cleanliness.  "A clean ship is a happy ship."  While that may seem trite to some, it has been my experience a clean ship with sailors who are well groomed runs safely and efficiently.  No one wants to work or live in a dirty environment.  Cleanup after yourselves.  Put tools away at night.  Stow equipment where it belongs not where it is convenient.  Be proud of PLATTE, keep her clean and well preserved, after all she is our home for long periods of time.


     e.  Core Values.  By virtue of your military service each and every one of you will be held to a higher set of standards and a greater level of accountability.  I will not tell you what to think, however business conducted aboard PLATTE will be color blind and gender neutral.

     Honesty, integrity, loyalty, and trust are but a few characteristics of a good shipmate.  Once you have compromised these characteristics they are extremely difficult if not impossible to regain.  Be true to yourself, be true to your shipmates.  Treat others as you would want to be treated.

5.  SUMMARY.  In the months ahead I look forward to meeting and getting to know each of you.  I intend to provide more guidance and thoughts in specific areas via the chain of command or in a memo such as this.  I look forward to being your Captain.

     Always remember you are a sailor aboard a U.S. Navy vessel and you are expected to conduct yourself in accordance with the U.S. Navy's highest traditions and standards.  You represent "your Navy" and "your ship" whether you are on or off duty.  Be a professional and give your best in whatever work you do.  PLATTE is a team.  We must work together to accomplish PLATTE's mission.

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