Conversation with a Shipmate: USS Carl Vinson


On this episode of “Conversation with a Shipmate,” myself and MCPON Stevens hold a discussion aboard the USS Carl Vinson, talking about the things that matter to Sailors- Sailors who are out operating where it matters, when it matters around the world. On the docket for this installment: Flame Retardant Coverall rollout, F-35 development and the recent Position Report. It was a pleasure to spend some time with our people who will stand the watch this holiday season.

Flame Resistant Coveralls


Future of Naval Aviation





Posted in Be Ready, Budget, Flame Resistant Coveralls, History, Operate Forward, Quality of Service, Sailors, The Three Tenets, Uniforms | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Happy 239th Birthday Marine Corps

141110_MarinesBDay-REVISED-V2Congratulations to the men and women of the United States Marine Corps as
you celebrate your 239th Birthday on 10 November 2014.

Over the last 239 years, Marines and Sailors have served together as Shipmates through countless missions around the world. Together, the Navy-Marine Corps Team has formed an integrated and cohesive team, the mightiest sea-going force the world has ever known.

The men and women of the United States Navy are proud to serve with the United States Marine Corps. You have always been ready to provide power projection from the sea as we successfully fulfill the mandate to be where it matters, when it matters. Happy 239th Birthday to you and your Families!

Semper Fidelis.



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Conversation with a Shipmate: Cyber Security and Warfighting


Recently I visited Navy Cyber Forces Command in the Hampton Roads area. After holding a great All Hands Call with our cyber warriors and reenlisting some motivated Sailors, I sat down with two Shipmates to discuss what our cyber forces do and why their mission is important. In this episode of “Conversation with a Shipmate,” we discuss cyber security and warfighting. 

Understanding Cyber
All of us, not just cyber warriors, need to understand the role that cyber security plays in our everyday operations.


Electromagnetic Spectrum
The Electromagnetic spectrum is also a hot issue for our Navy, and the exploration of that focus area goes hand in hand with what we’re doing on the cyber warfront.



Warfighting on the Sea and in Cyberspace
The Navy is has an inherent and unique need to combat cyber threats. Our resources, ships and bases around the world are connected by the very networks our cyber warriors defend.


I am proud of the Sailors and Civilians and their successes in the Cyber domain. I want thank these Shipmates who are doing real-world operations. These warfighters are keeping us, and our networks, safe.

Watch the entire “Conversation with a Shipmate,” here on or on YouTube.


Admiral, U.S. Navy

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239th Navy Birthday: Thanking our Supporters

Happy 239th Birthday Navy! On October 13th, it is important that we reflect on who we are and where we started. It is a day which marks the cornerstone of our proud service beginnings.

As you operate forward, and stand the watch around the globe, you embody the characteristics of the patriots that went before us. Our greatest traditions live within the foundation of their courage and perseverance. On this day, we pause and remember the proud heritage and service of previous Shipmates. Likewise, we will always remember those veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice for our Navy and our Nation.

This year, our Birthday theme is “thanking those who support us.” Our families, friends, communities, industry, and organizations have helped support us and we owe a debt of gratitude. Our success as individuals and as a Navy is achieved with them at our side. We could not execute our mission at a high level without their unwavering support.

Moving forward, we will continue to use the three tenets: Warfighting First, Operate Forward, Be Ready. We will be ready today, while also building the Navy to win tomorrow. From  13 October 1775 until today, history has proven time and again that a powerful Navy is vital to ensuring the prosperity of our economy and the safety of our citizens. This is the legacy we celebrate today. Happy Birthday, Shipmates!


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Memorial Day Message: Your American Sailor


Recently, my wife, Darleen, and I welcomed the members of the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard to our home at the Washington Navy Yard for a barbecue. It was a pleasant event not unlike the Memorial Day observances many Americans will host at their homes. The evening was warm and pleasant as we greeted the Sailors who were lined up to eat. As with most shipmates I have the pleasure to meet, I asked their names and where they were from. Amazingly, almost every state and territory was represented in this group, and some of the Sailors were fresh from boot camp.

