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CNO Remarks at Marines Memorial Club August 5

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  • Phelps Hobart
    CNO Visits San Francisco http://www.navy.mil/search/display.asp?story_id=55170 By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Kyle P. Malloy, Chief of Naval
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 16, 2010
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      CNO Visits San Francisco


      By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Kyle P. Malloy, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

      SAN FRANCISCO (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead was the keynote speaker at the World Affairs Council in San Francisco Aug. 5.

      CNO spoke at the World Affairs Council of Northern California to address the U.S. Navy's global influence and the emerging security environment.

      "Suffice it to say that our Navy is on every continent and in every ocean, reassuring, strengthening, developing old and new emerging partners to support the stable world order," said Roughead.

      CNO went on to address how the Navy is doing its part to contribute to an ever-changing global environment with an increasing demand for naval influence both domestically and abroad.

      He also spoke about how the current Navy faces much different challenges than those of the past but is able to embrace them because of the extraordinarily high standard from which it operates.

      "This time is different for all of us," said Roughead. "But what is not different is the need for a Navy, and I'm very proud of what that Navy does every day in every ocean."

      Roughead also visited Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif., during his trip to San Francisco and received a first hand look at different scientific and technological systems being researched in order to improve national security.

      For more news from Chief of Naval Operations, visit

      Chief of Naval Operations

      Admiral Gary Roughead

      Remarks as delivered

      World Affairs Council of Northern California

      August 5, 2010



      Thank you Mike [MG Myatt], for a moment I was afraid you were going to tell everybody what my grade was in that course and I got a little bit nervous there for a while. But I would like to thank you for the hospitality and the Marines Memorial Association, but especially for your personal hospitality and the many kindnesses that you have showed me and Ellen when we’ve had the opportunity to be here. It seems as though we can never stay in San Francisco as long as we’d like but I really do think it’s a great opportunity to come and share some thoughts with you.  I’d also like to thank the members of the Fleet Week Committee for the work that you’re doing, because, I consider San Francisco one of the great cities of the world, clearly one of the great ports of the world, and a city that has a very, very special relationship with the United States Navy. Thank you for the work that you’re doing, I know it’s going to be a great Fleet Week in the not too distant future.


      I am also pleased to see some members of the Sea Cadets here and to be able to have some of the newest generation here showing interest in naval affairs is extraordinarily important. And I tell you this without any reservation whatsoever, that I envy where you are in your life and the interest that you have shown for this wonderful organization which I have been apart and I would start again in your shoes tomorrow if I could.

      It really is a special thing to be here because it’s important I think that we have opportunities to talk about our national security interests and opportunities outside the beltway.  It’s very easy and inside of Washington to have a particular view on things, particularly here in San Francisco and at the World Affairs Council where you have demonstrated a commitment to an intelligent discourse on things that are important to our nation and the global implications that stem from the events that take place around the world.  And I value it highly, our Navy values it highly, to be able to get perspectives from you here. As Mike said what I want to do today is to just talk about the Navy’s role today and what I see coming along for tomorrow – for a list of reasons that range from strategic to financial to technical that the Navy will only move further into the spotlight into the coming months and the coming years.


      There is no question that our Navy is very busy today, very busy in Iraq and Afghanistan . I think many don’t realize the commitment that we as a Navy have made to the war there. Today, as it had been the case for a couple of years now, in the Middle East , we have about 14,500 Sailors on the ground in Iraq , Afghanistan , Djibouti and the Horn of Africa. They are doing a variety of tasks that range from medical to logistics to intelligence; of course our SEALS are heavily involved in the fight, explosive ordinance, construction battalions- Sailors who don’t necessarily have the occupational specialties that tie to a ground war.  But, I will tell that in your United States Navy, you have great young men and women who use their initiative, who use their confidence and go forward and do great things even though they have never done it before.


      So with the 14,500 we have ashore, we still have about 10,000 at sea at any given day. And the aircraft carrier, for example, that is operating in the North Arabian Sea provides about 30 percent of the fixed wing aviation that flies in support of our troops in Afghanistan . That is a significant contribution.


      But our nation’s interests extend far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan . It’s very easy whether it’s in the news or just in public discussion, because of that involvement, because of the fact that we have young men and women in this country who are engaged, who are sacrificing and, indeed, in some cases paying the highest price in Iraq and Afghanistan .  And it’s very easy to think about that all the time. But our interests are global, and our Navy is global. And if we were not focused beyond Iraq and Afghanistan as a Navy, pirates would have free reign wherever they may, such as some are trying to do in the Somali Basin on the east coast of Africa , or as they tried and failed in the Straits of Malacca sometime ago.


