Captain Jonathan Earley is excited by the challenge of what is shaping to be one of the busiest and most significant years in the Royal Australian Navy’s recent history.
As the newly appointed Commanding Officer of HMAS Adelaide, Captain Earley and his 27,000-tonne warship will be at the centre of a series of large, multi-national exercises designed to train and certify the fleet in task group orientated operations.
He said the secret to success will be preparation and delegation.
“Empowering your people to make decisions that are aligned with your intent is fundamental to the successful operation of the platform, as are the skills to communicate and, most importantly, to listen,” Captain Earley said.
“Physical and mental fitness are also important elements to address as well.”
She will then conduct the first amphibious assault ship deployment to South East Asia as the centrepiece of a joint task group.
Frigate escorts will come and go from the task group throughout the deployment, demonstrating distributed task group operations in meeting Australian Government aims of increasing regional engagement, building partner capacity and contributing to regional security.
“It is pretty awesome to be thundering around the globe in warships, making a difference on so many levels,” Captain Earley said.
“You could be chatting to a head of state during an official function one day and then executing a humanitarian aid and disaster relief or sea control mission on another.
“There is no question it is a job that pushes you to your limits, but it is also highly rewarding in that you have the privilege of leading and enabling some amazing and highly capable people to do some amazing things for their country.”
Captain Earley took command of Adelaide from the commissioning Commanding Officer, Captain Paul Mandziy, in January this year.
Captain Mandziy said he felt privileged to have had command of the Navy’s largest warship and felt he had achieved his aim of creating a positive and professional culture on board.
The dual specialist Pilot and Principal Warfare Officer said his proudest moment was Adelaide’s involvement in the seizure of 180 kilograms of cocaine during a Southern Ocean border protection operation in December last year.
Captain Mandziy advised his replacement to trust in the capabilities of his command.
“This is necessary in a capital ship where micro-management is neither possible nor practical in managing the complexity of an amphibious assault ship, or a ship’s company of more than 400 people,” he said.
Regular exercise was also important to manage stress, Captain Mandziy said.
By 2018, the Navy will regularly generate task groups, designed to meet Government-directed operational outcomes.
The task groups will be self-contained with submarine, afloat support, aviation, mine counter measure and rapid environmental assessment capabilities as required by the mission.
They will each be responsive to direction, adaptable to changing threats, and retain the ability to sustain themselves for prolonged periods.