Each member of the Ceremonial Guard is offered the opportunity to join the special unit in his or her earliest days of Recruit Training Command. In addition to the 10 weeks of regimented boot camp training, these young Sailors elect to undergo years of strict drill practices and meticulous uniform inspections. They become carriers of the colors in an array of ceremonies and body bearers in Arlington National Cemetery, representing our Navy in the most joyous of celebrations and paying respects at our nation’s most solemn occasions. After two years at the Ceremonial Guard, these Sailors proceed to the Navy fleet, to face danger and different challenges far from within the Beltway of Washington, D.C.

I was struck with awe as each of these sharp young Sailors stepped up to shake my hand. These diverse, young and vibrant Americans were so enthusiastic to meet me; little did they know I was humbled to meet each and every one of them. So many of these Sailors were excited to serve our Navy. I’m so inspired and grateful for these brave Americans. They are truly representative of our organization; they come from different places and backgrounds to serve a common cause, the defense of our great nation.

On that day and every day, when I look upon the faces of our service members I see more than a brave and proud American Sailor. Each service member is representative of a link in a much larger chain. I see a chain of service that spans the history of our nation. In these young people I see the 324,179 individuals who man the 289 ships of our fleet. They are the product of 201,000 Navy Civilians who work on the logistics, planning, design, building and accounting that enable our Sailors to complete their missions. Behind each American Sailor are numerous family members, friends, mentors and communities that support them. When I meet our most junior Sailors, I’m assured of the strength of our nation: the citizens willing to take up the cloth of our nation at great personal cost.

Arlington National Cemetary.  Helicopter Squadron 2 (HS-2)  Lt. Dennis Peterson of Huntington Park, Calif.; Ensign Donald Frye of Los Angeles; and Aviation Antisubmarine Warfare Technicians William Jackson of Stockdale, Texas, and Donald McGrane of Waverly, Iowa, went missing on July 19, 1967,after their SH-3A Sea King helicopter was shot down over North Vietnam’s Ha Nam Province Sailors.

This Memorial Day, we’ll remember the fallen, those brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. I would ask that you not only mourn for their loss but also recognize and remember the families who sacrifice and support our Navy and Marine Corps. Communities such as those surrounding our nation’s capital house and support our service members, and make them feel appreciated when they’re far from home. It takes the care of an entire community to create a Sailor; this same community ensures the lasting memory of our fallen remains alive. I have the benefit of witnessing this strength of courage and resolve as I travel across the globe and meet with the men and women who support our Navy.

This Memorial Day, I am grateful to the families and communities who have given so much to ensure the security, safety and future of our nation. As the Navy will never let go of the significance of our mandate of “forward presence,” let us always be mindful of the notion that with dedication of service to be where it matters, when it matters around the world also comes sacrifice. We honor this sacrifice today.



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Focus on Ethics


Recent allegations of ethical failure and cheating on tests in some of our military units must serve to remind us that, although the vast majority of our Sailors live our navy ethos and core values, we must always remain vigilant to the potential to make mistakes. This is particularly critical when it comes to integrity.  A failure of integrity undermines a unit’s trust.  As Sailors our very survival is founded on trust – it is the core of our success at sea – and has been for centuries.

In response to these recent incidents and the order by Secretary of Defense to conduct two reviews I felt it important to provide my initial thoughts in these three video clips:

1.    What is the Secretary of Defense review going to look at?

“Secretary of Defense has directed two reviews. These internal reviews will conduct examinations of our nuclear enterprise. The reviews will also look at how as an organization we impart values of character and integrity to our personnel.”

