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Remarks of the Secretary of the Navy
The Honorable Gordon R. England
at the National Press Club
Washington, D.C., May 26, 2004
	Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.  Thank you Sheila 
for the kind introduction and thank you SGT Shaft (aka John 
Fales) for helping arrange for me to speak here today.  John, 
thanks also for the great work you do for our veterans - you are 
a great American. 
	First, a bit of history.  On this day in 1944, the USS 
ENGLAND, a U.S. escort destroyer, sank its 5th submarine in the 
Pacific campaign and would later sink a record 6th submarine.  
These extraordinary feats prompted Admiral Ernest King, 
then Chief of Naval Operations, to proclaim:  "There will always 
be an England . in the United States Navy."   I do hope that at 
the end of this hour, some of you will somewhat agree with 
Admiral King's proclamation!
	I also want to extend best greetings from the current CNO, 
Admiral Vern Clark, and from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, 
General Mike Hagee . both of whom are magnificent leaders and 
warriors ... and close friends of mine.  America is truly 
blessed to have their service.
	It is delightful to be with you during this otherwise slow 
week in Washington.  The Congress is out, the news is slow, and 
the cicadas are loud.  An article yesterday in The Washington 
Post said that the cicadas are like time capsules, but I doubt 
if any of you will remember the speaker today when you look back 
to 2004, 17 years from now.  Frankly, I just hope that I'm still 
around in 2021 to look back one more time!
	We all realize the serious state of the world.  But, being 
an optimist, my remarks will focus on the bright side of the 
Navy-Marine Corps team.  You may have noticed that lately the 
tone inside the Beltway has been gloom and doom . but I'm not 
from here.  I'm from far away and fortunately so is much of 
America . where the mood is brighter.  
Even more fortunately, so are almost all of our men and 
women in uniform, whose morale is terrific.  I'm also not a 
politician . even though a political appointee.  Napoleon said 
leaders are dealers of hope, and since my job is to be a leader 
of the Navy-Marine Corps team, I'm very hopeful.  
	In the Department of the Navy, we are dealing with today . 
while preparing for the future.  After carefully analyzing the 
ways and means that America and our allies will depend upon our 
service, we are concentrating on five major initiatives.  They 
1.	Support fully our brave men and women engaged in the 
global war on terror and in the transition of Iraq 
to a better future.
2.	Look beyond Iraq to help promote security and 
stability in other important areas . so the seeds of 
terrorism are not sown in the first place.
3.	Focus our capital investments for the next fight.
4.	Size and shape our human capital for the future.
5.	Use smart business practices as we invest the 
American taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.  
	To my first point, last week I was in Iraq to visit our 
gallant Marines and Sailors . there and in the Persian Gulf.  
This included time with Marines in tactical units in Fallujah, 
Al Asad, Taqqadam and Al Qaim on the Syrian border.  
I went aboard ships in the Persian Gulf and visited the 
oil terminals . where you will recall that an international 
naval coalition thwarted a terrorist attack a couple of weeks 
ago.  Despite the tragic loss of two of our Sailors from the USS 
FIREBOLT . when a dhow blew up . the attack was beaten back.  
Iraq's terminals to export its oil to free trade partners around 
the world are secure and pumping revenue back into the Iraqi 
During my visit, there were three international oil 
tankers filling up at one offshore terminal . and one tanker 
filling up at another terminal just a short distance away.  
Iraqis were manning that second oil terminal, and it was 
operating for the first time since the Iran-Iraq War.  Frankly, 
I was surprised and impressed with the flow of oil from Iraq to 
the rest of the world.
	My time with the Marines in Iraq was limited to the 
western Al-Anbar sector, an area west of Baghdad . about the 
size of Montana . and under the control of the 1st Marine 
Expeditionary Force.
	To set the stage, let me excerpt a few telling lines and 
phrases from the commander's intent . issued by the Marine 
ground combat element commander:
  *  "My aim is to make common cause with the Iraqis, providing 
security until Iraqi forces are trained, organized with 
trusted leaders, and equipped to assume the mission.
  *  Create a model of stability in our zone for all Iraq.
  *  Reward those Iraqi areas that turn against Anti-Iraqi 
  *  Facilitate establishment of the political, civil, 
administrative, and social conditions for a free Iraq.
  *  Through patient, persistent presence/influence, we will 
diminish fear and conditions that cause Iraqis to support 
the enemy."
As all of you know, his intent has not yet been achieved.  
Last month the Marines were occupied with offensive operations . 
including those in Fallujah after the horrific deaths of the 
four contractor civilians in town.  The Marines also conducted 
successful counterattacks in Husaybah near the Syrian border.
One positive outcome of these encounters is that the 
populace has renewed respect for the awesome fighting power and 
tenacity of the Marines.  And the local security situation has 
improved commensurately. The Marine adage remains true:  best 
friend, worst enemy.  