      Drug traffickers would be about to perfect their “just in time” delivery- a problem that affects societies world over.  Our prospects for viable ballistic missile defense capability in the Western Pacific, Middle East , and now in Europe – against an advancing ballistic missile threat – would be much dimmer considering that the Navy is relied upon to lead this area based on our demonstrated capability. To date from our AEGIS ships, destroyers and cruisers, we’ve been successful, very successful in knocking down ballistic missile targets and indeed in early 2008 when we were called upon to destroy a failing satellite in a very short order were able to adapt a system (and) train our people to do that before the satellite entered the atmosphere.


      Similarly, if we didn’t have this global presence some nations would feel more confident in making excessive maritime claims, and we would forfeit our opportunity to shape a favorable security environment in the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean .


      And if you think on that last point, I’m referring to China that is exactly what I am doing. But I refer to it in a way that is a little different because I have had the privilege over the last 15 years to see the PLA Navy, the Navy of the People’s Republic of China, develop and have seen that in a very personal and somewhat up close way because of the assignments that I’ve had. Most recently, as the commander of the Pacific Fleet where I had a very direct view of the PLA Navy, but also as a service chief, I’ve had more of an opportunity to interact with my counterpart, Adm. Wu Shengli, then my fellow service chiefs had. The fact that China and the PLA Navy is stepping out on the world stage, is not surprising nor is it unexpected to me. It is just a reality that we’ve seen throughout history. As nations’ economies rise, if those economies are based on trade and resources and the goods coming out, their naives rise with them. It did with the Dutch, the Spanish, the British and even the United States . So what we’re seeing is a navy that is stepping onto the world stage and over the last two decades, we’ve seen their inventory change, the numbers have increased slightly, but the capabilities have improved significantly and it’s been a concerted modernization campaign that has been undertaken.


      As of 2009, the 300,000 or so uniformed personnel in the PLA Navy were better trained and educated than their predecessors, and the Chinese push for a professional naval force that has seen the number of career non-commissioned officers rise to a percentage of 65 to 85 percent of their enlisted force. But more indicative of how the PLA Navy perceives the future has been a pattern of operations and recent out of area deployments that they have undertaken – most notably with surface combatants that deploy into the east China sea and the south China sea and submarine patrols that range around Okinawa and as far east as Guam. As I’ve said, I have seen this up close and personal and I believe that we should work toward a constructive relationship with the PLA Navy while we maintain a strong U.S. naval presence in Asia that assures our friends and allies of our intent, of American intent, to maintain our common interests in this very important region of the world. Here, as elsewhere, credible sea power can persist within reach and form the foundation upon which other forms of national power can converge toward a common goal.  


      Globally, we are seeing an increasing and more challenging demand for naval forces than ever before from the combatant commanders, the commanders that are in the geographic regions of the world, and increasing demand for naval forces because, I think they see as many of us do a changing global order- one that has clearly been shaped by the events of September 11 and which will continue to influence activity into the future.

      While disorder will in fact be a order of that global order, I anticipate that there will be more of an aversion to introduce ground forces both internally and externally into areas where this disorder will exist and that there will be a reawakening of naval power as the more normal dimension of how the United States will choose to operate. And this has been the norm throughout our history. It is unusual that the United States has elected to use large ground forces into foreign countries for any length of time. And the norm has been more of an off-shore capability that is represented by your sea services, the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard.


      An important part of the president’s recent national security strategy was to promote a “just and sustainable international order” as an indispensable factor in greater peace and prosperity.  I couldn’t agree more on the importance of that international order, nor could I feel more strongly that the emerging international order is largely influenced by a strong American Navy working with global maritime partners. Now, that may seem to be blatantly parochial, but I’m the Chief of Naval Operations, and I can do that. 


      But let me explain why I consider that to be the case, and why we based our maritime strategy, written nearly three years ago, on this worldview. Today, the productive economic force of globalization depends on the uninhibited international exchange of ideas, goods and resources that happen predominantly at sea. On any given day, commercial ships are transporting about 95% of the goods and resources that move on the surface of this planet. Many natural resources come from the sea itself, either from the sea bed or from these waters.

      Ideas cross the globe in seconds and that’s just in our normal communication but consider that fact that $3.2 trillion of commerce moves on the ocean floor on under sea cables, every year, is indicative of the vulnerabilities that still exist at sea, much like Alfred Thayer Mahan identified in his seminal work when he talked about chokepoints and strategic lines of communication.