2.    Do you feel we have an ethics problem across and throughout our Navy?

“I don’t think we have an ethics problem across the Navy. But I think we need to reinforce our core values and our core commitment to that…  Integrity is the foundation of what we’re about.  We need to talk about that – it needs to be part of our training program. I’m not just talking about General Military Training, we need to talk about it in the ready rooms, we need to talk about it on the bridge of our ships, we need to talk about it on our squadron flight lines, in the hangar bay and in our bilges…


3.    What do you expect from us?

“I expect honor, courage and commitment – commitment to the institution.  We have to have the honor to not lie cheat or steal.  We have to have the courage to not stand for those who do. We need to talk about it and I charge our leaders to talk about what our values mean because they are the foundation of what we’re about.’

Thanks for listening – I am proud to lead the hundreds of thousands of professional Sailors and Civilians who serve today, and embrace the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Whether you are on duty ashore, in the engineering spaces, on the bridge, in a ready room or hangar bay, I will continue to demand absolute integrity in all that we do; and, I will expect that you demand the same. See you in Fleet and I look forward to continuing the dialogue on this important issue. It is the foundation of what our Navy is about.


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Quality of Service: Striking the Right Balance


The Navy’s mandate is to be where it matters and be ready when it matters. We can only do this because of you. We have the finest Navy in the world because of the quality and dedication of our Sailors and Civilians— the men and women who pledge to support and defend the Constitution and carry out Navy’s mission. To remain the finest Navy in the world, we must provide a “Quality of Service” balancing your compensation and working environment needs and goals.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Abe McNatt/ReleasedLast year marked the 40th anniversary of our All Volunteer Force. In 1973, we eliminated the draft, fundamentally changing how we recruit and retain our force. In the following decades we improved pay and benefits like housing allowances, childcare and education opportunities to attract and retain a quality force. We focused on “Quality of Life” factors: pay, leave, education opportunities, time at home, access to quality health care, and a sense of financial security. Today, through a myriad of sources, we find, in general, our Sailors and Families are pleased with their overall Quality of Life. But this is not the whole story.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Karl Anderson/ReleasedYour “Quality of Work,” in other words job satisfaction, work enjoyment and a sense of pride in your accomplishments, also matter. Quality of Work means we have to provide you the resources and time to train, as well as enough manpower and the right leadership to get the mission done. Quality of Work means having the proper tools to do maintenance as well as access to shipyards and depots for scheduled overhauls. We all want to succeed– pass the inspection, demonstrate warfighting prowess, deploy and, ultimately, execute the mission for which we prepared so rigorously. This is not about putting platforms, materiel readiness and technology above our people; it’s about balance and ensuring our people have the right tools, the best technology and quality training to do their job. Our success also depends on Quality of Work.

Recently, we’ve made tough choices as Navy’s budget decreased. Last fiscal year, we canceled five deployments, did not procure numerous weapons, were forced to furlough Civilians and deferred important facility renovations and modernization plans. We will continue to look at all areas to help control costs and balance our overall budget so we can continue to meet our Nation’s needs. In doing so, we know we must strike the right balance between Quality of Life and Quality of Work to achieve your best Quality of Service.

I owe it to our Navy (and our Country) to man, train and equip our Sailors and Civilians so they can get the job done safely, confidently and effectively. You joined the Navy to make a difference for yourself, your family and your Country; you deserve a Quality of Service that attracts, develops, compensates and retains a highly skilled force. We will continue our missions with ready Sailors, Civilians and their Families who remain the source of the Navy’s warfighting capability. We will continue an over two-century tradition of warfighting excellence, adaptation and resilience. Above all, our actions will continue to be guided by our commitment to the Nation and to each other as part of one Navy team.


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CNO’s 2014 Message to the Fleet

Happy New Year Shipmates!

Twenty-thirteen was a year of challenges, but it was a year of a lot of successes and you made those successes possible. And that’s why I’m looking forward to 2014. We’re going to be just fine.

Now, our Navigation Plan is going to be our guide for 2014. And my resolution is stay on course. Our three tenets will guide us through the year.

Warfighting First. We will bring you the capability and technology to get the job done.

