Go to http://www.defense.gov/news/d20120627navydisposition.pdf to view briefing slides associated with this transcript.
CAPTAIN JANE CAMPBELL: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining us here in the briefing room.
It is my great pleasure to introduce Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations. As the senior military officer in the Department of the Navy, Admiral Greenert is responsible for organizing, training and equipping the United States Navy. And since Admiral Greenert doesn't like long introductions, I don't want to limit my career opportunities, so I'll wrap this introduction up quickly.
This briefing is on the record. Following the admiral's introductory statement, we'll open it up to your questions. Any follow-ups that you may have on anything specific we'll turn over to his public affairs officer, Captain Hernandez.
And with that, let me turn things over to Admiral Greenert.
ADMIRAL JONATHAN GREENERT: Thank you, Jane.
ADM. GREENERT: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining me. And it's good to see many of you that I've already met in the past.
Again, I have to say Jane and I worked for the same mentor, Admiral Walt Doran, and the fact of the matter is, he liked her better than he liked me. So she knows she's bulletproof and could say just about anything she wanted there.
I'd like to touch on a few topics before getting to your questions, if I may.
First, I've been CNO for about nine months now, and it's just been everything they promised me: pretty darn dynamic, very rewarding, and it's truly an honor to lead the great sailors that are out there getting the job done with their joint partners in the Navy -- in the joint force.
Our Navy requirements during this time frame have definitely been evolving, and, frankly, there was quite an inflection point, I think, last fall where we had a kind of confluence of vectors: economically, with the Budget Control Act and the deficit; strategically, the changes that took place in the Mideast and in some cases in the Asia- Pacific; and operationally, in the Mideast, with the conclusion of operations in Iraq and the changes that have been laid out in Afghanistan and in, of course, for us, especially, in the Arabian Gulf, changes in forces required.
From that, the Department of Defense developed a new strategy, and I'm happy to say it was a very transparent, very collaborative process that I was very glad to be a part of. We are revising the Navy's maritime strategy to align with the defense strategic guidance and to reflect the changes really in the geostrategic and fiscal environment that has taken place since 2007. It was October 2007 when we rolled out the Cooperative Strategy for the 21st Century.
And also we're going to revise the Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century to define how sea power will support the defense strategic guidance, and I think that's going to be about a six-month to eight-month effort.
My foundational tenets that I rolled out when I took the job and I published -- what I call sailing directions remain the same, and I think they're still good.
War-fighting is first; that's important to me. We have to have the right, relevant capability brought forward, and from the ward room to the board room to the ready room that's what I want our guys thinking of.
We gotta operate forward. That is where your Navy has always been most effective and I think where it'll continue to be effective.
And we need to be ready to do the job that we're asked to do today.
Can I have the slide put up, please?
I have a slide here which as I talk a little bit about the balancing to Asia Pacific, it, kind of, represents our mandate, how things will transition as you look -- I don't know if you can see that -- oh, here it is; sorry -- as you look from '13 -- go '12 to '13 to '17 to '20, the number of ships that we have, what is deployed, and you can see the flashes of what we envision -- what we have in the program, and what we envision, what we plan to do around the world.
The box on the left, kind of, shows you the different -- the distances and the times; if we're not out there, how long it would take to get there.
And with that, as kind of a background there, we're in process of balancing to the Asia-Pacific. That process is under way. It's our number one focus. And it has been now, as you can see, and will be in the future just by numbers of ships.
Numbers of ships aren't everything. There's more to it than that. But it's clearly a representation of our focus.
And we have work to do in the other regions as well.
We still have to support the Central Command. The security of the Arabian Gulf and the Straight of Hormuz remains a Navy focus. And, of course, in the Horn of Africa, counterterrorism capability will need to continue to be a supporting element for us as we support special operating forces and continue our counter-piracy patrols that we're signed up to do with our coalition partners.
The European Command is important. The crossroads from Gibraltar to Suez to Bab-el-Mandeb will remain important for EUCOM and for AFRICOM as we support that. We will continue to support ballistic missile defense and the European phase-adaptive approach, those phases of that. And we have our NATO commitments and our partners.
As you probably know, but -- we will homeport four DDGs into Rota. That's in the plan of the future, and continues -- these security cooperation operations in the Mediterranean. And that's a big part of that support to EUCOM and to AFRICOM.
But the Asia-Pacific balancing really means, kind of, four areas if I could say.
One is forces, which a lot of people talk about. It's ships and it's aircraft as well, as we migrate the Joint Strike Fighter, the P- 8, our maritime patrol aircraft, and our broad-area maritime surveillance system, our marinized Global Hawk.
But it's also capabilities. We'll use the air-sea battle as our concept, and we have programmed and will continue to evolve and continue to lean forward in air-to-air electronic attack, electronic warfare, anti-submarine warfare, and our capabilities in anti-ship ballistic missile and anti-ship cruise missile defeat.
So there's a forces element, there's a capability element, and there's also a intellectual capacity element. We will focus our attention in the security challenges of Asia-Pacific in training, in certification of our people who will deploy there.
