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CNO Highlights Navy Opportunities at Engineering Conference

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS080320-11
Release Date: 3/20/2008 3:57:00 PM


By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) Rebekah Blowers, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

ORLANDO, Fla. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead spoke at the 34th Annual Convention of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in Orlando on March 19.

Events such as these give the Navy opportunities to meet with some of the best and brightest black engineering students in the nation while highlighting Navy opportunities and the many talented black engineering officers in the naval service.

"By coming to conventions such as the National Society of Black Engineers we're able to showcase our Navy. We're able to allow young people to see the Navy, envision a future that is very exciting, affords great opportunity for leadership and to pursue engineering and technical skills," Roughead said.

The CNO said this year's conference theme of "Igniting the Torch: Engineering in Action" epitomizes much of what the U.S. Navy and its people do.

"Every day young men and women who wear this uniform, the cloth of our nation, are 'Igniting the Torch' around the world. And they are doing things that many only dream of," Roughead said. "They're diving to the depths of the ocean, they're flying high-performance airplanes, they're operating nuclear reactors on our aircraft carriers and on our submarines. They're doing the most advanced information technology. All of these things are what the Navy is and what it's about, so the theme of this conference is really appropriate."

Roughead explained the vast capabilities of the Navy engineering communities and highlighted their vital role in today's Navy as well as the Navy of the future.

"We have civil engineers and mechanical engineers who are part of our construction battalions. We call them Seabees. The legacy of our Seabees goes back to World War II, but they are everywhere. They are the finest combat engineers in the world. They're in Iraq, Afghanistan, supporting our troops on the ground, but they're also repairing schools in Ghana, on the West Coast of Africa," CNO said. "Our engineering duty officers are managing and leading projects in the billions of dollars and delivering to our Navy the systems of the future: the ships, the airplanes, the submarines, and the communication networks."

Roughead said there are fascinating challenges and opportunities for those who choose to serve in the Navy.

"Cyberspace to me is the new frontier. That's where the next big thing is likely to be and the Navy is at the leading edge of that. We're designing new ships, [such as] the littoral combat ship…We are introducing new technologies at a rate that exceeds anything we have ever introduced in ships before," Roughead said.

CNO praised the conference attendees and pointed out that many of the same traits NSBE values are of great importance to the Navy.

"All of you here are not just about engineering. You are about the future. Your mission and your statement of purpose and the values that you hold as part of this great organization are exactly the values of the United States Navy: to excel academically, to exceed professionally and positively impact the community," Roughead said.

Another element of NSBE's mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers in local and regional communities.

"That is something the Navy also needs and values greatly. Because I believe that the Navy must reflect the face of our nation. When our nation looks at the United States Navy, they should see themselves reflected back," Roughead said. "We can only achieve that with diversity because that is the mirror that will reflect our nation. We have a lot of work to do but as I look at you, and listen to your stories and sense your enthusiasm, your pride and your drive, I have great optimism for the future."

The National Society of Black Engineers is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the academic and professional success of black engineering students and professionals. NSBE is comprised of more than 300 collegiate, 75 professional and 75 pre-college chapters nationwide and overseas.

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