Operate Forward. We’re going to continue that Asia-Pacific rebalance, but we’ll maintain the course and speed – if you will – in the Middle East.

And Be Ready. We’ll bring you the training that you need while at the same time getting away from those degraders from our readiness such as sexual assault or substance abuse.

Throughout it all though, you are our asymmetric advantage. I need you to take care of each other. Look out for each other. And be safe. I want you back at work after the holiday period. And be fit – physically, mentally and morally.

In this 2014, we’re going to be where it matters, when it matters. You will be the difference. I’ll see you out there in the Fleet. Happy New Year!

What is your New Year’s resolution?


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Women in Subs: A Sharper Warfighting Edge


At All Hands Calls I often get asked about the integration of women into the submarine force. Sailors, male and female alike, are curious about the progress we’ve made and what’s next for women in submarines.

Integrating women into submarines is one of many ways we ensure our warfighting edge.   In my Sailing Directions, I discuss how our Sailors and Navy Civilians give us an asymmetric advantage in our warfighting capability.  When we draw upon the widest possible set of talents, skills, and backgrounds it becomes a source of our strength, both as a nation and a Navy. Attracting and retaining the best talent America has to offer requires us to ensure that every Sailor has an equal opportunity to develop his or her talent to their fullest potential.

It has been over two years since the first women stepped aboard their first boats.  Today, 46 women Officers (12 Supply Officers and 34 Unrestricted Line Officers) are serving aboard six SSBN crews and six SSGN crews. This January USS MICHIGAN (SSGN 727) will become the 7th submarine to have integrated wardrooms.  We are also expanding the class of submarines women will serve in.

Starting in 2015, women officers will have the opportunity to serve aboard Virginia-class attack submarines.  USS Virginia (SSN 774) and USS Minnesota (SSN 783) will serve as the first attack submarines with women officers.

sub 4Per the Secretary of Navy’s guidance, we have taken the first steps to integrate Enlisted women into the submarine force.  If practical, we will do this in 2016.  Last May, the Enlisted Women in Submarines Task Force began planning how to integrate Enlisted women into the submarine service.  This plan will involve a number of factors.  First, we are applying the lessons learned from previous gender integration initiatives. Lessons gathered from the integration of women officers in submarines, and lessons from when women integrated into surface ships.  One lesson we learned from that period is to ensure we have the right leadership in place at the right levels.  We’ve started with Officers and will follow with Chiefs before assigning junior Enlisted women to submarines. In addition, we need a strong cohort of prospective Sailors reporting aboard, and we also need to consider the time it takes to access and train a submariner.  To ensure the best outcome, we will survey the fleet and potential recruits to gauge interest and expectations about serving aboard submarines.  Remember, everyone in the submarine force is a volunteer.

Beyond the personnel considerations, physical factors of ship configuration have to be taken into account. Different classes of submarines require varying levels of modification to ensure appropriate berthing habitability and privacy for all crewmembers.  For example, while the wardroom and stateroom area of a Trident submarine will accommodate women officers with minor modifications, the same is not true for crew berthing which are constrained by physical limitations.  As we build new submarines, gender-neutral berthing will be built into the design.

All these factors, combined with a motivated force, will provide a deliberate way to successfully integrate women Sailors into submarines.  What we do— whether on ships, aircraft or ashore— requires a great deal of skill, knowledge, personal discipline and teamwork.  When our team draws on the talent, dedication and skills of all our Sailors we will remain the finest Navy in the world.


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SASC Budget & Sequestration Hearing


               This morning I testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) on our budget plan for 2014 and the continuing effects of sequestration. The following is my opening statement:

Chairman Levin, Senator Inhofe, and distinguished members of the committee thank you for the opportunity to testify on the short and long term effects of sequestration, and our perspective on the Strategic Choices And Management Review. This morning I will address two main points: Our budget situation and plan for FY14, and near & long-term impacts of sequestration.

