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Acting Secretary of the Navy Letter to The New York Times

By Thomas B. Modly

I have the utmost respect for Mr. Roosevelt and his family’s immense heritage of service to the nation.  In the case of Captain Crozier, however, he is wrong.  I suspect he has no other motive than to defend a courageous man, a man in the arena, but he simply does not have access to the relevant facts that led to the captain’s dismissal.
 
Capt. Crozier’s emotional letter on official Navy letterhead, addressed to no one in particular, was attached to an email which he distributed broadly to multiple addressees. It began “My Fellow Naval Aviators.”  It included, and intentionally excluded, various people from his direct chain of command. 
 
In the body of the email to which his letter was attached Captain Crozier wrote, “I fully realize that I bear responsibility for not demanding more decisive action the moment we pulled in (to Guam), but right now my only priority is the continued well-being of the crew and embarked staff.”  While this may have been his self-assessment, I know that no one in his chain of command, up to and including me, who felt that Captain Crozier bore any responsibility for not demanding more decisive action at that time. 
 
The facts are that Capt. Crozier’s direct chain of command, up to the Commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, had been communication with him well before (and after) he sent the email. So had my office.  I asked my Chief of Staff to call him just after the ship pulled into Guam.  He did so twice, and Capt. Crozier expressed no alarm to him at all.   Bottom line, the public disclosure of Capt. Crozier’s letter had no impact on the flow of support to the ship.  None.  The crew of the ship was already being tested as rapidly as possible, isolated as necessary, and moved off the ship to quarantine.  That was all happening to the greatest extent possible while still providing for the safety of the ship and all those still aboard.  
 
Capt. Crozier did tell us that he was impatient with the pace of moving Sailors off the ship.  We were ALL impatient with the pace.  Securing 4,000 individual rooms suitable for isolation on Guam in the middle of a pandemic-forced shutdown is not a simple task.  That being said, in less than a week, thanks in large part to the Government of Guam and the support of the rest of the Pacific Fleet, we have secured nearly 3,700.  That plan was in action well prior to Capt. Crozier writing his letter, and it continues to be executed today. 
 
What the public release of his letter did do, however, was unnecessarily create a public panic, when what was called for was calm.  In my view, this is one of the main areas where Captain Crozier “bears responsibility.”  It was his lapse of judgment in a moment of adversity that led to my loss of confidence in him.    
 
I don’t doubt Captain Crozier’s love for his crew.  But in my view, he did serious harm to his Sailors and the rest of our Navy when he created an atmosphere of crisis, while it was his primary duty to be a steady hand on a stormy sea.  He did not send his dire warning on classified networks, or place any markings to suggest the information was classified, sensitive, or for official use only.  While this may sound mundane to the average citizen, it is unacceptable behavior for the commanding officer of a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, and it should never be tolerated.  As a civilian leader responsible to the American public for their safety and security, as well as that of every Sailor and Marine serving and standing the watch, I will not.
 
Sensitive information about the material condition of our biggest and most powerful warship made its way out into the public arena, in the hands of our adversaries.  So did statements about political decisions outside the purview of the military.  It was my determination that the Navy could not afford to wait to see if this lapse of judgement was just an aberration, or even the Captain’s new normal in the midst of a challenge.  The stakes of our national security are simply much too high for that.
 
After all, Mr. Roosevelt, Captain Crozier was the Commanding Officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, and I am relatively certain your great grandfather would have demanded much more under pressure.  I certainly do, and we all must.


The New York Times (April 3, 2020) Opinion: Captain Crozier Is a Hero
Letter to The New York Times (April 6, 2020): Captain Crozier: Navy Hero, or Unsteady Leader?

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/04/06/acting-secretary-of-the-navy-letter-to-the-new-york-times/ U.S. Navy

SECNAV International Women’s Day Forum

March 5, 2020

Welcome to the official blog of the International Women’s Day Forum, hosted by Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly at the Army-Navy Club in Washington, D.C. The event features a panel of women speakers moderated by Courtney Kube of NBC News, as well as a panel discussion from government and military officials, along with remarks from Sec. Modly.

Revisit this blog regularly for the livestream of the event, as well as photos and other content.

Event Background

The global observance of International Women’s Day (March 8) provides an opportunity to reflect on progress made, to advocate for continued change, and to celebrate acts of courage, determination and achievement by women who contribute to their communities, countries and international society.

Official observance of International Women’s Day by the Department of the Navy provides an opportunity during Women’s History Month to acknowledge, celebrate and promote the role of women in defense and national security (to include our Navy-Marine Corps-Civilian team), as well as the U.S. strategy to grow women’s participation in national security.

The Women, Peace, and Security Act of 2017, signed into law by President Trump on October 6, 2017, recognizes the critical link between women’s participation and peace, and mandated the creation of a government-wide strategy to increase the participation of women in security processes. Reflecting a growing global movement to advance women’s inclusion in the security sector, observance of International Women’s Day provides an invaluable platform to demonstrate the achievements and importance of women’s contributions in this regard, and give voice and inspiration to generations of men and women on the value of inclusivity and diversity of thought and participation.

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/03/02/secnav-international-womens-day-forum/ U.S. Navy

SECNAV VECTORS

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly issues his weekly Vector message to the Department of the Navy workforce on Fridays. Below is the text of each Vector, the most recent appearing first.

Revisit this NavyLive blog each week for the latest SECNAV Vector.

Vector 11 – Feb. 11, 2020: Information Management

Very shortly after I left the military and transitioned to the private sector, I learned one of my greatest lessons in business. I was working as the lead corporate development executive for an aviation service company and I traveled all over the country evaluating other companies as potential acquisition candidates for my firm. During this process, someone told me of a nearly foolproof indicator that I should always assess before making a determination as to whether the business I was visiting was healthy and a good candidate to be acquired: the quality of the employee bathroom.

I quickly learned that this advice was profound because the condition of that bathroom invariably told the story of what management thought about their employees – and what the employees thought about their management. A dirty, unkept employee bathroom indicated that neither felt positively about the other. It was a cultural sign that took precedence for me regardless of the many other factors I evaluated in the business itself.

As our entire economy has evolved over the last several decades into one that is highly dependent upon information, I believe a new standard has emerged alongside the “employee bathroom test” to help determine the health of an organization. That new standard is just as visibly measured as bathroom quality. The quality, or lack thereof, is the information technology that is provided for employees to do their jobs. Therefore, across the Department of the Navy (DON), we must recognize that advanced information management, digital modernization, and the technology tools that enable them, must be elevated as core strategic priorities. They will ultimately help define the long-term cultural health of our organization.

Cybersecurity, data strategy and analytics, artificial intelligence, and quantum computing have all combined to create massive opportunities and vulnerabilities across our entire enterprise. A critical element of mission readiness is our ability to access agile, reliable, and secure global communications and information, from the network enterprise to the tactical edge. We cannot lag behind our global competitors in providing the technology standards, networks, and tools for YOU to be able to perform your mission with greater speed, accuracy, visibility, and connectivity.

That is why we consolidated Department-wide information management strategy and functions into a restructured and empowered Office of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) led by Mr. Aaron Weis. Mr. Weis left a successful career as CIO in the private sector because he was drawn to our mission and he likes big challenges. He came to the right place! Under his leadership, the DON is executing a unified vision driving transformation and operational capability. If we are going to win tomorrow’s fights, we must ensure operationally relevant information is in the right hands, at the right time. We need all hands on deck to execute the following three lines of effort of our new Information Management Strategy:

Modernize – We will modernize the DON infrastructure from its current state of fragmented, non-performant, outdated, and indefensible architectures to a unified, logical modern infrastructure capable of delivering information advantage. We will design a performant, defendable cloud-enabled, network leveraging robust identity management.

Innovate – We will use technologies like 5th Generation wireless and Artificial Intelligence to maximum effectiveness, and field new operational capabilities. We will create Digital Innovation Centers to accelerate software development and leverage best practices in the private sector and industry to fuel our digital transformation.

Defend – We will employ continuous active monitoring across the enterprise to increase cyber situational awareness and institute a security culture where a personal commitment to cybersecurity is required to gain access to the network. We will transform the compliance centered culture to one where security is constant readiness. We will work with our defense industrial base partners to secure naval information regardless of where it resides.

These efforts will be led by the Office of the CIO, but their effective implementation depends upon each of us. Our command of the informational commons must be no less a priority than the lethality of our weapons. Without it, our naval force will be unable to deliver what the American taxpayers deserve – and those in uniform on our Navy and Marine Corps team rightfully demand.

You have my commitment that we will improve our technology and tools to a standard that is visibly recognizable, and comparable to what would be expected of any great organization operating in the Information Age. But I ask that you – every Sailor, Marine, and civilian – take seriously your own role as a guardian of the digital information you have, and will have at your fingertips. Everyone in the DON enterprise must become a Cyber Sentry. The more advanced we become as an Information-Based organization, the more our adversaries will seek to attack and exploit us in this domain. We will not be able to stop them unless everyone does their part to protect the advantages digital information provides, and limit the vulnerabilities it creates.

Go Navy, and as always, Beat Army!

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/02/14/secnav-vectors-2/ poyrazdogany

Acting SECNAV Speeches and Transcripts

The following are transcripts of interviews and prepared remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. The most recent additions appear first.

All transcripts and recordings from commercial media sources are courtesy of the copyright holder.

Jan. 3, 2020: Interview on Hugh Hewitt radio program. Click here for the YouTube audio recording of the segment.

HH: Of course the huge news overnight: President Trump ordered the killing of Khasim Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard–probably the second most important person in the rogue regime that is Iran.

Joining me this morning to talk about that and of course our force structure overall, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

Secretary Modly, welcome. It’s great to have you back. It’s been nine months since we’ve talked. I’m glad to have you this morning.

TM: Good morning, Hugh. How are you?

