Defense Issues: Volume 12, Number 44-- Navy Reshapes Response for Security Environment
Thank you. ... I am delighted to be here today to speak to the key civic and business leaders of Seattle. Our Navy has a truly warm and hospitable home here in the Pacific Northwest. ...
The Puget Sound area represents the third largest concentration of our fleet assets. In fact, the Navy is second only to the Boeing Corp. in terms of employment. This is truly a key region for our Navy-Marine Corps team, and as secretary of the Navy, I am pleased that our sailors benefit from such terrific hosts.
Meeting with community leaders and Navy supporters is one of the high points of my service as secretary. And it is a big part of the reason why I think -- why I indeed know -- that I have the best job in Washington.
Being here in America's coffee capital, I am reminded of one of my predecessors, Josephus Daniels. ...
Our Navy had different traditions before Josephus Daniels was its secretary, and before I begin, I would like to take a moment to pass on a story about our Navy's oldest warship, USS Constitution -- which you may have seen in the news lately, as she sailed under her own power two weeks ago for the first time in 116 years.
The following is an account of USS Constitution's famous war cruise during the War of 1812. In August, Constitution set sail from Boston with 475 officers and men -- about the same complement as one of our Aegis cruisers today -- and the following supplies: 48,000 gallons of fresh water, 7,400 cannon shot, 11,000 pounds of black powder and 79,400 gallons of rum.
Upon arriving in Jamaica on Oct. 6, she took on 826 pounds of flour and 69,300 gallons of rum.
She then headed for the Azores, where she took on 550 tons of beef and 64,000 gallons of Portuguese wine.
On Nov. 13, she set sail for England. In the ensuing days, she defeated five British men of war and sank 12 British merchant ships, salvaging only their rum.
By Jan. 27, her powder and shot were exhausted. Nonetheless, she made a raid on the Firth of Clyde. Her landing party captured a whisky distillery and transferred 40,000 gallons of scotch aboard. She then headed home.
Constitution made port at Boston Harbor on the 23rd of February with no cannon shot, no powder, no food, no rum, no whiskey, no wine -- but with 48,000 gallons of stagnant water. And that is a true story!
I am happy to report that we still have spirits at sea -- today's spirit can be found in our Navy-Marine Corps team. And I am proud to say that we have kept the traditions of valor and heroism alive and well in the Navy and Marine Corps for over 200 years.
"Old Ironsides," as she was known, never lost a battle. She stands out as a premier example of America's commitment to exploit the latest technologies available for its Navy and Marine Corps. That is still the case today.
Two weeks ago, in the same weekend that Constitution sailed proudly in Massachusetts Bay, our Navy commissioned its newest warship, USS Seawolf. The Seawolf submarine is the world's fastest, quietest and most advanced vessel of its kind. And it will be employed to stealthily patrol the undersea environment all around the world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Rim.
Seawolf is a premier example of the technology of our Navy at sea with the best force of trained people at the controls. That is important because today we face a complex security environment. That is why I want to describe to you how America's naval service is equipped, now and for the future, to face that challenging environment, where the only constant is the need for readiness.
On the international security front, there are immediate crises with which we must deal from Korea to Bosnia, Haiti to Iraq. And I am proud to report that from A to Z -- from Albania to the former Zaire -- and everywhere in between, the United States Navy-Marine Corps team does it all. And we are doing it at a surprising rate. In fact, compared with the period before 1990, our sea services have been called upon at a rate three times greater. On the average of once every five weeks!
This degree of action does not come without a price, and it makes our commitment to readiness that much more difficult. Nonetheless, our goal remains total readiness for today and preparation for the contingencies of tomorrow.
In terms of the politics of the security environment, I am encouraged by the emergence of new democracies and freely elected governments willing to take part in the global marketplace and contribute to collective security, especially those nations in your backyard -- the Pacific Rim. This undercurrent of transoceanic and transcontinental cooperation is taking all shapes and forms. Let me describe some of the many ways America is remaining engaged through its naval interests and capabilities.
I recently attended and spoke at the Oceans and Security Conference in Washington, D.C. The conference was an international gathering of scientists, businessmen and government officials who share a mutual interest and concern for the use and conservation of our world's oceans.
The conference is a big step in helping our global community look forward -- as a team -- to solve tomorrow's problems today. Judging by the size and diversity of the conference, the complexity of agenda issues and the obvious interest by all, I believe the results of this meeting will provide the groundwork and blaze new trails for future ocean partnerships.
Another way America must engage in the international process is through United States ratification of the Convention on the Law of the Sea. Currently, 118 nations have pledged their support for and have ratified this important convention, which frames the environment in which our maritime forces operate every day. I, the Department of the Navy and the Department of Defense fully support U.S. ratification of the convention, which promotes set rules and standards for aircraft overflight and freedom of navigation of the seas.
I also advocate the ongoing and increasing focus on multinational exercises and the vigorous pursuit of opportunities for greater cooperation and development of systems to improve allied force interoperability.
