My first blog… I just left Bahrain and am heading back to D.C. after my first trip as your Chief of Naval Operations – and I can’t tell you enough how proud I am to be leading your Navy.
Nothing is as motivating for me as seeing you in action in the fleet. Watching flight operations on John C. Stennis as we prepared to go through the Strait of Hormuz reminded me how important your work is to defending our nation.
At each stop on this trip – in Japan, Korea, Bahrain and on Stennis – MCPON and I talked with Sailors and their leaders. In particular, I introduced some key priorities and tenets that I will focus on as CNO. I call them my Sailing Directions.
First the priorities. These are the three main jobs of every CNO:
Number one, we’ve got to be ready to meet current challenges, today. What we are asked to do, we have to do well – today, tomorrow or the next day. We need to understand what being “hollow” is and work to prevent it through manning, maintenance, equipping and training.
Priority two is we need to build a relevant and capable future fleet. We have to build the right ships, aircraft and submarines at the right cost. That’s our job. And we will have to balance this investment with funding the readiness we need for today’s challenges. That’s my job.
Priority three, we’ve got to develop and support Sailors, Civilians and Navy families. We need to nurture a future force that, in my view, is motivated and really wants to do the job. We need a force that is relevant with the right skills and is masterfully trained. We’ve got to draw upon the diverse experience and background of our people.
Those are three things every CNO needs to do. Now let me talk about how I plan to approach these priorities. That brings us to my three tenets, which I think of as lenses I apply to every decision.
The first tenet is Warfighting first. Because that’s what we’ve got to do – fight and win. That’s our craft. We should view each policy and investment through that lens and see if it really helps us to fight better.
Tenet two is Operate forward. We are at our best when we are out and about and able to provide off-shore options to the President. That’s what we’ve been doing for more than 230 years and that’s what we will continue to do in the future.
The third tenet is we’ve got to be ready. The Navy is out there for rapid response and action around the world. Readiness costs money, though, and we’ll have to make tough decisions in the coming months about where we will deploy and for how long.
So those are the three tenets. Warfighting first, operate forward, and be ready. Those are the lenses through which we need to evaluate our decisions.
We are heading into some rough seas from a budget perspective, but we’ve dealt with similar situations before. I am confident we can stay on course, take care of the crew and ride out the weather if we keep our gyro aligned to what’s important.
I will continue to use this blog as a way to let you know what I think in what will be a very interesting time for our nation and our Navy. I look forward to hearing from you as well.
JONATHAN W. GREENERT
Admiral, U.S. Navy