HH: Great. First question has to come about last night. Do we have the assets and the rules of engagement in place to protect our citizens, our forces, our allies in the region that Iran could threaten as retaliation?

TM: I certainly believe that that’s true, Hugh. I think the President’s number one priority is to protect our people overseas. And so any action that we take over there has that in mind prior to any action being taken. And so we thought through those things pretty seriously, and we feel like we have the forces in place to protect. But that being said, the Iranians are a rogue regime, and they’ve got all kinds of nefarious ways of going about things. So we just have to be very, very vigilant and make sure that we’re taking care of our people. 

HH: Secretary Modly, do we have carriers in the region? Are we dispatching more naval strength to the region in anticipation of potential retaliation?

TM: Yeah, well, Hugh, we do have a carrier in the region. I’d prefer not to get into more detail about what other forces may or may not be flowing into the area. But the Harry S. Truman is there. It relieved the Lincoln that had been there for about ten months. So, but other than that, I really, I can’t really go into much more detail.

HH: All right, but last question on this. The rules of engagement do allow our troops, especially our ships, to respond to any provocation?

TM: Yes, they do.

HH: Alright.

TM: They have the ability to protect themselves and protect Americans, and so they, that’s pretty clear to all of our commanders.

HH: Now originally, I scheduled this to talk to you about force structure, so I want to go there.

TM: Sure.

HH: I first have to say, though, you’re a fellow Buckeye and a fellow Browns fan. What do you think of Urban Meyer as the head of the Browns?

TM: I’m tracking that very closely. It’s been a very disappointing season for all of us. But I don’t know. I think that he’s a pretty strong football mind, and I think he has been able to build pretty good culture wherever he’s been, and I think that’s one of the things that seems to be lacking there the team. So if that’s the direction they go, I think there are a lot worse choices they could make.

HH: Now the reason I asked that is he builds things, he gets a plan, he sticks to it. The Browns have had eight plans, ten plans over the last 20 years, and that’s why nothing ever works. They don’t stick to a plan. The President has a plan for 355 ships in his Navy, and for 12 carriers. We aren’t anywhere close to that. When we talked nine months ago, we talked about this. Is there ever going to be a plan, Secretary Modly?

TM: Yes, and in fact, I’m actually here today at the U.S. Naval Institute. I’ve gathered together a group of both folks from inside the Navy, Department of the Navy, and the Marine Corps, and a bunch of outside experts and academics, and folks who have looked at force structure for years. And we’re going to sit down and talk this through, and we’re going to come up with some recommendations for Secretary Esper, and for the, ultimately for him to bring to the President to say look, this is the path that we need to be on to get to the number that you want. And the number itself can’t just be a random number. It has to be a number that works in terms of when we look at various war gaming scenarios and how the national defense strategy has changed, and what the threat scenarios are, and that’s what we’ve been working on, actually, for the last several months internally, doing something called the integrated naval force structure assessment, which is the first time we’ve actually brought the Marine Corps and the Navy together to look at this to determine what types of platforms and what that force mix should look like.

HH: Now I am certainly not the person to tell you what the force mix should look like, but I know what the number is, because the President has said it repeatedly – 355 ships.

TM: Sure.

HH: What was that memo to OMB about? Because to a civilian, and that’s what I am, I’m just a civilian. It looked like near insubordination.

TM: Well, now I wouldn’t say that, Hugh. I mean, we’re going through a budget process right now, and you know, that budget process has puts and takes, as particularly as you get to the end game, which is where we are now. We roll the budget out in February. And so we’re looking at those various puts and takes, and trying to present some options to, both to the Secretary of Defense and the President in terms of final decisions. So I mean, I think the OMB memo was, you know, had some concerns about where this might look. I think they overstated in that memo where that, where those decisions would drive the end force number. I think we’re still, regardless, we’re going to be over 300, or close to 300 at the end of this year. We started out the administration at 275. But the path to 355 is a challenging path, because you know, frankly, it’s a mathematical issue. I mean, if you’re going to grow the force by 25-30%, and we started at 275, you need to have a top line that matches that. And right now, we sort of have, we had a big bump in the first year or two, but we’re sort of inflation-adjusted, sort of flat going forward. And so that’s where the decisions base has to be brought and made clear to the President and the Secretary of Defense about, hey look, if this is the path we’re going on, we’re going to probably need to have more top line for the Navy.

HH: So Secretary Modly, if you go to this sit down this morning, and your first question is here is our budget, what can we build with it, you’ll have a very different discussion than if your first question is the President has said 355 and 12, how do we get there as fast as possible, and then what will it cost. Which approach are you going to adopt?

TM: No, no, my approach is the latter, and I’ve made that very clear from my first day in the acting seat, is that I want a plan for 355 in 10 years. And so that is what, that is the mandate that I’ve given the Navy and the Marine Corps to look at, and that is the way we’re looking at it. It’s not completely resource unconstrained. I mean, we have to be realistic about things.

But you know, my perspective on this is very consistent with where I was two years ago when I was sworn in as the under [secretary of the Navy], which I think the number is going to be more than 355. And I’ve always called it 355 plus, because I think it’s going to be that number plus a variety of other platforms that we’re probably, that we hadn’t thought about before, and that includes unmanned vehicles, it includes a new type of, perhaps, smaller amphib-type ship that we hadn’t looked at before. So I think it, my perspective is the right mix for us is going to be 355 plus, and that could be anywhere from 400 to, you know, 420 platforms, some manned, some unmanned, you know, some under the traditional guise that we’ve been looking at before.

HH: I’m so glad to hear that, because you’ll get a plan, then, if you demand it. My question is you don’t get what you don’t ask for. You don’t get the money unless Congress knows you need it, and you have to persuade. Are you prepared, and I know actings have some limitations, but you don’t seem to care about that, and I’m glad to hear that. Are you going to go up there and persuade the Hill that we need this money now to get to what the President has said he wants?

TM: Certainly. I mean, that is, that has been the challenge, because a 355 goal isn’t law, but it was put in law by the authorizers, and not funded by the appropriators. So that is the big challenge, and I’m glad you mentioned this point about me being acting. I mean, being acting doesn’t mean you’re pretending. So you know, I’m in the seat, and I believe that I am, have the responsibility and the authority to address these challenges that the Navy has, because we don’t really know how long I’ll be in the seat. And it’s a very critical time for our Navy, and I expect to take that on full force.

HH: You’ve got a new CNO. Is he as committed to 355 plus as you are?

TM: I, oh, he’s definitely, both he and General Berger, the new commandant, have been very much involved in the process of determining what this new force structure will look like, and has opened up a lot of creative options. So yeah, he’s very committed to it.

HH: Does it involve new shipyards, because that is one of the crucial bottlenecks. I’ve known about it for years even as a civilian, and it seems to me we can’t get to 355 unless we open or expand places like Philadelphia.

TM: I think it definitely, in the final analysis, if we are able to fund this and convince people that we need to fund this, it will create opportunities for other shipyards, not just Philadelphia, but probably some things in the Midwest that can produce smaller vessels that perhaps are unmanned and also built in other parts of the country. So I think it’ll definitely open up opportunities for our existing shipyards, but also for others as well.

And also, the other thing you need to think about is that the bigger the force is, the more maintenance you need. And that also opens up opportunities for expanding our maintenance bases, or our maintenance infrastructure across the country. And part of the problem we’ve had with this is that we haven’t been able to send a good, strong, consistent demand signal to those other shipyards, and so they’re just not interested in engaging with the Navy. And so we have to make sure that you know, this is a national imperative, and we’re driving towards a bigger Navy, and I think then, industry will follow.

HH: There is also the need for a 5th generation fighter, or a declaration that we’re not going to have one. Have you made that decision, yet, Secretary Modly?

TM: Well, we have the 5th generation fighter in the F-35. We are looking at sort of the 6th generation fighter right now, and that is currently under development. But no decision’s been made on what direction we’re going to go with that.

HH: Excuse me, I misspoke. But do you, are you committed to the 6th generation, because the F-35 doesn’t have the range that a lot of the experts I read say you need.

TM: Oh, I think we should always, yeah, I’m committed to always advancing our aviation capabilities, so you know, if the next generations, you know, we’re on 5th now, then 6th generation is clearly something we should be looking at and understanding what that’s going to take to get there.

HH: Last question, are you going to put back the submarine that was cut in the OMB and the other cuts in the OMB memo? Are they going to be back on the board today at the end of the day?

TM: Well, all those things, all those things are decisions that are going to be made in the coming, in the next several weeks. Ultimately, it’s a decision for the Secretary of Defense. I think, you know, we would love to have that submarine back in. And we’re going to make the case for it, and we’ll see whether or not the top line follows.

HH: Secretary Modly, thank you. Come back after you’ve had your sit down, and I’m glad you’re asking the first question the way you are. Good luck in getting everyone on the same team, and rowing in the same direction. I appreciate it. Finally, we might get a plan for 355, and it’ll be Tom Modly’s achievement. Thank you, Secretary.

TM: Thank you. Thanks, Hugh. Thanks for having me on.

[End of interview.]

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/01/03/acting-secnav-speeches-and-transcripts/ U.S. Navy

Acting SECNAV Speeches and Transcripts

The following are transcripts of interviews and prepared remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. The most recent additions appear first.

All transcripts and recordings from commercial media sources are courtesy of the copyright holder.

Jan. 3, 2020: Interview on Hugh Hewitt radio program. Click here for the YouTube audio recording of the segment.

HH: Of course the huge news overnight: President Trump ordered the killing of Khasim Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard–probably the second most important person in the rogue regime that is Iran.

Joining me this morning to talk about that and of course our force structure overall, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

Secretary Modly, welcome. It’s great to have you back. It’s been nine months since we’ve talked. I’m glad to have you this morning.

TM: Good morning, Hugh. How are you?

HH: Great. First question has to come about last night. Do we have the assets and the rules of engagement in place to protect our citizens, our forces, our allies in the region that Iran could threaten as retaliation?