Let me now share with you the Marine leadership's view of 
the threats they face in the Al-Anbar Province.  There appear to 
be layers of networks with "transactional" alliances.  These 
networks and alliances also seem to be loosely united among 
three groups:  traditional mercenaries (the lawlessness and 
criminals, like you would find anywhere), the jihadists (radical 
Islamic fundamentalists), and those politically motivated (anti-
occupation forces).  
To each of them, destabilization works in their short-term 
favor . get the Coalition out, and then resurface to try to gain 
their own objectives.
The bright side is that these networks are having some 
difficulties getting traction among the Iraqi populace.  And the 
networks are being rolled up . the Marines and the Iraqi 
security forces working together have apprehended 27 of 28 named 
targets.  It seems that for now, the fight against the networks 
is being won.  The fight for the trust and acceptance of the 
general Iraqi populace is more difficult . that's still TBD but 
with a cautiously optimistic outlook.
As the President outlined Monday evening in his address at 
the Army War College, building strong Iraqi Security Forces and 
Iraqi governing institutions is job one.  It's been job one for 
our Marines in Al-Anbar.  It's working in Fallujah and Husaybah, 
with a calming effect on the entire province.  
The Iraqi Brigade is manning the checkpoints around 
Fallujah and also patrolling the streets in Fallujah.  The 
Marines are in support, but it's definitely an Iraqi operation.  
The same is true in Husaybah where the Marines are graduating 
certified policemen who are taking over policing in the city.  
By the way, Husaybah is on the Syrian border, and just 
recently the Iraqi Central Government took over from the locals 
the customs functions . one small sign that the country is 
starting to become unified.  
The result of the Marines' actions to empower Iraqis has 
been a decline in the number of attacks against Coalition forces 
(improvised explosive devices, mortar attacks, and the like).  
As the economy expands and local institutions take root, the 
populace should have something to be "for" rather than just 
having to be "against".  We need to be aware, however, that the 
emotions that cause violence continue to lie just under the 
surface.  One telling differentiator will be our success in 
transitioning authority and responsibility to the Iraqis.
I am a novice in the great game of international politics, 
but based on this recent exposure, the objective to transition 
sovereignty to the Iraqis on June 30 certainly appears right on 
target.  The Marines' initial experience is that the Iraqis want 
to have control of their own destiny.  When they do, havoc is 
reduced and hope brightens.  
Having local security forces in Iraq also tends to 
parallel the approach we took in the Department of Homeland 
Security during stand up early last year.  We made the decision 
that security would primarily depend on national and not Federal 
We realized early on that you cannot secure America from 
inside the Beltway but, rather, you need to rely on the 
innovation and expertise of the private sector and local and 
state governments throughout this great nation.  This has 
parallels to the security situation in Iraq.
The transactional alliances I mentioned earlier will be 
attempting to disrupt the 30 June transition.  But, our fine 
Marines are intensely training and supporting the Iraqi security 
forces and will be there to support them after 30 June as 
Let's look beyond Iraq to some global naval operations.  
The Navy is working to promote global security and stability . 
so the United States and its allies can encourage developing 
countries to strengthen their economies as well as to protect 
the safety of their citizens and regional neighbors.

This summer, the Navy will surge some of our aircraft 
carriers from their homeports . to generate  as many as seven of 
12 carriers on station . for Coalition operations with our 
friends around the world.  The ability to push that kind of 
military capability to the four corners of the world is quite 
remarkable and recent.  Several years ago, we could deploy only 
But times have changed and so have we.  Through this 
series of deployments, surge operations and exercises, the Navy 
will demonstrate and exercise our new approach to operations and 

One of the many benefits inherent to navies is their 
ability to deter or dissuade while also being able to promote 
and protect the lifeline of the global economy -- the oceans of 
the world.  And, in time of crisis, the ability to surge our 
carriers gives the President options that do not depend on 
access rights or bases ashore.  Around the world - on call - not 
needing a permission slip - to protect - or dissuade - and 
defeat if necessary - that's what your Navy is all about.
	Since last October, I have had two occasions to join with 
the CNO to host navies from around the world.  At Newport, Rhode 
Island, we had 55 CNO's from other navies plus commandants of 
coast guards and commandants of marine corps.  Several weeks 
ago, we hosted 19 CNO's from the Americas.  These gatherings are 
literally coalitions of the willing, representing navies of the 
world joining together to defeat global terrorism.  
I have found that navies have common bonds that can 
transcend governments.  Navies rely on each other to save ships 
in distress, to thwart piracy, to keep sea lanes and ports open 
for international trade and the like.  These common bonds 
provide a foundation upon which to build and strengthen 
friendships and relationships among nations across the globe.
With the help of Marine General Jim Jones, the Supreme 
Allied Commander in NATO, we are looking to enhance our 
operations in the ungoverned regions of Africa.  The Gulf of 
Guinea, for example, is an area where a Navy presence would 
constitute a strong message.  Security, stability, and 
reconstruction operations are needed in this important region, 
and the U.S., along with our NATO allies, will be there to help. 
Speaking of NATO, did you know that all 26 NATO countries 
are in Afghanistan today advancing security and stability?  
