Navy Must Fulfill Maritime Responsibilities to Nation, Admiral Says

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John M. Richardson outlined his vision of the Navy the nation needs to fulfill its maritime responsibilities based on the national defense strategy during a discussion at the Heritage Foundation here today.

“We’re going to compete, we’re going to deter and we’re going to win centered on three major lines of effort,” Richardson said.

Those lines of effort, he said, include building a more lethal force, continuing to strengthen the nation’s alliances, and reforming the Defense Department in how it does business.

Balanced Strategic Approach

Given the challenges and threats the nation faces today, a balanced strategic approach is more important than ever, the admiral said.

“Our priorities have been very clearly defined by the national security strategy, which directs us to protect America, preserve peace through strength, and advance American influence throughout the world,” he said.

“And the national defense strategy describes the imperative for confronting these challenges head-on. We’re going to compete, we’re going to deter and we’re going to win — centered on the three major lines of effort,” Richardson said.

The admiral said numerous studies have concluded the Navy needs more naval power to meet its responsibilities to the nation.

He outlined the nucleus of a more powerful Navy in six “dimensions:” a fleet that is bigger, better, networked, more talented, more agile and ready.

Yet, a negative situation the Navy must contend with is operating under continuing resolutions, he said.

Budgetary Constraints

“During the last 18 months we’ve operated five months with an active budget; the rest of the time [has been] spent on continuing resolutions,” Richardson said. “Currently, we have no top line and [have had] a government shutdown. This type of dynamism [negatively] impacts strategic planning, degrades the industrial base and has a strategic effect on not only the Navy the nation needs, but the national security that we need.”

Most importantly, he added, these constraints squander the most precious resource, which is time.

“We’re spending time managing through this churn rather than getting on with the strategic direction we need to maintain,” the admiral said.

“So let there be no doubt: In times of triumph, times of turbulence, rough seas and calm seas, our Navy is operating around the world to secure our interests, protect America from attack, protect our prosperity [and] our influence around the world [and] ensure our way of life,” Richardson said. “We hope that by virtue of this construct, we will build the Navy the nation needs: a safe Navy for our sailors, a reassuring Navy for our partners and a lethal Navy for our enemies.”

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk @MoonCronkDoD)