TM: I certainly believe that that’s true, Hugh. I think the President’s number one priority is to protect our people overseas. And so any action that we take over there has that in mind prior to any action being taken. And so we thought through those things pretty seriously, and we feel like we have the forces in place to protect. But that being said, the Iranians are a rogue regime, and they’ve got all kinds of nefarious ways of going about things. So we just have to be very, very vigilant and make sure that we’re taking care of our people. 

HH: Secretary Modly, do we have carriers in the region? Are we dispatching more naval strength to the region in anticipation of potential retaliation?

TM: Yeah, well, Hugh, we do have a carrier in the region. I’d prefer not to get into more detail about what other forces may or may not be flowing into the area. But the Harry S. Truman is there. It relieved the Lincoln that had been there for about ten months. So, but other than that, I really, I can’t really go into much more detail.

HH: All right, but last question on this. The rules of engagement do allow our troops, especially our ships, to respond to any provocation?

TM: Yes, they do.

HH: Alright.

TM: They have the ability to protect themselves and protect Americans, and so they, that’s pretty clear to all of our commanders.

HH: Now originally, I scheduled this to talk to you about force structure, so I want to go there.

TM: Sure.

HH: I first have to say, though, you’re a fellow Buckeye and a fellow Browns fan. What do you think of Urban Meyer as the head of the Browns?

TM: I’m tracking that very closely. It’s been a very disappointing season for all of us. But I don’t know. I think that he’s a pretty strong football mind, and I think he has been able to build pretty good culture wherever he’s been, and I think that’s one of the things that seems to be lacking there the team. So if that’s the direction they go, I think there are a lot worse choices they could make.

HH: Now the reason I asked that is he builds things, he gets a plan, he sticks to it. The Browns have had eight plans, ten plans over the last 20 years, and that’s why nothing ever works. They don’t stick to a plan. The President has a plan for 355 ships in his Navy, and for 12 carriers. We aren’t anywhere close to that. When we talked nine months ago, we talked about this. Is there ever going to be a plan, Secretary Modly?

TM: Yes, and in fact, I’m actually here today at the U.S. Naval Institute. I’ve gathered together a group of both folks from inside the Navy, Department of the Navy, and the Marine Corps, and a bunch of outside experts and academics, and folks who have looked at force structure for years. And we’re going to sit down and talk this through, and we’re going to come up with some recommendations for Secretary Esper, and for the, ultimately for him to bring to the President to say look, this is the path that we need to be on to get to the number that you want. And the number itself can’t just be a random number. It has to be a number that works in terms of when we look at various war gaming scenarios and how the national defense strategy has changed, and what the threat scenarios are, and that’s what we’ve been working on, actually, for the last several months internally, doing something called the integrated naval force structure assessment, which is the first time we’ve actually brought the Marine Corps and the Navy together to look at this to determine what types of platforms and what that force mix should look like.

HH: Now I am certainly not the person to tell you what the force mix should look like, but I know what the number is, because the President has said it repeatedly – 355 ships.

TM: Sure.

HH: What was that memo to OMB about? Because to a civilian, and that’s what I am, I’m just a civilian. It looked like near insubordination.

TM: Well, now I wouldn’t say that, Hugh. I mean, we’re going through a budget process right now, and you know, that budget process has puts and takes, as particularly as you get to the end game, which is where we are now. We roll the budget out in February. And so we’re looking at those various puts and takes, and trying to present some options to, both to the Secretary of Defense and the President in terms of final decisions. So I mean, I think the OMB memo was, you know, had some concerns about where this might look. I think they overstated in that memo where that, where those decisions would drive the end force number. I think we’re still, regardless, we’re going to be over 300, or close to 300 at the end of this year. We started out the administration at 275. But the path to 355 is a challenging path, because you know, frankly, it’s a mathematical issue. I mean, if you’re going to grow the force by 25-30%, and we started at 275, you need to have a top line that matches that. And right now, we sort of have, we had a big bump in the first year or two, but we’re sort of inflation-adjusted, sort of flat going forward. And so that’s where the decisions base has to be brought and made clear to the President and the Secretary of Defense about, hey look, if this is the path we’re going on, we’re going to probably need to have more top line for the Navy.

HH: So Secretary Modly, if you go to this sit down this morning, and your first question is here is our budget, what can we build with it, you’ll have a very different discussion than if your first question is the President has said 355 and 12, how do we get there as fast as possible, and then what will it cost. Which approach are you going to adopt?

TM: No, no, my approach is the latter, and I’ve made that very clear from my first day in the acting seat, is that I want a plan for 355 in 10 years. And so that is what, that is the mandate that I’ve given the Navy and the Marine Corps to look at, and that is the way we’re looking at it. It’s not completely resource unconstrained. I mean, we have to be realistic about things.

But you know, my perspective on this is very consistent with where I was two years ago when I was sworn in as the under [secretary of the Navy], which I think the number is going to be more than 355. And I’ve always called it 355 plus, because I think it’s going to be that number plus a variety of other platforms that we’re probably, that we hadn’t thought about before, and that includes unmanned vehicles, it includes a new type of, perhaps, smaller amphib-type ship that we hadn’t looked at before. So I think it, my perspective is the right mix for us is going to be 355 plus, and that could be anywhere from 400 to, you know, 420 platforms, some manned, some unmanned, you know, some under the traditional guise that we’ve been looking at before.

HH: I’m so glad to hear that, because you’ll get a plan, then, if you demand it. My question is you don’t get what you don’t ask for. You don’t get the money unless Congress knows you need it, and you have to persuade. Are you prepared, and I know actings have some limitations, but you don’t seem to care about that, and I’m glad to hear that. Are you going to go up there and persuade the Hill that we need this money now to get to what the President has said he wants?

TM: Certainly. I mean, that is, that has been the challenge, because a 355 goal isn’t law, but it was put in law by the authorizers, and not funded by the appropriators. So that is the big challenge, and I’m glad you mentioned this point about me being acting. I mean, being acting doesn’t mean you’re pretending. So you know, I’m in the seat, and I believe that I am, have the responsibility and the authority to address these challenges that the Navy has, because we don’t really know how long I’ll be in the seat. And it’s a very critical time for our Navy, and I expect to take that on full force.

HH: You’ve got a new CNO. Is he as committed to 355 plus as you are?

TM: I, oh, he’s definitely, both he and General Berger, the new commandant, have been very much involved in the process of determining what this new force structure will look like, and has opened up a lot of creative options. So yeah, he’s very committed to it.

HH: Does it involve new shipyards, because that is one of the crucial bottlenecks. I’ve known about it for years even as a civilian, and it seems to me we can’t get to 355 unless we open or expand places like Philadelphia.

TM: I think it definitely, in the final analysis, if we are able to fund this and convince people that we need to fund this, it will create opportunities for other shipyards, not just Philadelphia, but probably some things in the Midwest that can produce smaller vessels that perhaps are unmanned and also built in other parts of the country. So I think it’ll definitely open up opportunities for our existing shipyards, but also for others as well.

And also, the other thing you need to think about is that the bigger the force is, the more maintenance you need. And that also opens up opportunities for expanding our maintenance bases, or our maintenance infrastructure across the country. And part of the problem we’ve had with this is that we haven’t been able to send a good, strong, consistent demand signal to those other shipyards, and so they’re just not interested in engaging with the Navy. And so we have to make sure that you know, this is a national imperative, and we’re driving towards a bigger Navy, and I think then, industry will follow.

HH: There is also the need for a 5th generation fighter, or a declaration that we’re not going to have one. Have you made that decision, yet, Secretary Modly?

TM: Well, we have the 5th generation fighter in the F-35. We are looking at sort of the 6th generation fighter right now, and that is currently under development. But no decision’s been made on what direction we’re going to go with that.

HH: Excuse me, I misspoke. But do you, are you committed to the 6th generation, because the F-35 doesn’t have the range that a lot of the experts I read say you need.

TM: Oh, I think we should always, yeah, I’m committed to always advancing our aviation capabilities, so you know, if the next generations, you know, we’re on 5th now, then 6th generation is clearly something we should be looking at and understanding what that’s going to take to get there.

HH: Last question, are you going to put back the submarine that was cut in the OMB and the other cuts in the OMB memo? Are they going to be back on the board today at the end of the day?

TM: Well, all those things, all those things are decisions that are going to be made in the coming, in the next several weeks. Ultimately, it’s a decision for the Secretary of Defense. I think, you know, we would love to have that submarine back in. And we’re going to make the case for it, and we’ll see whether or not the top line follows.

HH: Secretary Modly, thank you. Come back after you’ve had your sit down, and I’m glad you’re asking the first question the way you are. Good luck in getting everyone on the same team, and rowing in the same direction. I appreciate it. Finally, we might get a plan for 355, and it’ll be Tom Modly’s achievement. Thank you, Secretary.

TM: Thank you. Thanks, Hugh. Thanks for having me on.

[End of interview.]

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/01/03/acting-secnav-speeches-and-transcripts/ U.S. Navy

Acting SECNAV Speeches and Transcripts

The following are transcripts of interviews and prepared remarks from Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly. The most recent additions appear first.

All transcripts and recordings from commercial media sources are courtesy of the copyright holder.

Jan. 3, 2020: Interview on Hugh Hewitt radio program. Click here for the YouTube audio recording of the segment.

HH: Of course the huge news overnight: President Trump ordered the killing of Khasim Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard–probably the second most important person in the rogue regime that is Iran.

Joining me this morning to talk about that and of course our force structure overall, Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly.

Secretary Modly, welcome. It’s great to have you back. It’s been nine months since we’ve talked. I’m glad to have you this morning.

TM: Good morning, Hugh. How are you?

HH: Great. First question has to come about last night. Do we have the assets and the rules of engagement in place to protect our citizens, our forces, our allies in the region that Iran could threaten as retaliation?

