Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic (CNAL) held a two-day Commander’s Training Symposium for 63 commanding officers and executive officers Oct. 16-17 onboard Naval Station Norfolk at the Airborne Command & Control and Logistics Weapons School, New Hampshire House, and Pennsylvania House.

The annual training symposium for naval commanders assigned to CNAL, focused on CNAF priorities of current readiness, leadership, and future readiness requirements. The symposium also featured lectures from U.S. Fleet Forces Commander Adm. Chris Grady, who discussed the important role naval aviation has in the era of great power competition. Additionally, retired Adm. Bill Gortney also discussed past lessons learned that can be applied to future U.S. Navy strategy.

“Our annual O-5 Commander’s Training Symposium is a great opportunity for me and my staff to dedicate two days toward candid conversations with our squadron leadership discussing current and future readiness,” said Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic Rear Adm. Roy Kelley, who added that “we reviewed our successes over the last year, particularly how execution of our Naval Sustainment System (NSS) yielded higher Mission Capable rates across our Strike-Fighter aircraft.”

“We then expanded on those successes to discuss our collective way ahead in expanding the NSS approach to all Type/Model/Series aircraft, with emphasis on where these flight line leaders have challenges,” Kelley said. “Our discussions were frank and forthcoming in nature, and they allowed for an honest assessment as we maintain our ability to fight tonight if called upon in this era of great power competition. The candor and dedication to professionalism from all in attendance are what makes this such a valuable symposium.”

Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Cook, one of the principal coordinators for this year’s conference emphasized the importance of gathering current leaders from around the force to discuss a myriad of leadership-centric topics.

“From last year’s symposium the overall feedback was well received particularly in areas of higher headquarter perspective, community update, and the leadership roundtable,” said Cook, who added this year’s symposium was about applying those lessons learned for maximum benefit for the attendees.

Some of the other topics covered during the two-day training symposium, according to Cook, included a PERS-43 community update, military spouse roundtable, and major command panel discussion.

CNAL is responsible for five nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, 54 aircraft squadrons, 1,200 aircraft and 50,000 officers, enlisted and civilian personnel based on the East Coast of the United States. It provides combat ready, sustainable naval air forces with the right personnel, properly trained and equipped, with a focus on readiness, operational excellence, interoperability, safety, and efficient resourcing.