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American Forces Press Service

Roughead Takes Navy's Helm

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2007 – Promising to maintain the Navy's warfighting capability while building for the future and taking care of sailors and their families, Navy Adm. Gary Roughead assumed duties today as the chief of naval operations.

“I’m excited to be the CNO, and I’m honored and humbled and reminded by this setting of the scope and sweep of the task ahead,” Roughead said at a ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard.

Roughead takes over the duties of leading the Navy from Adm. Michael G. Mullen, who was sworn in Oct. 1 as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

At the ceremony, Navy Secretary Donald C. Winter thanked Mullen for his service and noted that Roughead takes charge of the Navy at an especially challenging time. The Navy is engaged in the war effort at an unprecedented level while also preparing for future challenges and building maritime partnerships with nations around the world, Winter said.

“We do not have the gift of clairvoyance; we cannot plan for a future along known paths,” Winter said. “We must be prepared for many future paths, many dangers and many potential threats. And that requires, above all, a long-term perspective and a long-term commitment to building a Navy capable of meeting 21st-century challenges.”

Roughead has the long-term perspective needed to lead the Navy at this time, Winter said. He said he and the admiral agree that America is a maritime nation, that the Navy must modernize its fleet, and that cooperative engagement policy is critical to future national security.

“Admiral Roughead is a man with a long-term, strategic perspective and a long track record as an exceptionally talented leader in challenging positions of responsibility and command at sea and on shore,” Winter said. “He is the right leader to assume command of the Navy during these challenging times, and he takes the helm of an organization of which America is justly proud.”

In accepting his responsibilities, Roughead noted that much has changed since his early days in the Navy, but what hasn’t changed is the importance of American sailors in operations around the world. Sailors now conduct combat operations in the Middle East, partnerships with nations in the Pacific and the Americas, and humanitarian operations, among other things, he said.

“They all represent a new dimension of our Navy, a dimension in which we can all take pride,” he said. “We are truly a ready, an agile, and a global Navy. It’s an exciting time to serve, and I’m proud and eager to lead this Navy. “

The Navy’s role in providing combat-ready forces to the joint force and allies will not change, and is in fact increasing as the military operates more in South America and Africa, he said.

“We live in a changing security environment, and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels and expect to achieve future success,” Roughead said. “Our ships, our submarines, our aircraft, our networks, our weapons systems must stay ahead of potential adversaries.”

As the Navy moves into the future, people are key, Roughead said. The service’s policies must attract, recruit and retain young men and women and be unwavering in the obligation to take care of those who serve, he said.

“All we acquire and all we do is of little worth without the people who give it value,” he said.

The Navy is not alone as it moves forward, Roughead acknowledged. Next week, he and the commandants of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard are attending the 18th International Sea Power Symposium in Newport, R.I., where representatives of more than 100 countries will come together to discuss maritime issues.

“More nations see the need, the imperative for sea power,” he said. “They see that security and prosperity depend on the free flow of commerce on the world’s oceans. They see that one nation does not do it alone. They see that cooperation is better than confrontation.”

Roughead said that he is optimistic about the course the Navy is taking, and he remains inspired by those who serve. “I find promises in the bridges of trust that we are building at sea among those who see a better world because of what we are able to do collectively,” he said. “I look forward to it all.”

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