TM: I certainly believe that that’s true, Hugh. I think the President’s number one priority is to protect our people overseas. And so any action that we take over there has that in mind prior to any action being taken. And so we thought through those things pretty seriously, and we feel like we have the forces in place to protect. But that being said, the Iranians are a rogue regime, and they’ve got all kinds of nefarious ways of going about things. So we just have to be very, very vigilant and make sure that we’re taking care of our people. 

HH: Secretary Modly, do we have carriers in the region? Are we dispatching more naval strength to the region in anticipation of potential retaliation?

TM: Yeah, well, Hugh, we do have a carrier in the region. I’d prefer not to get into more detail about what other forces may or may not be flowing into the area. But the Harry S. Truman is there. It relieved the Lincoln that had been there for about ten months. So, but other than that, I really, I can’t really go into much more detail.

HH: All right, but last question on this. The rules of engagement do allow our troops, especially our ships, to respond to any provocation?

TM: Yes, they do.

HH: Alright.

TM: They have the ability to protect themselves and protect Americans, and so they, that’s pretty clear to all of our commanders.

HH: Now originally, I scheduled this to talk to you about force structure, so I want to go there.

TM: Sure.

HH: I first have to say, though, you’re a fellow Buckeye and a fellow Browns fan. What do you think of Urban Meyer as the head of the Browns?

TM: I’m tracking that very closely. It’s been a very disappointing season for all of us. But I don’t know. I think that he’s a pretty strong football mind, and I think he has been able to build pretty good culture wherever he’s been, and I think that’s one of the things that seems to be lacking there the team. So if that’s the direction they go, I think there are a lot worse choices they could make.

HH: Now the reason I asked that is he builds things, he gets a plan, he sticks to it. The Browns have had eight plans, ten plans over the last 20 years, and that’s why nothing ever works. They don’t stick to a plan. The President has a plan for 355 ships in his Navy, and for 12 carriers. We aren’t anywhere close to that. When we talked nine months ago, we talked about this. Is there ever going to be a plan, Secretary Modly?

TM: Yes, and in fact, I’m actually here today at the U.S. Naval Institute. I’ve gathered together a group of both folks from inside the Navy, Department of the Navy, and the Marine Corps, and a bunch of outside experts and academics, and folks who have looked at force structure for years. And we’re going to sit down and talk this through, and we’re going to come up with some recommendations for Secretary Esper, and for the, ultimately for him to bring to the President to say look, this is the path that we need to be on to get to the number that you want. And the number itself can’t just be a random number. It has to be a number that works in terms of when we look at various war gaming scenarios and how the national defense strategy has changed, and what the threat scenarios are, and that’s what we’ve been working on, actually, for the last several months internally, doing something called the integrated naval force structure assessment, which is the first time we’ve actually brought the Marine Corps and the Navy together to look at this to determine what types of platforms and what that force mix should look like.

HH: Now I am certainly not the person to tell you what the force mix should look like, but I know what the number is, because the President has said it repeatedly – 355 ships.

TM: Sure.

HH: What was that memo to OMB about? Because to a civilian, and that’s what I am, I’m just a civilian. It looked like near insubordination.

TM: Well, now I wouldn’t say that, Hugh. I mean, we’re going through a budget process right now, and you know, that budget process has puts and takes, as particularly as you get to the end game, which is where we are now. We roll the budget out in February. And so we’re looking at those various puts and takes, and trying to present some options to, both to the Secretary of Defense and the President in terms of final decisions. So I mean, I think the OMB memo was, you know, had some concerns about where this might look. I think they overstated in that memo where that, where those decisions would drive the end force number. I think we’re still, regardless, we’re going to be over 300, or close to 300 at the end of this year. We started out the administration at 275. But the path to 355 is a challenging path, because you know, frankly, it’s a mathematical issue. I mean, if you’re going to grow the force by 25-30%, and we started at 275, you need to have a top line that matches that. And right now, we sort of have, we had a big bump in the first year or two, but we’re sort of inflation-adjusted, sort of flat going forward. And so that’s where the decisions base has to be brought and made clear to the President and the Secretary of Defense about, hey look, if this is the path we’re going on, we’re going to probably need to have more top line for the Navy.

HH: So Secretary Modly, if you go to this sit down this morning, and your first question is here is our budget, what can we build with it, you’ll have a very different discussion than if your first question is the President has said 355 and 12, how do we get there as fast as possible, and then what will it cost. Which approach are you going to adopt?

TM: No, no, my approach is the latter, and I’ve made that very clear from my first day in the acting seat, is that I want a plan for 355 in 10 years. And so that is what, that is the mandate that I’ve given the Navy and the Marine Corps to look at, and that is the way we’re looking at it. It’s not completely resource unconstrained. I mean, we have to be realistic about things.

But you know, my perspective on this is very consistent with where I was two years ago when I was sworn in as the under [secretary of the Navy], which I think the number is going to be more than 355. And I’ve always called it 355 plus, because I think it’s going to be that number plus a variety of other platforms that we’re probably, that we hadn’t thought about before, and that includes unmanned vehicles, it includes a new type of, perhaps, smaller amphib-type ship that we hadn’t looked at before. So I think it, my perspective is the right mix for us is going to be 355 plus, and that could be anywhere from 400 to, you know, 420 platforms, some manned, some unmanned, you know, some under the traditional guise that we’ve been looking at before.

HH: I’m so glad to hear that, because you’ll get a plan, then, if you demand it. My question is you don’t get what you don’t ask for. You don’t get the money unless Congress knows you need it, and you have to persuade. Are you prepared, and I know actings have some limitations, but you don’t seem to care about that, and I’m glad to hear that. Are you going to go up there and persuade the Hill that we need this money now to get to what the President has said he wants?

TM: Certainly. I mean, that is, that has been the challenge, because a 355 goal isn’t law, but it was put in law by the authorizers, and not funded by the appropriators. So that is the big challenge, and I’m glad you mentioned this point about me being acting. I mean, being acting doesn’t mean you’re pretending. So you know, I’m in the seat, and I believe that I am, have the responsibility and the authority to address these challenges that the Navy has, because we don’t really know how long I’ll be in the seat. And it’s a very critical time for our Navy, and I expect to take that on full force.

HH: You’ve got a new CNO. Is he as committed to 355 plus as you are?

TM: I, oh, he’s definitely, both he and General Berger, the new commandant, have been very much involved in the process of determining what this new force structure will look like, and has opened up a lot of creative options. So yeah, he’s very committed to it.

HH: Does it involve new shipyards, because that is one of the crucial bottlenecks. I’ve known about it for years even as a civilian, and it seems to me we can’t get to 355 unless we open or expand places like Philadelphia.

TM: I think it definitely, in the final analysis, if we are able to fund this and convince people that we need to fund this, it will create opportunities for other shipyards, not just Philadelphia, but probably some things in the Midwest that can produce smaller vessels that perhaps are unmanned and also built in other parts of the country. So I think it’ll definitely open up opportunities for our existing shipyards, but also for others as well.

And also, the other thing you need to think about is that the bigger the force is, the more maintenance you need. And that also opens up opportunities for expanding our maintenance bases, or our maintenance infrastructure across the country. And part of the problem we’ve had with this is that we haven’t been able to send a good, strong, consistent demand signal to those other shipyards, and so they’re just not interested in engaging with the Navy. And so we have to make sure that you know, this is a national imperative, and we’re driving towards a bigger Navy, and I think then, industry will follow.

HH: There is also the need for a 5th generation fighter, or a declaration that we’re not going to have one. Have you made that decision, yet, Secretary Modly?

TM: Well, we have the 5th generation fighter in the F-35. We are looking at sort of the 6th generation fighter right now, and that is currently under development. But no decision’s been made on what direction we’re going to go with that.

HH: Excuse me, I misspoke. But do you, are you committed to the 6th generation, because the F-35 doesn’t have the range that a lot of the experts I read say you need.

TM: Oh, I think we should always, yeah, I’m committed to always advancing our aviation capabilities, so you know, if the next generations, you know, we’re on 5th now, then 6th generation is clearly something we should be looking at and understanding what that’s going to take to get there.

HH: Last question, are you going to put back the submarine that was cut in the OMB and the other cuts in the OMB memo? Are they going to be back on the board today at the end of the day?

TM: Well, all those things, all those things are decisions that are going to be made in the coming, in the next several weeks. Ultimately, it’s a decision for the Secretary of Defense. I think, you know, we would love to have that submarine back in. And we’re going to make the case for it, and we’ll see whether or not the top line follows.

HH: Secretary Modly, thank you. Come back after you’ve had your sit down, and I’m glad you’re asking the first question the way you are. Good luck in getting everyone on the same team, and rowing in the same direction. I appreciate it. Finally, we might get a plan for 355, and it’ll be Tom Modly’s achievement. Thank you, Secretary.

TM: Thank you. Thanks, Hugh. Thanks for having me on.

[End of interview.]

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/01/03/acting-secnav-speeches-and-transcripts/ U.S. Navy

SECNAV VECTORS

Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly issues his weekly Vector message to the Department of the Navy workforce on Fridays. Below is the text of each Vector, the most recent appearing first.

Revisit this NavyLive blog each week for the latest SECNAV Vector.

Vector 4: Dec. 27, 2019

Earlier this week I announced our decision to name the next two Virginia-class submarines, SSN-802 and SSN-803, after the great states of Oklahoma and Arizona, respectively. These two ship names have special meaning for us as a nation, and particularly for those of us with any connection to the U.S. Naval Service. The previous USS OKLAHOMA (BB-37) and USS ARIZONA (BB-39) were tragically and memorably lost 78 years ago on December 7th during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lost with those ships were over 1,606 Sailors and Marines – selfless patriots of the Greatest Generation who never had the opportunity to taste victory as our Navy and Marine Corps team and the nation did some four years later. Their sacrifice should never be forgotten and these two new warships, our most modern and lethal, will set sail into unpredictable waters where we will count on them to maintain stability and peace. In so doing they will honor those lost 78 years ago, along with the two states who have sent so many into service to defend our nation.