      Naval power will continue to play a large role in influencing international partners and players in the emerging global order with its capacity for targeted, rapid response to developments in a maritime domain which spans from the deep oceans to those areas ashore that can be influenced from the sea. As most of the world’s megacities are going to be in the littoral areas that ban, that joins the oceans of the world, urban populations in 2050 will be the same size as the world population in 2004 and much of that population is going to be compressed to the sea.


      Resources will only become more dear and those resources will be increasingly found in the littorals, as we’re witnessing in our own Gulf of Mexico and they’ll be found at even great depths which challenge our technical capabilities. And if you consider the fossil fuels of the world, 65% of oil and 35% of gas reserves are in that littoral bend. The order and stability of the maritime commons can be disrupted by man, surely, but it can surely be disrupted by natural disasters. The long-term trends in climate change are becoming more apparent and some nations like ours are planning accordingly and some nations are not. And I don’t find it coincidental that China , a nation with previously no claim on arctic waters, has called for universal access rights to increasingly navigable arctic waters. There is a lot of ocean out there, more ocean than before and much more ocean than land, and so there is a lot of sea to cover.


      In observing events, I’m convinced of the continued relevance of our maritime strategy, A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power. Successive budgets from fiscal year 2010 through our program submission for 2012 have been consistent with the maritime strategy, as was the recent Quadrennial Defense Review, which reaffirmed the importance of naval capabilities in sufficient capacity to answer global demand. Just last week, the congressionally-commissioned QDR independent panel, Quadrennial Defense Review Independent panel,  released a report that reinforced the conclusions we reached in developing our maritime strategy, and expressed concern over the mismatch they see between force structure and valid requirements Their view of the size of Fleet the United States requires us to follow through on its global commitments, requires the Fleet of 313 ships as a minimum, which I’ve been saying since the advent of the maritime strategy. But while we share the panel’s conclusions about the importance of sea power in the future, we’re balancing those investments in ships and aircraft with systems that are essential to defeating the most challenging threats we will face, investments in information dominance, electronic warfare, ballistic missile defense, and of course, the renewal of our nation’s nuclear deterrent. And I remain committed to recapitalizing the nation’s ballistic missile submarine force, which has repeatedly been identified as the most survivable leg of the nuclear triad.


      While there are large price tags associated with the nation’s capital investments, it’s hard to argue against the return represented by those investments over time.


      If you consider the service of USS Enterprise, our oldest aircraft carrier, it’s first mission that it undertook was the Cuban Missile Crisis and we are preparing the USS Enterprise as we speak, to deploy to Afghanistan to provide that air support for our troops in the ground in that country. Or consider the new attack submarine that we commissioned last Saturday, the USS Missouri, a Virginia-class submarine of incredible capability. That investment is one that will last a long time because the last commanding officer of that ship today is 9 years old. That’s the range, and that’s the value that this nation gets out of our investments.


      The maritime strategy also articulates our geo-strategic focus on two regions, the Western Pacific/Indian ocean area and the Arabian Gulf . While those two regions have changed a lot in the last three years, developments there have validated our strategic focus. I’ve already touched on China , but Iran ’s activities in the Arabian Gulf have changed the nature of naval operations there. From Operation Southern Watch, where you can operate an aircraft carrier in the Arabian Gulf without much concern for anything else to operating a carrier today requires a level of vigilance that we never had to have before.


      Our strategy calls for expanding global maritime partnerships to tackle those challenges facing all nations in the maritime commons. Global maritime partnerships provide the navies of the world a way to tackle common problems at the regional and sub-regional level, as required.  They help bring order to those under governed littoral zones of the world and build partner capacity across a range of operations.  So, while some of our ships can serve as a platform from which to deliver training and humanitarian assistance to coastal nations, other partners and ships and aircrafts can participate in more complex carrier strike group operations as we do with the British, the German and the Canadian navies.


      Bilateral relationships are in no way diminished in an effort to grow these global maritime partnerships and often they are required for the kind of high-end interoperability we seek. A recent example of that is our cooperation with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, who are moving forward at a very, very advanced way in ballistic missile defense. I have visited India where U.S. and Indian sailors, ships and aircraft exercised together, and my Indian counterpart, the Indian CNO, will soon visit me here in Washington and as I recently did to his country. And I just visited France , where I saw firsthand the commitment to high-end capabilities they are making in nuclear deterrence, aircraft carrier power projection, air defense, and amphibious warfare. And just last night in Washington , after hosting my Malaysian counterpart for a visit there, I was able to thank him for the contribution his country is making in the area of maritime security in the Straits of Malacca.