Let me turn to America's Navy and Marine Corps and how we are shaped to respond to the international security environment. Our goal is to ensure that the capabilities of the naval service are recognized as critical to today's -- and tomorrow's -- most likely contingencies.
Planning for what we call "the Navy and Marine Corps after next" is our challenge. Beyond America's ongoing strategy reviews, we must continue to assess resources ... and reflect on how to conserve them where possible and wisely spend them where necessary.
In the Navy Department, smart use of our resources means that our focus is broader than the numbers of ships, submarines, landing craft and aircraft. Along with our readiness to react to crisis, the watchword -- and the focus -- is "capability." It is that capability and how we intend to improve it that I would like to address.
The ships and aircraft we are building today are so much more capable than those platforms they replace. Programs like the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers. These DDGs [guided missile destroyers] are replacing the frigate as the fleet standard, but these ships do so much more. They are faster, more heavily armed with anti-air, surface, submarine and land-attack munitions, and they are more survivable in the littoral warfare environment.
That is the philosophy behind two other forward-thinking programs, Smart Ship and the Maritime Fire Support Demonstrator. With Smart Ship, we are using two Aegis cruisers to test ways to minimize the manpower requirements for our deploying units. On these ships, we have cut ship-watchstanders by nearly 20 percent, and we are looking for innovations to shave even more.
With the Maritime Fire Support Demonstrator, we have fast-tracked a platform designed to meet the fire support requirements of Army and Marine ground forces. The department is pursuing cutting-edge technologies -- and minimal crew manning -- to provide exactly the right type of joint force support for the 21st century.
From my perspective, the Navy Department has turned the corner in our relationship with the defense industry. We are less adversarial, more efficient, more innovative and more productive as a team. As a former businessman and now as secretary of the Navy, I am most proud of our track record in this area. With this program, we will test some very new and exciting technologies.
Some might suggest that our new partnership with industry is bad economics, that competition is the essence of a healthy industrial base. Yes and no. The theory of competition is right on the mark, but we have entered a time of transition in defense budgets and force requirements. A company that loses an all-or-nothing competition today may not be around to compete for the next contract five or 10 years from now. So as industry restructures to remain viable for the future, defense contractors -- together with DoD -- have introduced some imaginative and workable arrangements.
Teaming for the new attack submarine is the perfect example. Newport News and Electric Boat have come together to collaborate on the construction of our next generation of fast-attack submarine. The result is a lower program price and a more secure program buy. This is the common-sense approach to developing, building and buying our defense systems that each service -- and each contractor, subcontractor and program manager -- must ensure is the standard.
On the aviation side, the V-22 Osprey and the F/A-18E/F Super Hornet are smart programs that, again, move far beyond the capabilities of their predecessors. The V-22 is replacing a 30-year-old helicopter. But it will mean a whole lot more. With its speed, payload and versatility, Osprey is the key element in the Marine Corps' over-the-horizon warfighting strategy, which includes other innovative platforms like our air cushion assault vehicle, the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle and the new LPD-17 [USS San Antonio] class of amphibious warship.
The F/A-18E/F Super Hornet strike fighter is another very exciting and highly successful aircraft acquisition and development program, which represents the bright future of naval aviation. This program remains undercost, underweight and on schedule. Super Hornet, and the joint strike fighter that is being developed, will guarantee American naval air dominance well into the next century.
The future viability of the sea services depends upon what we do right now. And when I say "we," I mean every layer in the defense industry chain. Building the Navy and Marine Corps of the 21st century depends on the commitment and courage of each one of us -- whether we are wearing a blue suit, a green suit or a gray flannel suit.
I have stressed the importance of American naval forward presence and its direct relationship to preserving the uneasy peace in the world today. But we cannot go it alone. We need the assistance of free countries and peoples around the world to secure a lasting peace and promote economic stability. That is why we value so highly all of our multilateral and bilateral relationships around the world, and this is nowhere more important than in the Pacific.
Your invitation to me today speaks well of your interest and commitment to a strong America, a capable Navy-Marine Corps team and public support for our fantastic sailors and Marines.
Let me close with a quote by Adm. William Owens, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said, "Today, the real risk lies in hesitating, and the real payoff will go to the bold, the innovative and the inventive."
Certainly this is appropriate advice to the sea services today and to the industries that support us and to the nation we protect as we prepare to meet the challenges of a new millennium. Thank you for your bold and active faith, and for rolling out the welcome mat for our Navy-Marine Corps team.
In proud American naval tradition, I wish all of you fair winds and following sea. God bless our sailors and Marines, and their families, and God bless America.
Published for internal information use by the American Forces Information Service, a field activity of the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs), Washington, D.C. Parenthetical entries are speaker/author notes; bracketed entries are editorial notes. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission. Defense Issues is available on the Internet via the World Wide Web at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/index.html.