It is fitting that we name these ships in December as we close out one year in remembrance, and look forward to the possibilities of the next. Just a few weeks after the previous USS ARIZONA and USS OKLAHOMA were lost at Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke to the nation from Washington in late December, in a joint Christmas address with Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The nation was shaken by the Pearl Harbor attacks and the advance of Nazism across Europe. In the midst of this great uncertainty, the President sought to encourage the country’s unity and resolve:

“The year 1941 has brought upon our Nation a war of aggression by powers dominated by arrogant rulers whose selfish purpose is to destroy free institutions. They would thereby take from the freedom-loving peoples of the earth the hard-won liberties gained over many centuries.

The new year of 1942 calls for the courage and the resolution of old and young to help to win a world struggle in order that we may preserve all we hold dear.

We are confident in our devotion to country, in our love of freedom, in our inheritance of courage. But our strength, as the strength of all men everywhere, is of greater avail as God upholds us.”

As we celebrate the holidays and close out 2019, President Roosevelt’s December prayer for national resolve in the coming year is just as relevant as it was 78 years ago. We as a Navy and Marine Corps team must focus our collective confidence in the goodness of the nation we defend, and on our ability to defend it with vigilance and agility. We must continue to be grateful for, and mindful of, our Sailors, Marines, and their families, who make sacrifices daily across the globe to keep the light of freedom bright. We must honor them with how we approach our jobs and in what we do every day to make our Navy and Marine Corps the finest and most powerful in the world – both today and into a very competitive and unpredictable future.

Thank you in advance for making a commitment to doing so in the coming year. Your individual efforts, your passion, your creativity, your sacrifices, and your patriotism matter. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year. Go Navy! And of course, as always, Beat Army!

Thomas B. Modly
Acting

Vector 3: Dec. 20, 2019

Thanks to the ingenuity and tireless efforts of thousands of Americans over many years, the USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) aircraft carrier represents a generational leap in our nation’s capacity to project power on a global scale. With the successful completion of CVN 78’s Post Shakedown Availability and subsequent Independent Steaming Events, finishing our work and delivering this capability to the fleet as quickly and effectively as possible is one of my highest priorities. The American taxpayers have invested
significant capital into this ship, and they deserve nothing less.

We are going to make FORD ready with all hands on deck, as one team, relentlessly focused on achieving the following tasks and timelines:

Exercise the Full Spectrum of Air Wing Operations

  • We will complete Aircraft Compatibility Testing for all aircraft planned for deployment (Q2FY20).
  • We will attain Flight Deck Certification for the planned deployment air wing (Q3FY20).

Achieve Full Ship Functionality

  • To enable access to magazines, we will complete Lower Stage #5 and #I elevators (Q4FY20).
  • We will complete the remaining five A WEs prior to Full Ship Shock Trials (Q3FY21).
  • Then we will complete Combat Systems Testing and Certification (Q3FY21).

Man, Train, and Certify the Crew

  • Our manning levels will support all planned operations for key events and deployment (Q3FY20).
  • We will complete training for crew to support certification and deployment (Q1 FY22).

Ensure Materiel Readiness

  • We will reach and maintain ship visual and material conditions to the highest standards (Q2FY20).
  • We will ensure all maintenance documents are delivered (Q2FY21).
  • We will deliver the parts needed to enable CVN 78 deployment (Q2FY22).

The Program Executive Office (PEO) Aircraft Carriers, RADM Jim Downey, will be accountable for this Vector as the supported activity. Effective immediately, he will establish a permanent presence in Norfolk to ensure that these efforts proceed expeditiously. Supporting organizations include: PEO Tactical Aircraft, PEO Integrated Warfare Systems, PEO C41, Naval Reactors, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, and OPNA V N9. Additionally, the U.S. Fleet Forces Commander has assigned RADM Roy Kelley, Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic, as the responsible leader of all fleet-supporting organizations for this Vector.

Our first “Make FORD Ready” summit will occur on January 9, 2020, with every stakeholder in government and industry present. From that point forward, I will receive a monthly status update along with the CNO and ASN (RD&A). My expectation is that we will work with diligence and speed to accelerate each deadline if possible. The FORD is just the first ship of this new class. It must set the standard for those that follow–and with our diligence and commitment, it will. Let’s finish the job.

Thomas B. Modly
Acting

Vector 2: Dec. 13, 2019

In the last two weeks, our entire Navy and Marine Corps family was struck by three tragic acts: Little Creek, Virginia; Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; and Pensacola, Florida. These crimes targeted us all, and I know I speak for every Sailor, Marine, and Civilian in the Department when I say that our prayers are with the families of the fallen and with the wounded. It is our solemn duty to find the causes of such tragic loss and ceaselessly work together to prevent them. As we reflect on these tragedies, I ask that we focus on the following:

Grief. We must understand, and stand in grief, alongside the families of those who lost their lives in these tragic incidents. The families of Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, Master-at­Arms 3rd Class Oscar Jesus Temores, Mr. Vincent Kapoi, and Mr. Roldan Agustin are a part of OUR broad naval family. They are suffering from the loss of their loved ones. We must pray for them and keep them in our thoughts. For those who witnessed these events, and/or were injured, we must be committed to help them in their journeys back to normalcy. It is all of our jobs to help them recover from their injuries, visible or not.

Heroism. We must never forget the heroism of those who ran towards the danger in these incidents, exhibiting the finest warrior ethos and quick decision-making that doubtless saved many lives. On Tuesday, I traveled to Naval Air Station Pensacola to meet with the patrol officers and Naval Security Force personnel, who were the first responders on the scene and confronted the shooter, along with heroic civilian officers from the Escambia County Sheriffs Office. I learned about countless acts of heroism from the first responders, and many of the victims themselves which will come to light as the facts of these tragedies are revealed. I assure you that we will all be proud of these heroes and what they did in moments of terror and extreme danger.

Resolve. Even as we grieve together as a community, we must stand united in our resolve that these attacks will not deter us from fulfilling our sacred obligations to protect and defend our fellow citizens. The facilities at Little Creek, Pearl Harbor, and Pensacola remain fully operational and mission-focused. Around the world, our people still maintain the watch in protection of our nation, securing the sea lanes, and responding wherever there is need alongside our allies and partners. From these incidents, we must take renewed purpose, learning where we can to ensure-greater protection of our assets, information, infrastructure, and most importantly, bur precious people. It is my expectation that each of our facilities will review physical security and emergency response procedures to minimize the risk of a recurrence. And it is my expectation that all of our people – military, civilian, and contractor – be provided with the training, information, and motivation to maintain the vigilance we must all have to spot the warning signs that are often precursors to tragedies such as these.

The events at Pensacola, Pearl Harbor, and Little Creek were very different, but each represented an attack on our naval family and our ideals. These incidents will not hold us back but will serve as a constant reminder of our common responsibilities to each other and the nation we so proudly serve.

I have never been more honored to serve at your side than I have over the past two
weeks, as I witnessed how senseless tragedies have elevated within us the values that define our force and unite us all.

Thomas B. Modly
Acting

Vector 1: Dec. 6, 2019

It is the honor of my lifetime to serve as your Acting Secretary of the Navy. Although no one, other than the President and his Secretary of Defense, can positively determine how long this tenure may be, I fully intend to execute their strategic vision. I consider the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), ADM Mike Gilday, and Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC), Gen Dave Berger to be the right leaders at the right time in history to lead the Navy and Marine Corps, together, through a set of immediate changes designed to ensure that Integrated American Na val Power will continue to enable our economic and physical security for the rest of the 21 st century.

I am convinced that dominant naval force is the primary engine of our National Defense Strategy (NDS) and we must plan for it, and most importantly, resource it, accordingly. As those most trusted with planning for our naval requirements, programming, and systems acquisition, it is our time now to seize this opportunity with relentless intellectual focus and dedication. This memorandum is first in a series of weekly “vectors” that I will send to the integrated Navy and Marine Corps team, each addressing my focus and direction on our way forward in achieving specific critical enterprise-level objectives.

I have three broad priorities for which I expect alignment from naval military and civilian leadership up and down the chain of command:

  • Designing a Future Integrated Naval Force Structure
  • Advancing Our Intellectual Capacity and Ethical Excellence
  • Accelerating Digital Modernization Across the Force

My top five immediate objectives are the following:

  • Put All Hands on Deck to make the USS GERALD R. FORD (CVN 78) ready as a warship as soon as practically possible
  • Establish an Integrated Plan to achieve a 355 (or more) ships, Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs,) and Unmanned Surface Vehicles (USVs) for greater global naval power, within 10 years
  • Increase Engagement with Emerging Naval Partners and Allies in the Pacific Region
  • Fully Fund Our New Naval Education and Information Management Strategies
  • Drive Measurable, Accountable Results to Resolve Public Private Venture (PPV) Issues for our Sailors, Marines, and their families

Successful implementation of all these first objectives will depend upon an integrated Navy and Marine Corps leadership team. I will meet with the CNO, CMC, and senior members of their teams together, starting immediately and then twice a month in order to lay the foundations and set conditions for these changes, among others. I am committed to supporting the Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG), and expect that the CNO’s forthcoming vision will complement it, in coordination with my staff. All future high-level strategies, visions, and guidance emanating from our Navy and Marine Corps team must start and finish as integrated efforts, not as final phase “bolt-ons” from one to the other.

Additionally, my staff and I will become involved in the current Integrated Naval Force Structure Assessment (INFSA). The INFSA will serve as the main analytic and planning effort upon which our integrated plan for a larger, more capable naval force will depend, especially in terms of force design and future fleet architecture. This will occur immediately in any recommended changes made to our budget for FY 21, and in current planning for FY 22 and beyond. The INFSA must be based on an accurate understanding of our current and future national industrial base, advanced technological capability, and digital domains. I will require regular briefings on the progress of the INFSA and expect it to be published no later than January 15, 2020.

