Adm. Bill Lescher, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, speaks to Naval Aviators at the 2021 Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) Symposium.

ALPINE, Calif. – Adm. Bill Lescher, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, opened the first day of panels and briefs during the Naval Helicopter Association (NHA) Symposium at the Viejas Resort, Oct. 7, 2021. During his opening remarks, he emphasized the importance of collaboration among the many Naval Aviation stakeholders involved in building the force of future needed to compete in an era of Great Power Competition.

“The work we are going to do together to make the Force of the Future real requires excellence in execution and innovation,” said Lescher.

During his remarks, Lescher mentioned several different examples of how Navy leaders harnessed ideas and practices outside of the military to drive readiness and process improvement in the Navy. He recounted the success of the Maintenance Operations Center (MOC) in boosting mission capable (MC) rates for the Super Hornet community and shared how the concept originated from commercial airline best practices. The MOC is a centralized coordination center of resources and maintenance activities for Naval Aviation. The MOC concept was first introduced to Naval Aviation in late 2018 as part of the Naval Sustainment System-Aviation (NSS-A) effort.

Lescher also spoke to the rotary wing community’s role in future operating concepts laid out in the Tri-Service Maritime Strategy Advantage at Sea.

“Both Distributed Maritime Operations and the Joint Warfighting Concept value distributed, multi-access, multi-domain operational art,” said Lescher. “That context creates tremendous rotary wing community opportunities to contribute and drive to that lethality and the key elements of how we shoot, how we maneuver, how we resupply and how we defend.”

Lescher ended his remarks by calling upon the young leaders in attendance to lead positive, organizational change in their units to build a more ready force for tomorrow’s fight.

Later in the day, Capt. Matt Schnappauf, Director of the Liaison Office to the U.S. House of Representatives for U.S. Navy, moderated the Force of the Future panel that included Vice Adm. Jeffrey Hughes, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfighting Development; Rear Adm. Max McCoy, Commander, Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center; and Brig. Gen. Ryan Rideout, Deputy Commanding General, I Marine Expeditionary Force. The panelists discussed the capabilities and force structure required for Naval Aviation to carry out operating concepts laid out by the National Defense Strategy, Tri-Service Maritime Strategy and CNO’s Navigation Plan.

Hughes stated the importance of leadership at the tactical level in developing needed capabilities: “We need our young leaders to boldly outthink our adversary, learn faster, and put superior, adaptable, resilient naval rotary forces to sea to deliver deterrence and warfighting advantage.”

The panelists also discussed the importance of training in the rotary wing community, the Marine Corps’ role in Distributed Maritime Operations and changes in force structure, and the importance of technical expertise for pilots.

Other highlights during the first day of NHA programming included a presentation by Rear Adm. Andrew Loiselle, Director, Air Warfare Division, Office Chief of Naval Operations on the POM cycle and aviation program offices; a brief from Navy aviation detailers; and a presentation from the Naval Safety Center.

For additional information and coverage of the NHA Symposium, follow the NAE on Facebook @NAEready and on Twitter @NAE_Readiness.

The NHA Symposium is an annual event run by the NHA—an independent, nonprofit organization supporting the development and use of naval vertical lift aircraft in the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

The Naval Aviation Enterprise is a collaborative warfighting partnership where Naval Aviation leaders leverage their assigned authorities to deliberate and resolve interdependent issues across the whole of Naval Aviation to provide combat ready naval air forces to the fleet.

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