Also exercises. Our ally partners continue to nurture that and nurture operations with them and engagement of potential future partners.
And lastly there's basing. Folks talk about the migration of -- from 50 percent -- 55 percent to 60 percent of our forces, and that's really our homeported forces, where from -- from the Asia-Pacific through the Mississippi, if you will. We'll have 60 -- roughly 60 percent of our ships homeported in the west.
I'd like to take a minute now to introduce Master Chief Petty Officer Rick West.
If you would stand up, please?
He is our -- come on up, Rick.
He is our senior enlisted advisor. And I've had the honor to serve with him now since I took the watch -- and actually before that. He will complete his duty in September. And I'm really gonna miss him. But I'd like to also announce his relief today.
It's been about a two and a half month process. We've worked together on this with the chief of naval personnel in our search for the next master chief petty officer of the Navy, and had many, many qualified candidates, and I think we picked the best in Fleet Master Chief Michael Stevens, who is currently stationed at U.S. Fleet Forces Command.
He has great experience, great leadership, good communicator and, frankly, Master Chief Stevens I found has been very much in sync with our sailors, both officer and enlisted -- a fit and energetic guy and I really look forward to serving with him.
It's going to be a tough act to follow, but I think Master Chief Stevens will do his best. So thank you very much for serving. I appreciate it very much.
So let me close here and say that I believe the Navy will remain critical -- a critical part of the defense strategic guidance. The balancing is underway, as I've kind of indicated. Our sailors are doing a great job out there and I'm very proud of them. They are a very impressive group, and they're willing to sacrifice and commit to something larger than themselves.
And with that, folks, I'd love to take your questions.
Q: Admiral, Bob Burns of AP.
Ask you about the operational picture in the Persian Gulf, not so much what ships are where, but more what sort of contact or confrontations or encounters or cooperation have you -- have you -- U.S. Navy ships had recently with the IRGC navy or the regular Iranian navy?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, things have been relatively speaking quiet in that regard. We really haven't had many, quote, "confrontation." We've had the Abraham Lincoln and the Enterprise there for some time. They've taken Strait of Hormuz transits during their time here, one today.
And they have been professional and courteous, committing to the rules of the road -- I'm talking about the Iranian navy. We have had some time before when the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has tended to maybe close a little too close for that. But frankly, that hasn't happened recently. And when I say "recently," I'd say in the last couple of months.
Operations have been predictable, and as I said before, in accordance with the international rules.
Q: (off mic) naval -- Navy has not been as active, has not been as...
ADM. GREENERT: Not been as active would be true with regard to exercises. (inaudible) in and around where -- where we've been operating and we haven't changed our operational patterns dramatically. They continue to -- to exercise, and -- and from the -- the best that I know and look and see, it's been in accordance with their routine, that is the Iranian navy and armed forces exercise patterns.
Yeah, (Craig Whitlock)
Q: Admiral, you talked about the balancing to Asia, and I knew you said ships aren't everything, but percentage-wise you're sending a lot more ships to the Middle East during the next four years, going from 25 to 34, you know, which, again, percentage-wise is greater than what you're sending to Asia.
Could you elaborate on that a little bit, on...
ADM. GREENERT: Sure.
Q: ... I mean, how does that compare to your rebalancing to Asia and what are your plans for capabilities in ships in the Middle East?
ADM. GREENERT: That's a good question, (Craig Whitlock).
So, we'll talk numbers first.
What you see in the -- in the Central Command there, (inaudible), is the evolution of the afloat-forward staging base coming on-line combined with littoral combat ships coming on-line and -- and deploying, combined with the mobile landing platform coming on-line. So, these are newer ships and different ships, which will add to the Arabian Gulf inventory, if you will.
Now, in the Asia-Pacific, what that'll enable us to do is to put more of our higher-end ships, such as our large surface combatants, to deploy to the Asia-Pacific. And so if -- if you go do -- and we can get you the ship type -- if you look at the ship type and you look at the capabilities delivered, again, yes, the numbers are there, but there's also a shift in capability within those numbers. Q: Are you pulling out any higher-end ships from the Arabian Gulf to -- to redeploy to Asia or are you keeping those there?
ADM. GREENERT: When you say "pulling out," there'll be -- there'll be a metamorphosis for lack of a better term. But the capabilities that we are delivering to the Arabian Gulf today, we will sustain that throughout.
Q: On China, on the Pacific, what steps will you take or do you need to take to assure your counterparts in the Chinese military that the rebalance to Asia isn't a stealthy move by the United States to blunt their modernization?
And I had a follow up.
ADM. GREENERT: Well, the -- as you may know, we -- we're in -- embarked on, sort of, a larger engagement series here that's taking place.
ADM. GREENERT: We've already had one session where their chief of defense came and visited, and we had a discussion on what our plans are. There'll be a visit here shortly -- we were going to -- we thought it might be this month, it'll be in July -- where a delegation from the PLAN and from the PLA will come to the United States and we'll show them around. And within that we'll have a discussion of what we're about, what we're doing.