Thank you for your leadership in building the Integrated American Naval Force we need to set sail safely into an unpredictable future. Above all else, it has always been our people and their combined intellects, striving for agility and accountability, which have historically marked the Navy and Marine Corps team as leaders in adaptation for new operational and strategic environments. As we work in pursuit of the above goals, the nation requires we embody the qualities of velocity, collaboration, visibility, adaptability, innovation, humility, trust, and yes, skepticism in order to create the kind of agility necessary for continual learning and any eventual success we might earn as a team. It is up to us today to hold each other accountable to display the best of these attributes, and take fullest advantage of this opportunity to build the Navy-Marine Corps team of the future.

Thomas B. Modly
Acting

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2020/01/02/secnav-vectors/ U.S. Navy

Time to Update Our Strategic Vision and Goals

By Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer

After two years serving as your Secretary of the Navy, it is time to update the department’s vision and goals. We’ve accomplished a lot together, and we need to keep looking forward.

The return of great power competition is testing our readiness and capabilities in ways we haven’t seen in a generation. We have to be ready to fight tonight in every part of the world, and in every domain, as one integrated naval force.

The department’s new vision gets to the heart of this. The credible and immediate presence of the Navy and Marine Corps within all operational domains ensures the security and prosperity of the American people and preserves open access to the global commons. The expeditionary character of our Sailors and Marines is an indispensable component of the Joint Force. As such, we can expect America’s adversaries to continue to erode our maritime advantage through every means at their disposal.

With this challenge in mind, we must make every effort to retain and expand our competitive edge. We have to embrace a more integrated naval approach to developing our people, capabilities and processes.

We’ve already made significant strides in integration through many of our functional elements, and we’ll continue to do so, innovating where we can and adapting where we must. I see innovation and adaptation as complementary strengths. Adaptation adjusts to the security environment, while innovation transforms it. To succeed in today’s complex world, we must do both.

That’s why I’ve tasked the department with six strategic goals:  

1.      Invest in Human Capital

Instead of assuming we will attract the right talent, our soon-to-be released Human Capital Strategy will meet the market where it is. We’re looking to access the best people by employing the private sector’s best practices and technology in recruitment. We’ll augment our traditional workforce with outside experts, temporary employees, and crowd-based solutions. And we’ll curate our workforce, engaging our people so they understand their opportunities and have the flexibility and training to build a career that works.

 2.      Prioritize Learning as a Strategic Advantage

Innovation and intellectual readiness have become the new battlefields of what we describe in the Education for Seapower initiative as the “cognitive age.” We must be a continual learning enterprise, for one simple reason: Our adversaries are learning too. The era of great power competition will be driven by investments in gray matter as much as gray hulls. To ensure our future competitive strength, I’ve appointed a Chief Learning Officer, Mr. John Kroger, and charged him with synchronizing the efforts of our higher learning institutions, exploring new avenues for education and training, and expanding opportunities for our researchers, officers and civilians to learn from the private sector and academia.

 3.      Develop a Fully Integrated Process for Our Budget Priorities

We’re redesigning the budget process to meet all of our needs as a single force, Navy and Marine Corps, establishing priorities that make sense across both services. That means reforming our processes to ensure documents like the Program Objective Memorandum, or POM, reflect the true immediate and projected needs of the department, and that we maintain visibility of our risks, requirements and strategic decision points throughout the year.

 4.      Modernize Business Operations

As I mentioned at the top, we must be one integrated naval force, and that applies as much to our business operations layer as much as it does at the warfighting level. Through aggressive implementation of the Business Operations Plan, we’re building on the results of our department-wide audit to streamline and integrate our supply chain, financial and logistics operations. We’re getting into our “systems of systems” to ensure both the relevance and integrity of our data. And we’re using the best practices of the private sector to reduce downtime and return capabilities to the fight quickly and effectively.

 5.      Elevate Information Management

Good information management is a strategic imperative. This means we must unify our digital enterprise to deliver secure, reliable and resilient warfighting capabilities across the services and the information spectrum. Our integrated effort will be led by a fully empowered and mission-oriented Chief Information Officer. I have named Mr. Aaron Weis to this role, and charged him with addressing the critical vulnerabilities the cyber security review identified up and down the supply chain, and responsible for every aspect of our digital transformation.

 6.      Design an Integrated Naval Force Structure

We’re modernizing our naval force, as well as our supporting infrastructure, to maximize interoperability and warfighting capability with our partner nations. That includes developing an Industrial Base Management Plan proposal for a modernized naval force and supporting infrastructure capable of global projection. It means getting ahead of global trends, and ensuring interoperability with partner nations and lethal overmatch for our warfighters. That also means providing both the capability and capacity we need to confront our many challenges. A 355-ship Navy is an important aspirational goal, but more important is ensuring we have the maximum capability to address every challenge under existing resource constraints.

The return of great power competition leaves no room for complacency and no time for inefficiency. Together, we must out pace, out think, and out innovate all who threaten the American people and challenge our global interests. Together we will do just that.

https://navylive.dodlive.mil/2019/11/07/time-to-update-our-strategic-vision-and-goals/ poyrazdogany

SECNAV’s Letter to the Force: Department of the Navy’s Mission, Vision and Priorities

On Aug. 29, 2017, Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer released a memorandum that outlined the Department of the Navy mission, vision and priorities. The memo’s text is below. The original document is also available for download.

Sailors, Marines and Civilian Teammates,

As I stated in my confirmation hearing, I have discussed priorities that must be at the forefront of every action. Our mission, vision and priorities for the Department of the Navy are listed below.

I call upon you to make every effort count and to align your goals with our priorities. I look forward to making progress alongside you in these areas.

Mission: The Department of the Navy will recruit, train, equip and organize to deliver combat
ready Naval forces to win conflicts and wars while maintaining security and deterrence through
sustained forward presence.

Vision: We are an integrated Naval force that will provide maritime dominance for the Nation.
To accomplish this in the face of current and emerging challenges, we must renew our sense of
urgency and speed of execution throughout the entire organization. Our core values and
accountability at the individual and organizational levels will shape our culture and guide our
actions.

Priorities: Our priorities center on People, Capabilities and Processes, and will be achieved by
our focus on speed, value, results and partnerships. Readiness, lethality and modernization are
the requirements driving these priorities.

People: Our military and civilian workforce is our greatest resource.

  • We will enhance the performance of our force by improving policies, programs and
    training.
  • The organization will capitalize on its best talent today, retain that talent over the long
    term, and find ways to continue to recruit the best people for the mission of the future.
  • Our military and civilian team will be measured against the highest ethical standards for
    every task and mission.

Capabilities: We will be capable of providing maritime dominance and power projection
required by the Nation.

  • The organization will focus on training, modernization and maintenance in order to
    achieve a high state of readiness and enhanced lethality, now and in the future.

Processes:  We must improve our processes in order for our people to meet future challenges.

  • We will drive efficiency, adopt and implement new ideas, and leverage leading practices
    from industry and academia to positively impact and support acquisition, manpower,
    research, and operational processes.

Our actions across these priorities will ensure mission success today and in the future.

 

Richard V. Spencer

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/08/29/secnavs-letter-to-the-force-department-of-the-navys-mission-vision-and-priorities/ U.S. Navy

Farewell and Following Seas, SECNAV Ray Mabus

The following are Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus’ remarks from his farewell tribute ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C., Jan. 6, 2017. SECNAV Mabus served as the 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy, the longest to serve as leader of the Navy and Marine Corps since World War I.

WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2017) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during his farewell tribute ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2017) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during his farewell tribute ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)

 

It may have been a mistake to have my family speak before me. I come from a long line of weepers.

But thank you, Commandant Neller.  Thank you, CNO Richardson.  Thank you, Admiral Greenert, Lynne, Elisabeth, Annie, Kate, the Navy and Marine Corps leaders that I have worked with, whom I respect greatly and admire, the family that I love. Thank you also to these Sailors and Marines who marched out here on this cold day, and to the people who planned this and worked this. And thank you all for being here on a chilly January morning. I appreciate it more than you can ever know.

WASHINGTON (May 19, 2009) The Honorable Ray Mabus is sworn in as the 75th Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) by Jeh Johnson, General Counsel for the Department of Defense during a ceremony at the Pentagon. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released)
WASHINGTON (May 19, 2009) The Honorable Ray Mabus is sworn in as the 75th Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) by Jeh Johnson, General Counsel for the Department of Defense during a ceremony at the Pentagon. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O’Brien/Released)

 

Almost eight years ago, I reentered the service, sworn in as the 75th Secretary of the Navy, 37 years after departing my last duty station, the USS Little Rock. During my time in this storied and historic post, which is almost as old as the United States itself, the days have been long, but the years have been short.  I cannot imagine a better position, or one where the stakes are higher for our Sailors, our Marines, for your families, for our nation.

This assignment is a high privilege, but also a solemn responsibility to those who stand the watch, protecting the land they love, and to their loved ones, and to the civilians who support and sustain them.  Every decision I’ve made, every action I’ve taken has been guided by one goal: Strengthen the Navy and the Marines.

GREAT LAKES, Ill., (July 16, 2009) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, left, congratulates recruits at Recruit Training Command (RTC). Mabus was making his first visit to RTC since being named SECNAV June 18, 2009. (U.S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill., (July 16, 2009) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus, left, congratulates recruits at Recruit Training Command (RTC). Mabus was making his first visit to RTC since being named SECNAV June 18, 2009. (U.S. Navy photo by Scott A. Thornbloom/Released)

 

When I took office, our fleet was shrunken, our economy was in shambles, too soon we would face sequestration and a government shutdown. All dependency and price and supply shocks threatened operations and training and were literally costing us lives. Defective laws and antiquated personnel policies limited our abilities to attract and retain America’s most talented young people. All of this was happening, even as an increasingly complex and challenging world imposed ever-increasing demands on our naval forces.

