Sharpening the Vision: The Process

Naval Aviation encompasses a broad array of communities and capabilities, all working toward a common end. With the approach of the next century, it is important that we also have a specific, common vision, an understanding of where we are going and how we will get there. To accomplish this, we developed a process that integrates the concerns and views of Fleet commands throughout Naval Aviation.

Developing a Consensus

The process began in earnest with the first of three Fleet off-site conferences in July 1996, followed by sessions in October 1996 and January 1997. The participants in these conferences represented a true cross-section of Naval Aviation - strike-fighter as well as resupply and logistics support, Marine and Navy, fixed- and rotary-wing, and shore- and sea-based senior Fleet operators. In these sessions, the participants reviewed the direction provided by our National Military Strategy, analyzed requirements with respect to Joint Vision 2010, integrated the vision of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and assessed the geopolitical, economic, and technological future. The attendees also evaluated the scenarios that Naval Aviation will face which reflect the changing missions identified in Joint Vision 2010 and Forward... From the Sea. These scenarios include peacetime engagement, deterrence and conflict prevention, and winning in a range of conflicts.

From the beginning, the process has been emphasized just as much as the final product. The involvement of Fleet representatives in the three off-site sessions has been particularly critical. The plan they developed will underpin the Naval Aviation resource and procurement decisions for the foreseeable future. A broad focus was maintained throughout this effort to ensure that every aspect of Naval Aviation, from people to weapons systems to logistics, was addressed appropriately and in sufficient detail. From these and other inputs, we have structured a Naval Aviation Vision, identified goals, and developed plans to accomplish these goals. We have communicated these to all Naval Aviation communities and the Air Board (the senior members of Naval Aviation). This process developed an effective, integrated strategy for the future, and a vision for all of Naval Aviation. The Vision articulates where Naval Aviation is today, where we need to go to maintain our operational excellence, and how we will get there.


As we began this process, we faced several key tasks. The first was to ensure that the Naval Aviation Vision and its strategic plans were aligned with higher-level strategy and policy. Our second key task has been the development of a shared vision, probably one of the most difficult elements in this process due to the operational and geographic diversity of Naval Aviation. Hence, we began with the commander's guidance, developed it at the Fleet conferences, solicited and incorporated Fleet feedback, and achieved Air Board concurrence.

Following the development of our Strategic Vision, we identified its specific elements and goals which must be met to uphold the Vision. For long-term, or strategic goals, we selected only those whose accomplishment benefits Naval Aviation. "Gap" analyses were performed on all possible goals to assess where Naval Aviation is now, and to determine where it would be if the goal were achieved. This technique allowed us to screen out those goals that would result in only marginal advances. The Vision has incorporated a system of concrete objectives and metrics to measure our progress.

The next stage involves reconciling the Vision with the fiscal, political, and technological constraints that Naval Aviation faces in the coming years. This is done in the programming phase of the annual planning, programming, and budgeting cycle. Although the process may appear complicated, it is actually straightforward and incorporates the active participation of Fleet operators.

The last and most crucial factor has been, and will continue to be, the feedback process. At the close of each of our off-sites, each issue was reviewed by teams of subject matter experts. The revised material was sent to the off-site participants and to all Naval Aviation communities for review and comment the results of those reviews are incorporated into this document. Future changes will be accomplished in a similar manner.

From Concept to Reality

Requirements officers and program managers introduce outstanding issues in Naval Aviation during biannual Naval Aviation Liaison Group (NALG) conferences. The NALG is an open forum in which leaders within and outside of Naval Aviation (including type commander representatives) meet to develop consensus on issues. From the NALG an issue moves on, subject to continuing debate at many levels, taking on more definition. The Aviation Flag Board - consisting of the senior officers in the Air Warfare Division in the office of the Chief of Naval Operations - is the final arbiter within Naval Aviation. It is here that the issues are prioritized and phased to fit within fiscal and technological constraints. The Air Warfare Division then incorporates the issues into a sponsor program proposal which is presented to the Department of the Navy's leadership for approval. In this manner the Naval Aviation Vision is transformed into budget priorities and ultimately, hardware in the Fleet.
Naval Aviation Vision Statement  Chief of Naval Operations Foreword  Commandant of the Marine Corps Foreword
  Introduction  New Challenges...Enduring Realities  Naval Aviation:  Capabilities for Today... and Tomorrow
Sharpening the Vision:  The Process  Section 1:  Element Definitions and Goals
Section 2:  Program Plans, Descriptions and Roadmaps  Acronyms  Director Air Warfare Closing Remarks