Navy Continues to Lean Forward, Evolve, Ops Chief Says
WASHINGTON, June 27, 2012 – The Navy continues to evolve, making operational and other changes based on the U.S. defense strategic guidance, the chief of naval operations told Pentagon reporters today.
“Our Navy requirements during this time frame have definitely been evolving, and frankly, there was quite an inflection point, I think, last fall where we had a confluence of vectors economically with the Budget Control Act and the deficit,” said Navy Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert.
He noted there have been strategic changes for the U.S. military because of events in the Middle East and in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Operationally, [there were changes] in the [Middle] East with the conclusion of operations in Iraq, and the changes that have been laid out in Afghanistan, and of course, for us especially, in the Arabian Gulf, changes in forces required,” he said.
“From that, the Department of Defense developed a new strategy and I’m happy to say it’s a very transparent, very collaborative process that I was very glad to be a part of,” said Greenert, who assumed his position in September 2011.
The admiral said the Navy’s maritime strategy is being revised to align with the defense strategic guidance, and to reflect the changes in the geo-strategic environment that have taken place since October 2007 when the Navy rolled out its Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century. A year in the making, the strategy also involves the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, and applies maritime power to protect vital U.S. interests in an increasingly uncertain and globally connected world.
The Navy, however, will “revise the Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century to define how sea power will support the defense strategic guidance,” Greenert said. “I think that will be about a six- [or] eight-month effort from there.”
Greenert noted the “foundational tenets” he rolled out upon taking his position as chief of naval operations, which he called “sailing directions,” have not changed.
“War fighting is first -- [it’s] important to me,” he said. “We have to have the right, relevant capability brought forward, and from the ward room to the boardroom to the ready room, that’s what I want our guys thinking of.”
Simultaneously, he said, “We’ve got to operate forward -- that is where your Navy has always been most effective -- and I think, where it’ll continue to be effective,” Greenert said. “And we need to be ready to do the job that we’re asked to do today.”
The admiral noted there are other regions where “we have work to do,” citing its continuing support to U.S. Central Command and to security efforts in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz as “a Navy focus.”
“And of course, in the Horn of Africa, counterterrorism capability will need to continue to be a supporting element for us as we support Special Operating Forces and continue our counterpiracy patrols that we’re signed up to do with our coalition,” Greenert added.
Regarding the Asia-Pacific rebalancing, Greenert said it applies to four areas -- forces, capability, intellectual capacity, and basing.
“Forces -- it’s ships, and aircraft as well, as we migrate the Joint Strike Fighter, the P-8 [reconnaissance aircraft], our maritime patrol aircraft, and our broad area maritime surveillance system -- our marinized Global Hawk,” he said.
The Navy “will continue to evolve and lean forward in air-to-air, electronic attack, electronic warfare, anti-submarine warfare and our capabilities in anti-ship ballistic missile and anti-ship cruise missile [defense].”
Following forces and capabilities, Greenert said, there are intellectual capacity and basing elements.
“We will focus our attention in the security challenges of Asia-Pacific in the training and certification of our people who will deploy there.”
During his news conference, Greenert announced a successor for Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West.
“I think we picked the best in Fleet Master Chief Michael Stevens who is currently stationed at U.S. Fleet Forces Command,” Greenert said. “He has great experience, great leadership, [is a] good communicator and, frankly, Master Chief Stevens, I've found, has been very much in sync with our sailors, both officer and enlisted.”
Greenert thanked West for his service and said he looks forward to serving with Stevens. He also praised sailors throughout the Navy.
“It's really an honor to lead the great sailors that are out there getting the job done with their joint partners … in the joint force,” the admiral said.