Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Gary Roughead Addresses Security Forum

Robert Feidler
Director, Defense Education Forum

The Defense Education Forum (DEF) has partnered with Army Navy Country Club of Arlington, Virginia in sponsoring a speaker series entitled the National Security Forum. Our first speaker was the National Security Adviser, General James Jones (Ret). Our second speaker was Admiral Gary Roughead, Chief of Naval Operations, who spoke and took questions April 28.

Key points made by the Admiral included:

- The Navy has a strategic value that makes it a relevant, busy, factor throughout the world
- There are more sailors on land (“sand sailors”) in the Middle East than on ships (13,000 vs. 10,000)
- SEALS, EOD, and Construction Battalions have a high operations tempo. One SEAL the Admiral recently spoke with was on his 19th deployment.
- Reserve forces are doing a great job and are fully integrated into activities as augmentees especially at headquarters, logistics, intelligence and with Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT)
- Dissatisfied with the byzantine pay/personnel system differences between AC and RC, he mandated that processes regarding transition between the AC and RC be reviewed and shortened. The goal is to make processes that took four months to accomplish be done in the future within 72 hours! They are now down to eight days on average.
- Many of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRT) are headed by Navy personnel – he recounted the story of meeting a PRT team leader high up on a mountain in Afghanistan. The team leader was a submariner but having a great time leading the PRT.
- Nearly half the close air support in Afghanistan is provided by the Navy
- The Somali pirate issue is a challenge given the enormous amount of ocean that must be covered – four times the size the of Texas
- Women will be serving on subs by the fall of 2011, assigned to the boomers where there is more space/privacy
- Cost and related personnel issues drive many decisions especially when it comes to various nuclear personnel
- A cyber “fleet” has been established
- A study is under way regarding attitudes towards homosexuals in the Navy that will drive future decisions
- N2 and N6 (Intel and C&C) were combined to gather and move around information

The Admiral also responded to a series of questions related to China, Taiwan, and Africa that reflected our engagement and growing cooperation with these entities.

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