      Suffice it to say that our navy is on every continent and in every ocean reassuring, strengthening and developing old and new and emerging partners to support a stable world order. An order enhanced by our maritime strategy and the six core capabilities of being able to be forward, being able to deter, being able to project power, being able to control the sea, being able to provide for maritime security and being able to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster response. The way we reassure, strengthen and develop our friendships and allies, the currency of partnerships is made up of personal relationships, several of which I just cited, financial and diplomatic support and credible, (I) repeat credible military power. I emphasize credible because if you don’t think those overseas are watching what we do, how we do it, and what we have in our Fleet, all you have to do is look at some of the articles that come out of think tanks from around the world. And even as the global order changes, these fundamentals will not change significantly. And while the currency remains the same, the finances available for that military power are changing, giving rise to new regional centers of influence and challenging once-established powers


      As strategists, we must juxtapose the reality of limited defense budgets against a growing demand for military, and especially naval power to maintain that world order. In the past, as we entered a downturn in the defense budgets we could rely on a Fleet that had been built up during the upturn, we could rely on a resilient industrial base that could weather lean years, we could even rely on a personnel base that was either large enough to solve any problem through sheer manpower or a personnel base that could be pared down.


      But in this downturn, this time is different.


      This time is different because we are the smallest navy that we have been since 1916 when our global responsibilities and interests were not as great as they are today.


      This time is different because we have a strategy of engagement, one that requires presence, real presence not virtual presence in more areas of the world.


      This time is different because high-tech threats are proliferating, not just between and among states but to non-state actors.


      This time is different because the national strategic asset represented by our shipbuilding industrial base consists of 2 major corporations and the last downturn there were 6.


      This time is different because we’ve already reduced the number of people in the navy during the upturn. In fact, we reduced the Navy by 50,000 people. A 15% reduction, yet that Navy is costing 13% more today than the bigger Navy did back then.


      But this time, for me, is also different because we have the finest young men and women with whom I have ever served with.


      And that’s why I’m very comfortable because recently as the Secretary of Defense challenged us to become more efficient, to look at new ways of doing things, we can call on that great talent that we have, and they have responded magnificently.


      But we had already started down the path that the secretary laid out for us a couple of years ago.  We cancelled and truncated major weapon programs that were less relevant and more costly than warranted. We’ve changed our processes to improve the decisions that we make, particularly in information operations and in cyber warfare. We’re re-imagining naval power with that cyber power and unmanned systems. With our budget submission for fiscal year 2012, and the path that we put ourselves on, we are, no doubt, enter into some politically challenging discussions. We will have made decisions that some in industry may not agree with.


      And this time is different for all of us, but what is not different, is the need for a navy and I’m very proud of what that navy does every day in every ocean.


      And there are many provocative questions that I believe me and those anyone who is interested in our national security must ask. We must ask about projected budgets and the (inaudible) of those budgets. We must ask if our procurement process is really the best that government and the defense industry can do. We must ask if our deployment patterns and strategic lay down best support our global presence.


      We must ask ourselves and the American people whether our navy is right for what they want it to be and for the environment for which we will live in the years ahead, to be able to assure the safety, security and the prosperity of our great nation. Thank you very much.



      Note: The Sea Cadets mentioned were from the Arkansas Division supported by the Pacific Merchant Marine Council. They personally met with Admiral Roughead and Vice Admiral Manson Brown, USCG, and exchanged challenge coins. Arrangements to attend this special event were made by council president Phelps Hobart.

    • Karen Lynne
      Wow Phelps! You are up burning the candle and busy too! Thanks for passing this on. It was a wonderful opportunity for the ARKDIV Cadets to see first hand the
      Message 2 of 2 , Aug 16, 2010
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        Wow Phelps! 

        You are up burning the candle and busy too!  Thanks for passing this on. 

        It was a wonderful opportunity for the ARKDIV Cadets to see first hand the leadership of the CNO.  It was impressive how he just naturally spoke freely. 

        He was very approachable.  Thus establishing mutual respect.  What a teaching moment!

        Plus his ability to share a personal time with the Cadets, be just down home friendly and exchange some humor with the Chief (Alum).  It was he who offered to take a photo with the Cadets.  It was all good!  Truly a memorable experience for everyone including the CNO.

        Cheers - Karen

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