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CNO Says Future Navy is Right Navy

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050325-11
Release Date: 3/25/2005 4:31:00 PM

By From CNO Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Today's Navy is creating the right Navy for the future and the country, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark told military and industry leaders at the annual Navy League of the United States Sea-Air-Space Exposition luncheon held March 24 at the Washington D.C. Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

"Ensuring Global Access," the theme for this year's Sea-Air-Space Exposition, is the key to the effectiveness of the Navy's sea basing efforts for projecting power ashore from the maritime domain. "In it's simplest terms, anything that floats on, under or is in the air operated from our area is the sea base, and the sea base is all about our ability to exploit our advantage of maneuver space," Clark explained.

Comparing notes with his speech at the same event four years earlier, Clark told the audience the Navy is heading in the right direction. Reviewing his 2001 address, he had said then, "I've never been involved in a joint operation where access was not an issue. Anyone contending with the United States in the future has to think about anti-access. It's a serious challenge for the United States military, but the Navy has some things going for it."

Clark said the Navy has learned a great deal in the past four years from the lessons of USS Cole (DDG 67), 9-11, Operation Enduring Freedom and ongoing Operation Iraqi Freedom. "What we've come to believe about this access issue is that exploiting our strengths, our advantages in the maritime domain is more important than ever before."

"Four years ago we hadn't conceived of a Fleet Response Plan... we didn't talk about the ability to surge," Clark said. Mentioning programs like LCS, DD(X), MPF(F) and LHA(R) he said, "This Navy, the Navy that we are building today, is being built from the keel up to provide this nation with assured access. I believe that the future Navy, the Navy that we are creating today, is the right Navy for the United States of America."

A key topic throughout the three-day event was the Navy's 30-year shipbuilding plan recently submitted to Congress. "What we do needs to be good for the Sailor and for the taxpayer," he said. "We have learned in the past four years that there is a way to create much more operational availability and capability for the investment that the taxpayers have already made to their Navy."

Clark explained why the Navy no longer needs 375 ships, and what will determine fleet size within the 260 to 325-ship future Navy. "Sea Swap and the Fleet Response Plan have changed our Navy," he said. "We have literally bought much more operational availability with these concepts, so we can provide the same kind of combat capability for less than 375 (ships)," he said.

A smaller, more advanced Navy will be committed to the growth and development of Sailors and civilians who put the Navy's high-tech capabilities to work for the nation through a 21st century Human Capital Strategy. Speaking to industry leaders in the audience, he said that though they create the most "incredible technology" ever, " won't be of any value if we don't have the young men and women, active and reserve, government civilians and the contracting structure who make it possible for us to have the Navy we dream about."

"When I came here five years ago we were recruiting 57,000 people. This year the number is 37,000," CNO said. "Something remarkable has happened in our Navy. What has happened is the environment has changed in our Navy. Our young people understand that we made a commitment to them, that we are going to commit ourselves and this institution to their growth and development and give them a chance to make a difference for America. And they are responding to it."

Speaking at the exposition for the fifth time during his tenure as CNO, Clark thanked the Navy League and national president Sheila M. McNeill for their continuing support. "Our Sailors, and for that matter our Marines, Airman, Soldiers and Coast Guard are watching the way Americans are responding to their labors representing this country in the far corners of this earth," he said. "Your message is unequivocal. Your message has sent them a clear indication that you support and believe in the sons and daughters of America."

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