But today, I can say this: Despite all the obstacles, because of the work, the dedication, the commitment of the Sailors, Marines, civilians, our Navy and Marine Corps are far more capable, far better equipped to meet and master any event that comes over the horizon than the force that existed on that hot day in 2009 when I was sworn in. The Navy and Marine Corps are undeniably and significantly different today than they were then, and they are also undeniably and significantly stronger.

MARJAH, Afghanistan (Dec. 17, 2010) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Marines and Sailors assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. Mabus spent the day touring forward operating bases in the Helmand Province area. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released)
MARJAH, Afghanistan (Dec. 17, 2010) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Marines and Sailors assigned to 2nd Battalion, 6th Marines and 3rd Battalion, 9th Marines. Mabus spent the day touring forward operating bases in the Helmand Province area. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kevin S. O’Brien/Released)

 

We’re America’s away team, a constant presence around the globe – presence, around the globe around the clock, is what makes the Navy and Marines unique, and what gives America an unrivaled advantage on, above, under and from the sea. Fostering stability, keeping the peace, assuring that sea lanes remain open, and reassuring allies near and far, deterring adversaries, and delivering the widest range of options in times of crisis.

Eight years ago, to do all the nation has entrusted to us we had urgent imperatives: Reverse the decline in the fleet and make it fit for the 21st century. Change the way we consumed energy in a world where the old ways were wasteful and unsustainable. And to make our forces more powerful and more resilient where danger is less and less predictable.

There are consequences to a reduced fleet. Because we lacked enough ships, we had hard choices about which combat commanders to support. Because we lacked enough ships, our deployments were coming quicker and becoming longer and much more uncertain. Because we lacked enough ships, they could not stay in the shipyards long enough, and they were wearing out and breaking down. Because we lacked enough ships, the Navy and Marine Corps could not do everything America expects of us – from high-end combat, to irregular warfare, to safeguarding freedom of navigation, providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and doing all this all around the world all around the clock.

You’ve heard this before.  In 2001, the Navy counted 316 ships. Seven years later, in 2008, after one of the great military buildups in our history, we were down to 278. During those seven years, only 41 ships were contracted, not enough to keep the fleet from a continued decline and not enough to keep our shipyards going. So we not only needed many more ships, we had to get them with much less money. In the last seven years, with the help of Congress, by taking some basic business decisions, the cost of every type ship has been dramatically driven down and the number of ships under contract has more than doubled from 41 to 86.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (March. 5, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during the christening ceremony for the Navy s newest Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Washington (SSN 787) in Newport News Shipbuilding. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)
NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (March. 5, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus delivers remarks during the christening ceremony for the Navy s newest Virginia-class attack submarine, the future USS Washington (SSN 787) in Newport News Shipbuilding. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)

 

It takes a long time to rebuild a fleet. With the commitments of the last eight years, we’ve turned the trend and the size of the fleet will reach 300 ships by 2019 and 308 by 2021. The ships we are building now will determine fleet size for years to come. If you miss a year building ships, the neglect cannot be made up.  If years are missed, if not enough ships are built year in and year out, the impact will be felt for decades.

For our military force, energy is both a weapon and a vulnerability. It can constitute a combat edge or a weakness, which can be exploited.  The Navy has understood the central role of energy and has been a leader in innovation for more than two centuries, moving from sail to coal, coal to oil, pioneering the use of nuclear propulsion.

And every time – every time the Navy changed types of energy or the way energy was used, there were critics who defended the status quo, arguing that we were giving up something free, the wind, for something that cost money, coal.  Or, that we were abandoning huge infrastructure, worldwide coaling stations, for oil.  Or that there was no way nuclear power could be made small enough or safe enough to be put on a submarine.  And every time, the Navy held firm and made the shift because it gave us an edge.

HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (June 25, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observes an array of solar panels while receiving a tour of the Boldak Expedionary Energy Patrol Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin S. O'Brien/Released)
HELMAND PROVINCE, Afghanistan (June 25, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus observes an array of solar panels while receiving a tour of the Boldak Expedionary Energy Patrol Base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kevin S. O’Brien/Released)

 

In 2009, we were at a new point of energy vulnerability and, again, change was essential. As I took office, the price of oil was at $140 a barrel. And early in my tenure, the Navy was presented with over $2 billion in unbudgeted fuel price increases. We were forced to choose between operations and training. And most crucially, we were losing a Marine, killed or wounded, for every 50 convoys of fuel we brought into Afghanistan. That’s unacceptable.

As you’ve heard before today, I set some ambitious goals for Navy energy, the most far-reaching and fundamental that by no later than 2020 at least half of all our energy afloat and ashore would come from non-fossil fuel sources. We achieved the shore part in 2015, five years early, and we now get 60 percent of the energy on our bases from alternatives. We’re moving to micro grids so that so, like John Greenert said, even if something happens to the grid, we can still perform our vital military functions. At sea, we’re at 35 percent alternatives, which is half nuclear. And we’re on track to meet our goal in 2020.

Tactically, our Marines and SEALs are decisively more mobile, and can operate far longer without dangerous resupply of fuel. By getting generators, they can hear when danger is coming. Our ships are staying on station longer. Our bases are more adaptable and secure. Economically, even with the present low price of oil, we’re saving money on energy. For the first time, we have competition in liquid fuels.  We’re more insulated from price and supply shocks. And there’s a whole new income stream for American farmers and small businesses.

AUSTRALIA (May 14, 2016) Cpl. Chance A. Benedict Jr., a mortarman, talks to Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, about the M40A5 sniper rifle at Mount Bundey Training Area, Northern Territory, Australia, May 14, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mandaline Hatch/Released)
AUSTRALIA (May 14, 2016) Cpl. Chance A. Benedict Jr., a mortarman, talks to Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, about the M40A5 sniper rifle at Mount Bundey Training Area, Northern Territory, Australia, May 14, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Mandaline Hatch/Released)

 

Strategically we’re no longer dependent on nations that may not have our best interests at heart and we have many more options. In Singapore, there’s an oil refinery owned by the Chinese. Just down the road, there’s a biofuel refinery owned by a Finnish company. We need options so that we do not have to rely on the Chinese for fuel for our Navy, particularly in the Western Pacific. And we and our allies are not nearly as vulnerable to energy threats from nations like Russia.

At the same time, we can’t ignore the effects of climate change. This is not just a national issue. It’s a grave national security issue. As new routes open, amid the melting arctic ice, as sea levels rise, as storms increase in intensity, the Navy and Marine Corps face new and critical tests. If we fail to act upon climate change, instability around the globe will inevitably intensify, and even our bases will risk being lost.

I speak of this not to advance some sort of green agenda, but because it is indispensable to a 21st century military. A modern energy revolution, a strategic resolve to respond to climate change can transform how we fight.  And it, too, gives us a combat edge. This is the new normal for the Navy and Marines. Going back to the way we operated before would be equivalent to stopping the use of nuclear or returning to sails.  Going back would mean sacrificing a significant advantage, rendering our forces more vulnerable, and recklessly risking the lives of Sailors and Marines.

CHANGI, SINGAPORE (Nov. 22, 2016) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, speaks with Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Larry Carlson/Released)
CHANGI, SINGAPORE (Nov. 22, 2016) — Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), the Honorable Ray Mabus, speaks with Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call on the flight deck aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Larry Carlson/Released)

 

Today we have the finest force in our history. The Sailors of today are rightful heirs to those that defeated the world’s preeminent Navy power at sea in 1812, to those who fought at Mobile Bay and Manilla, to those who won the battle of the Atlantic in World War I, those who prevailed at Midway, manned Yankee Station, provided combat air over Afghanistan and Iraq. The Marines of today are rightful heirs to those that fought at Tripoli, Chapultepec, Belleau Wood, Iwo Jima, Chosin, Hue, Kuwait, Fallujah and Helmand.

Ours is also an all-volunteer force, in a country where three of four Americans between 18 and 24 do not qualify for military service. It’s also a force stressed by a decade and a half of war, longer and more unpredictable deployments and, because of endless budget fights, uncertainty about its future. It’s a force at risk because of the crime of sexual assault and the tragedy of suicide. It’s a force composed of the brave and the talented, who value service to country over comfort and safety and ease and financial reward.  Because you are our best, we have to do our best for you.

So we make careers more flexible and rewarding by creating opportunities for promotion based more on merit and less on time, opportunities to acquire new skills and education, take a break from the military for family, or to work in private industry. We’ve tried to make sure people are never forced to choose between service and family by tripling paid maternity leave, expanding childcare by two hours in the morning and the evening, and adopting two military spouses co-location policies. We’ve been aggressive in tackling sexual assault and are seeing improvements there, and are pursuing suicide prevention from the deck plates to senior leadership. We have changed and improved physical standards and DODS, and ended the symbolic segregation of women by standardizing uniforms for everyone.

BOSTON (Sept. 19, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus poses for a photo with the ceremonial honor guard at the ship naming ceremony for the two future Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet replenishment oilers USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
BOSTON (Sept. 19, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus poses for a photo with the ceremonial honor guard at the ship naming ceremony for the two future Military Sealift Command (MSC) fleet replenishment oilers USNS Lucy Stone (T-AO 209) and USNS Sojourner Truth (T-AO 210). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)

 

You heard about my travel. And the reason I’ve done this so much is to see Sailors and Marines where they’re deployed, to shake their hands, to look them in the eye, to listen, to answer their questions, explain the reasons for the decisions that have been made. And I’ve done this, in the words of the Marine hymn, in every clime and place, at every Marine Forward Operating Base, in Helmand province Afghanistan during my dozen visits there, and on every type of ship and virtually every base around the world.

As a wartime Secretary, the first thing I do each morning and the thing that takes priority during the day are casualty reports. These are not statistics. These are men and women who volunteered, raised their hands, said send me. Knowing the risk, yet willing to take them. Each with family and friends and, when lost, leaves a void that is never fully closed. Every loss is personal, and not just for comrades in combat.  This is a dangerous business that these special sons and daughters undertake every day, whether in battle, or operations, or training.

ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 24, 2016) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus poses for photos with Sailors during a Thanksgiving Day visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anderson Branch)
ARABIAN GULF (Nov. 24, 2016) Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus poses for photos with Sailors during a Thanksgiving Day visit aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike). (U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anderson Branch)

 

In this book, “Lords of the Sea,” John Hale describes the dynamic between the Athenian Navy and Athenian democracy. The Navy that defeated a Persian force more than four times as large in Salamis was powered by ordinary Athens citizens and commanded by officers of their choosing. When those citizens came home from the sea to the Athens they had saved, they demanded a full say in its future, and established a democracy which flourished for centuries. In ancient Athens there was no difference between those being defended and those doing the defending. So too, in our democracy, there cannot be too much distance between those who fight and those who they fight for.

The protecting force must be reflective of the nation being protected. A diverse force is a stronger force.  Not diversity for diversity’s sake, but diversity in background and experience and perspective. A force which is too alike in its thinking becomes predictable. And a predictable force becomes a defeatable force.  So we’ve ended some arbitrary and ultimately self-defeating restrictions on who can serve and in what capacity. We’ve set high job-specific standards for every Navy and Marine Corps position. We will not relax these standards for any group, for any reason.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHA 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Oct. 15, 2011) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks to Sailors and Marines during an all-hands call aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHA 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Sam Shavers/Released)

 

And once you set this standard, things like race, who you love, where you come from, what’s your gender or your identity is all become irrelevant. The only thing that matters is whether the person doing the job has proven they can do the job. Our Navy and Marine Corps will continue to be the most formidable and lethal expeditionary fighting force in the world, and in history, if the only qualification to serve is to be qualified to serve.

In 2011, soon after repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” I was in Manas, Kyrgyzstan, at our base where nearly everyone going into or coming out of Afghanistan passed through. After an all-hands call with about 800 Sailors and Marines, a corpsman, Navy first class petty officer who had just finished his third combat deployment with the Marines, came up to me afterwards and said he wanted to thank me, thank me for pushing for the repeal of this law. He’s gay. And he said he’d been scared for years that he would be found out and kicked out of the service that he loved. Now, imagine, here was someone who had done three combat tours, risking his life time after time to come to the aid of Marines in need, and yet his biggest fear was that he would be removed from the Navy just for being gay. How wrong is that?  How wrong is that?

YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 16, 2012) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks with Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) during lunch on the mess decks. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith/Released)
YOKOSUKA, Japan (July 16, 2012) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) the Honorable Ray Mabus speaks with Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) during lunch on the mess decks. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Andrew Ryan Smith/Released)

 

And coming up, we got to work on the timing of these flyovers.

When Sailors and Marines are doing their job, they’re usually a long way from home. The American people never get to see how hard the jobs we expect them to do every day, and how good they are at doing them.  At the start, I thought that one of my most important responsibilities was make sure the Navy and Marine Corps are closely connected to the American people. I’ve tried to do this in a lot of ways: Visiting all 50 states to thank our citizens for their support.  Bringing Naval ROTC back at Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, after an absence of 40 years, and establishing an ROTC at Rutgers and Arizona State – the most diverse campuses in the country.  And I’ve sought to do this in exercising the duty and privilege of naming ships.

U.S. Secretary of the Navy Mr. Ray E. Mabus unveils the graphic of the USS John Basilone during the ship naming ceremony for the USS John Basilone (DDG-122) on Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 16, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich)
U.S. Secretary of the Navy Mr. Ray E. Mabus unveils the graphic of the USS John Basilone during the ship naming ceremony for the USS John Basilone (DDG-122) on Camp Pendleton, Calif., August 16, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Tyler S. Dietrich)

 

That’s why I’ve named ships after nine Medal of Honor and two Navy Cross recipients – people like John Basilone, Louis Wilson, John Finn, Woody Williams, and Jack Lucas from World War II, Lenah Higbee from World War I, Thomas Hudner from Korea, Barney Barnum, who’s here today, and Ralph Johnson from Vietnam, Rafael Peralta from Iraq – individuals who fought and in many cases died for American values. But it’s equally important to honor the values themselves. That’s why, in accordance with the long-standing naval tradition of naming support ships for civilians, I’ve named ships in honor of civil rights and human rights leaders, like Medgar Evers, Cesar Chavez, John Lewis, Harvey Milk, Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth – Americans who have also fought, and in some cases died, pursuing our most sacred values – justice, equality, freedom.

The memories that I leave with I will carry with me until the end of my days, incredibly happy memories:  Meeting in the fleet the sons and daughters and grandchildren of friends of long ago. Being on the sidelines of Navy football games with players who very soon will be turning pro in defense of our country.  Eating ice cream with Sailors and Marines in every corner of the world. Shaking the hands of almost 9,000 graduates of eight different Annapolis commencements.

BALTIMORE (Dec. 13, 2014) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, left, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, Gen. Joseph Dunford, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Vice Adm. Ted Carter, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, prepare to walk onto M&T Bank Stadium field for the coin toss during the 115th Army-Navy football game. Navy beat Army for the 13th year in a row with a final score of 17
BALTIMORE (Dec. 13, 2014) Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert, left, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus, Gen. Joseph Dunford, commandant of the Marine Corps, and Vice Adm. Ted Carter, superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, prepare to walk onto M&T Bank Stadium field for the coin toss during the 115th Army-Navy football game. Navy beat Army for the 13th year in a row with a final score of 17

 

Moving memories:  At a forward operating base in Afghanistan, meeting Marines coming in from a firefight, drenched in sweat despite freezing weather.  At Bethesda, visiting warriors with grievous wounds, but no bitterness, no regret. Serving and then sitting and eating meals at Camp Leatherneck and ships at sea with Marines and Sailors who would immediately report back to their duties and return to the fight, learning that the mission had been a success and that Osama bin Laden was dead.

Painful memories: Handwriting condolence letters to the families of the fallen, particularly those I wrote to children. Being at Dover for our heartbreaking, dignified transfers.  And being with one grieving family, or many, as I was when we lost 22 SEALs and enablers, five Army, three Air Force comrades, and eight Afghan allies.

Poignant memories: In Pearl Harbor and Iwo Jima for the 70th anniversary of those battles, and listening to the stories of the dwindling ranks of survivors, talking with one of the last crewmen still alive who had been on board the USS Indianapolis when it sank. Helping families reconnect with their ancestors by recovering long-lost service records. Listening to Thomas Hudner talking about trying so hard, but unsuccessfully, to save his wingman, Jesse Brown, the Navy’s first African-American aviator.

ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 15, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus greets the captain and the chief of the boat as he boards the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 757) during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. ICEX 2016 is a five-week exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region. ICEX 2016 allows the U.S. Navy to assess operational readiness in the Arctic, increase experience in the region, advance understanding of the Arctic environment, and develop partnerships and collaborative efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)
ARCTIC CIRCLE (March 15, 2016) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus greets the captain and the chief of the boat as he boards the Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine USS Hampton (SSN 757) during Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Tyler Thompson)

 

And some really cool memories:  Skydiving with the SEALs. Standing on both poles. Transiting the straits of Magellan and Malacca. Going through the Suez and the Panama Canals. Experiencing a very small part of Marine pre-deployment training. Being given a horse in Mongolia. Being made an honorary chief.  Landing on a carrier and being catapulted off in the backseat of an F-18, and being given the call sign, “Ahhh,” for what I said when I got catapulted off, flying at more the speed of sound than a Growler on 100 percent biofuels. Being Agent Ray on the NCIS TV show. Commandant, throwing out that first pitch at all 30 stadiums. Being underway for five days on a submarine, missing the CNO’s record by less than 12 years.

I’ve been incredibly fortunate in my entire life, from the parents I had, to the family I cherish, to the friends I hold so dear, to the positions of responsibility that I have been entrusted with. But I have never been so honored, so inspired, so encouraged about America’s future as I have been in this job, standing side-by-side with women and men who are willing to sacrifice everything to defend everything America stands for.

NEW YORK (Nov. 11, 2015) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens and Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus march with Sailors during the NYC Veterans Day Parade. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin L. Carey/Released)
NEW YORK (Nov. 11, 2015) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens and Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus march with Sailors during the NYC Veterans Day Parade. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin L. Carey/Released)

 

My first and only hero was my father. He lived in a town of 1,000 people. And he and his brother had a hardware store and were tree farmers. He’s buried less than three miles from where he was born. And like the Navy and Marines, tree farming requires a long time horizon and an abiding belief in the future. The last year of his life he did not cut a single tree, but he planted thousands even though he knew he would never benefit in any way from those trees. He planted them as an act of hope and as an act of faith. His hope was for future generations, including his grandchildren, here today, whom he would never meet.  His faith was in a country that had lifted him and his family and had itself provided so much hope for the rest of the world.

The work we do for the future of the Corps and the Navy is equally an act of hope, an act of faith – hope and faith in the ongoing journey of this country and the generations to come who will be in its service.  The sadness that I feel at departing is matched in much greater measure by pride in the accomplishments we have made together during my second tour of duty. I am absolutely convinced that our Navy and Marine Corps are positioned for a future that is as brilliant and as noble as its past.  Today’s Navy and Marine Corps are not only the best in the world, they’re the best the world has ever known.

WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2017) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and his family depart the parade field during his farewell tribute ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)
WASHINGTON (Jan. 6, 2017) Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus and his family depart the parade field during his farewell tribute ceremony at Marine Corps Barracks, Washington, D.C. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Armando Gonzales/Released)

From and to the Navy, Semper Fortis, Always Courageous. From and to the Marines, Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful. And at this leave-taking, to all who serve, Semper Tecum, I Will Always Be With You.

http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/01/18/farewell-and-following-seas-secnav-ray-mabus/ U.S. Navy