Mr. Chairman, presence- that remains the mandate of our Navy.  We have to operate forward where it matters, and be ready when it matters. And we have to be able to respond to contingencies.   Recent events this year alone have clearly demonstrated our ability to do that – Navy assets were on station within a few days, wherever needed, and offered options to the president when the situation in North Korea, Egypt and Syria dictated. This ability to be present reassures our allies, and ensures that U.S. interests around the world are properly served.


In fiscal year 2014, sequestration will further reduce our readiness and surely reduce our ship and aircraft investment.  The Budget Control Act revised discretionary caps will preclude our ability to execute the 2012 defense strategic guidance in both the near term and the long term. Restrictions associated with a continuing resolution preclude transferring funds across programs, increasing needed program quantities and starting important new programs.

The impacts of sequestration will be realized in 2 main categories: readiness and investment.

There are several operational impacts, but the most concerning to me is that the reductions in operations and maintenance will result in only 1 non-deployed carrier strike group and 1 amphibious ready group trained and ready for contingency response.  Our covenant with the combatant commanders is to have at least 2 CSG and 2 ARG deployed, and another three of each in or around the continental United States, ready to respond to a crisis on short notice. So, for example, right now we have one CSG deployed in both the Arabian Gulf and Western Pacific, and our one response CSG, Nimitz, is in the Eastern Mediterranean. Consequently, because of fiscal limitations we do not currently have another CSG trained and ready to respond on short notice in case of a contingency. We’re tapped out.

We will be forced to cancel aircraft and ship maintenance.  This will inevitably lead to reduced life of our ships and aircraft.

Ashore, we will conduct only safety-essential renovation of facilities, further increasing the large backlog in that area.  We will be compelled to keep a hiring freeze in place for most Civilian positions that will further degrade the distribution of skill, experience and balance in our Civilian force, which is so critical.

We will not be able to use prior-year funds to mitigate sequestration cuts in our investment accounts, as we did in FY 2013.

Without congressional action, we will be required to cancel planned procurement of a Virginia-class submarine, a littoral combat ship, and an afloat forward staging base (ship).  And, we will be forced to delay the delivery of the next aircraft carrier, the Ford, and delay the mid-life overhaul of the aircraft carrier George Washington. 

Also, we will cancel procurement of at least 11 tactical aircraft.

Mr. Chairman, the key to a balanced portfolio is a spending bill, and secondarily the option to propose (to congress) the transfer of money between accounts.  This would at least enable us to pursue innovative acquisition approaches, start new projects, increase production quantities, and complete ships we have under construction.

Just to meet minimal readiness needs, we need to transfer/reprogram about $1 billion into the Operations and Maintenance account and $1 billion into our procurement accounts, mostly for shipbuilding. We need to do this by January. 


After the SCMR was completed, our focus has been on crafting a balanced portfolio of programs within the fiscal guidance provided.

Further details of this are outlined in detail in my written statement which I request be entered for the record.

In summary, we will maintain a credible and modern sea-based strategic deterrent, maximize forward presence to the extent we can using ready  deployed forces, and continue investing in asymmetric capabilities while, with the committee’s help, we’ll do our best to sustain a relevant industrial base.

However, there are several missions and needed capabilities, specified in the defense strategic guidance, that we cannot perform or keep on pace. These are detailed in my written statement.

Applying one fiscal and programmatic scenario, we would result in a fleet of about 255 ships in 2020, that’s about 30 less than today, about 40 less than planned in our PB-14 submission and 51 less than our force structure assessment – 306 ships.


Mr. Chairman, I understand the pressing need for our nation to get its fiscal house in order.  I am “on board” in that endeavor, but it is imperative we do so in a thoughtful manner to ensure we sustain appropriate warfighting capability, appropriate forward presence, and be ready – the attributes we depend on from our Navy. 

I look forward to working with the Congress to find solutions that will ensure our Navy retains the ability to organize, train, and equip these great Sailors, Civilians and their families in defense of our nation.  Thank you.


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