Just a few weeks ago when I caught up with General Jones 
at his headquarters in Belgium, he had just returned from Kabul, 
the capital of Afghanistan, with 26 NATO Ambassadors or their 
deputies.  I salute them all for the measurable progress the 
world is witnessing when a country that once hosted the Taliban 
turns away from constant strife and toward progress for the 
Afghanistan people.
Let me shift gears and speak for a moment about our third 
major initiative in the Department of the Navy - our 
recapitalization plan.  Tomorrow will be a news day.
  	We will announce up to two system design awardees for the 
new Littoral Combat Ship or LCS.  This exciting new ship is 
being designed to operate in the environment where the next 
fight is likely to occur - that's close in to shore where 
shipping lanes merge near the approaches to ports, oil 
terminals, or canals.  The LCS will be built with agility and 
flexibility in mind.  Using a modular concept, these ships can 
be rapidly modified and tailored to the danger at hand.  
This new way of thinking about the kinds of ships we will 
build is part of an emerging concept of operations called Sea 
Basing.  We envision not only the Navy and Marine Corps 
operating from these Sea bases, but the Army, Air Force and 
Coast Guard will use them as well. 
Access without a permission slip is the fundamental 
imperative for this new joint approach. 
Moving on to our 4th initiative, we spend a lot of time 
investing in the right human capital for the future.  Aware that 
the manning needs differ between the Navy and Marine Corps, we 
are working on the Navy side to shape both the size and talent 
base of the future force.  In a measured, balanced and gradual 
way, the number of people in the Navy will get smaller over 
time.  By way of reference, 2000 sailors manned our battleships 
in WWII; today our destroyers and cruisers have 300; and future 
surface combatants will have about 125, and in the case of LCS, 
even less.
We must and will use care in this reshaping effort, always 
mindful of the fact that we are dealing with an all-volunteer 
force of American patriots.  But in this reshaping effort, we 
will never sacrifice our high standards and accountability to 
those standards.  Our Sailors, Chiefs and Officers know they 
must perform in order to stay and serve, particularly our 
Commanding Officers.   When necessary, we relieve Commanding 
Officers whenever moral, ethical or performance standards are 
not met.
As we tailor this force, we increasingly emphasize 
technical expertise and education.  Our new concept of 
operations depends on our technological superiority coupled with 
our most important asset - our people.  
I spoke earlier about our courageous men and women in 
Iraq.  Let me also speak about the new way of doing business 
with our indispensable civilian employees in the Department of 
Defense.  Secretary Rumsfeld has asked me to help with the 
implementation of the new National Security Personnel System or 
The Department didn't initially appreciate the size or 
complexity of the task of changing a personnel system for about 
650,000 people, perhaps the largest redesign ever of a personnel 
 However, this system is hopefully now on track, and we 
are working very diligently to include in the design phase all 
of our constituent groups, including our represented employees, 
our non-represented employees, the Congress, and the Office of 
Personnel Management.  
Our objective is to make this a win-win-win for our 
employees, for the Department of Defense and for the American 
people.  This is an achievable objective and as a step along the 
way, we met yesterday with five highly professional and 
respected union leaders who head unions that are prominently 
represented in our employee ranks.  This program will take 
several years to fully implement.  We have a nominal schedule, 
but we will take whatever time it takes to do it right.
	Finally, we owe it to America to make our business 
practices as efficient as we can.  Our approach is to achieve 
efficiency through greater effectiveness.  For three years, we 
have been examining and redesigning every aspect of our 
organization, always to improve our performance.  Our firm 
belief is that as we improve performance . we reduce costs, and 
so far we are not disappointed.  As I commented earlier, this 
includes our deployments, how we maintain our assets, how we 
train and assign our people.  Nothing is sacred.  
I am pleased to tell you that this constant search for 
improved effectiveness, better efficiency and overall excellence 
is engrained within the organization . and has been embraced by 
the leadership team throughout the Department.  
We have metrics and measures, and we know we have a total 
savings approaching $50 billion dollars, including both direct 
savings and cost avoidance.  Let me say, however, that there are 
still many more opportunities.  What's most important to me is 
being on the right path.  Continuous improvement is the path 
we're on and the one we will pursue.
On Friday, 1,000 new officers will graduate and be 
commissioned at the United States Naval Academy.  Across the 
country, hundreds of others are earning commissions through Navy 
ROTC programs.  These  are the future leaders of our Navy and 
Marine Corps and our Nation.  They are highly motivated and 
committed to serving their country.  
It's appropriate that a new generation begin their careers 
this week as we honor the Greatest Generation on Saturday . at 
the dedication of the WWII Memorial on this special Memorial Day 
Thank you for letting me focus on the bright side of our 
future.  I know you have many questions about very serious 
issues, and I will be honest, forthright and direct in answering 
Let's never forget our men and women in uniform who serve 
throughout the world . those who stand the watch for liberty and 
for freedom . and for our veterans who served before them . and 
for all of their families.
As President Coolidge said after WWI, "The Nation which 
forgets its defenders will itself be forgotten."
God bless them all.
God bless America.

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