SECNAV discusses maritime security
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus delivered remarks about maritime security and the global economy Sept. 25 at the University of Pennsylvania.
During his speech, Mabus talked about the impact of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ presence on the security and stability of the global economy.
“The world economy is doing as well as it is because of navies, and, primarily, because of the United States Navy,” Mabus said.
The event, sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania’s Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps unit and its schools of Arts and Sciences and International Politics, as well as the Foreign Policy Research Institute, was largely
attended by an audience focused on international relationships. Mabus discussed the significance of these
relationships and the importance of partnerships in maintaining freedom of trade and navigation.
“No matter how big, no matter how capable, no one country can do everything. We have to rely on partners worldwide. The more interoperable we are, the more we exercise together, the more we operate together, the better we will
be when a crisis comes,” Mabus said.
He also addressed the role of energy in powering the fleet and how increasing operating costs could affect the Navy and Marine Corps’ ability to accomplish their mission.
“Every time there’s a crisis somewhere,” Mabus said, “traders in oil and gas add what is known as a security premium, usually about $10 a barrel. Every time the price of oil goes up $1 a barrel, it costs the Navy and Marine Corps $30 million in additional operating costs.”
To counter this effect and to help the Department of the Navy enhance its warfighting capabilities, he reinforced the need for alternative energy solutions. Mabus added the Navy and Marine Corps’ presence also depends on having the right sized fleet. He told the audience that in the five years he’s been in office, he’s placed 70 ships under contract. These ships will contribute to growing the fleet to 309 ships by the end of this decade and to 314 ships by the beginning of the 2020s.
“You have to have these platforms. You have to have these big gray hulls on the horizon to deter potential conflicts, to reassure allies and to do all the things that presence requires,” Mabus said. “You have to grow the fleet for us to simultaneously rebalance to the Pacific, but also not ignore other parts of the world.”
Mabus closed his speech by reinforcing the importance of the Navy and Marine Corps’ future presence in waterways vital to the global economy.
“The global economy, despite its ups and downs, is running as smoothly as it is because of that presence,” Mabus said, “and that’s what we have to maintain; that forward presence to make sure we are there, to make sure we are
where we need to be when we need to be there.”