16 August 2012

This is Our Time

When I started my tenure as a Flag Officer nearly twelve years ago (December 2000), it was a very different period for our Navy and our nation. USS COLE had been attacked two months prior (and would ultimately change the way our Navy trains and conducts ATFP), but we were still nine months away from one of the most significant events in our nation’s history – the 9/11 attacks.

The attacks on 9/11, and the ensuing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, required our Navy to rapidly adapt and bring new capabilities to a new fight in a new environment. Consequently, over the last decade we’ve developed new Irregular Warfare capabilities, reestablished our Riverine forces, and supported the land campaign in every way possible (including deploying our Sailors into combat ashore as Individual Augmentees alongside their Marine and Army counterparts). And we’ve done it all while executing our “conventional” missions (SSBN patrols, BMD, Carrier Ops, etc.) and developing the next generation of the Navy’s warships and aircraft. While our deployments and missions over the last decade have been heavily influenced by the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the fundamental purpose of our Navy – to project power and influence from the sea – and our Title X responsibilities have not changed.

As we begin to wind down from the war in Afghanistan and continue the strategic rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, we must be ready for a sustained, long-term global effort. This renewed focus on the Asia-Pacific does not absolve us of our responsibilities in other parts of the world and it certainly does not mean our enemies will stop trying to harm us simply because we have other work to do. Like it or not, the world is (and will continue to be) a volatile and violent place in which new threats to our national security emerge every day. And, like it or not, our Navy is the answer to these challenges. Whether it’s the violence in Syria that threatens the stability of the Eastern Med, Iran’s continued march toward developing nuclear weapons, or ensuring free and open access to the various choke points at sea that are absolutely critical for our nation’s commerce, our Navy is on station (24x7) and ready to protect our national interests.

And that’s why we must be ready. All of the initiatives on which we’ve worked so hard the past three years – raising the bar on our pre-deployment training for our CSGs, ARG-MEUs and independent deployers, revitalizing the Navy-Marine Corps relationship (and getting back to our core Naval roots!), reinvigorating and funding the programs to ensure our ships reach expected service life, increasing and improving waterfront training, and putting our Sailors back on ships – are absolutely critical for our Sailors and ships to meet the demands of our future. Because if history is any indication of the future, our Navy will be at the forefront of our nation's response to these challenges and it will be our Sailors and ships that will carry the might and mission of the United States forward. I believe we are indeed entering a uniquely Naval-oriented era.

While we certainly can’t predict where and when the next event will occur, we must be absolutely ready to respond because I can assure you we will be called. If you wear our uniform today, you must be ready mentally and physically, for this is our time…this is your time.
All the best, JCHjr


David Marquet said...

Well said. Sometimes the understanding that we can't predict everything opens up the door for the billiance of resilient responses.

FLTCM (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens said...


I am Fleet Master Chief Mike Stevens, I have asked ADM Harvey to allow me to respond to your blog entry. The blog administrator did not publish your comment in the open domain to protect your identity.

First let me tell you how much I appreciate your service and dedication. I have often said that ABE's are one of the hardest working rates in the Navy. Your brother is correct being an expert in your field is a top priority. However, many times throughout your career you will be required to multi task, be it in qualifications or work related areas. I read your post carefully and recognized that you accept responsibility for not yet obtaining your warfare qualification, that shows that you are mature and responsible. The best advice I can give you is to not let your surrounding situation distract you from obtaining your warfare qualification (air first). The best way to look at it is, if you complete this qualification "correctly" it will make you an all-around better Sailor. The requirement to obtain the warfare qualification in your commands primary mission is not going away, so the best thing to do is "get after it." Again, thank you for all you are doing and hopefully someday I will have the opportunity to meet you and congratulate you on receiving your air pin.

v/r, FLTCM (AW/NAC) Mike Stevens

Anonymous said...

Fleet Master Chief, wow, thank you for taking time to write to me, I saw the Navy Times, you must be swamped getting ready to move up the ladder, so I really appreciate the time you took here to respond. It's easy to get discouraged when you feel you're doing right, but others discredit your efforts, but you're right, whether I feel my COC's qual priorities are correct, none of that changes the fact that it needs to get done because it needs to get done. Someday I'll have this conversation with a junior Sailor and i'll remember your words. I'll get my Air, and then my Surface, and when it's done, I hope you're still in the Navy neighborhood, because you just might see a request for you to pin me! Can't wait to tell my Brother the Fleet Master Chief wrote me! Thanks again Fleet. VR/ABE2

Anonymous said...


As usual, your sage advice is well-received and exactly on point. I would even go so far as to say that "WE" also includes each and every employee of the DON, DoD, and Federal government.

Our vigilance, even though the focus of the Navy's efforts appears to be in the Pacific Rim and farther does NOT excuse us from watching each other's backs and keeping a wary eye on unusual events that don't seem to quite add up under the circumstances.

Thank you for your words of wisdom. To use the lexicon of the day, "You rock, sir."

Very respectfully,