Likewise, Admiral Locklear today is in China, visiting China as part of, again, this exchange of leadership and discussions. And I think within that we'll have the opportunity to explain and lay down what we're about. I'm sure those opportunities will arise.
The -- one last thing would be the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement talks, just completed here in June, and we're going to have them again in September.
Q: One of the weapons that analysts always talk about when they talk about Chinese anti-access capabilities is the anti-ship ballistic missile. You alluded to anti-ship defeat capabilities. What's the status of that weapon, and conceptually, how is the Navy approaching ways to defend our carrier fleets?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, we approach conceptually that weapon or threat, if you will, or potential threat like you do every kind of potential threat, and that would be -- you've got to look at the chain of events that need to occur. And that's kind of how we approach it.
For example, you need to have the detection capability. So you need to look at the detection. Can you -- can you deceive it, can you spoof it? You got to look at the ability to localize and to target. And then there has to be ability to and have the confidence to launch. Then can you intercept it in launch? And then it gets to -- toward termination. Can you defeat it at termination?
We look at the entire chain, some call it the effects chain, the kill chain, and try to break those links. That's how we approach all threats and potential threats.
ADM. GREENERT: Yes, sir?
Q: Yeah, Admiral, hi. David Cloud with the L.A. Times.
ADM. GREENERT: Hi, David. Q: Just wanted to follow a little bit more on a previous question about the Middle East/Asia balancing. You said large surface combatant ships would be shifted to Asia, and you referred to staging base, some other smaller ships.
ADM. GREENERT: Right.
Q: What's the thinking there? Is the idea that the threat in the -- in the Persian Gulf is primarily from small, fast boats, you need to shift your capabilities a little bit? And for that matter, the threat in the Asia-Pacific, how are the large surface combatant ships designed to deal with that?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, the -- the theory is this. If I have Arleigh Burke destroyers or I have cruisers conducting counter-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden or in and around Somalia today and I can do this mission with a Littoral Combat Ship, which I can in the future, or another vessel, such as in a float-forward staging base, using aircraft from -- add a rotary wing from it, then I can supplant that missile -- that mission -- and then I can now deploy that Arleigh Burke destroyer elsewhere. And the Asia-Pacific would be an option in that case.
So it's really -- it's -- it's making sure that the capability we bring forward and our shipbuilding plan, where does it resonant where it can be best employed, and then distribute the other forces accordingly around the world. That's what I referred to.
Q: How long do you anticipate having to keep two carriers in the CENTCOM?
ADM. GREENERT: We're committed through the end of this fiscal year, and we're in discussions to see what would be appropriate following this fiscal year.
Q: Quick follow-up on that, sir. Do you anticipate changing the -- I believe it's 1:5 to 1:8 ratio of aircraft carriers at any given time in the -- in the Persian Gulf, and relatedly, over the 2020 time frame.
And relatedly, when you say perhaps the forward staging base or some of the newer capabilities -- LCS and so forth -- would be more applicable in the Gulf, freeing you up to move some of those existing capabilities to the Asia-Pacific, how deep will that run? Would it be, you know, something like 15 percent of the -- you know, whatever the carrier or existing...
ADM. GREENERT: Yes.
Q: ... surface combatant capabilities over there? You know, how drastic would we be able to envision that going into the 2020 time frame?
ADM. GREENERT: OK. Well, our defense strategic guidance commits to a 1:0 presence, in your first question, in the Arabian Gulf and in the Asia-Pacific region.
ADM. GREENERT: And then each year we have a global force management laydown, which is our commitment to the combatant commanders.
That is sometimes pertubated by the real world or -- or a change in the request for force. Therefore we have a 2:0 in the Gulf today.
So the answer to you question is 1:0 in the future is the plan, and we'll take it from there and see what the global force management plan is.
The distribution of forces, it's difficult to put a percentage to it, because it really -- it really amounts to the capability that is needed and the capability inherent in the platform and what kind of payloads it will carry in the future. That will really determine the distribution.
Q: Admiral, you mentioned, you know, the Pacific obviously. If I'm not mistaken, RIMPAC starts fairly soon.
ADM. GREENERT: Today.
Q: Well, talk to us about -- you know, obviously that's been going on for a long time, but perhaps in (inaudible) a new context (inaudible) the defense strategic guidance.
And, you know, what's different about this year? What's the same in terms of the scale (inaudible) the scenario, if you can tell us the scenario?
ADM. GREENERT: Sure. Well, I'll tell you what, let me -- let me give you some factoids and sort of a laydown of RIMPAC. And I'd be happy to give you a summary sheet and I'll give you all the scenarios later. I don't have those on the tip of my tongue.
We've been doing RIMPAC for over 40 years now, and this is -- this year is different because it's bigger. We have somewhere on the order of 42 countries represented here today. I'm sorry, 42 ships -- excuse me -- from 22 countries here this year. Twelve of them will bring units, and that's sort of extraordinary.
Q: Units of?
ADM. GREENERT: Some are ships, some are aircraft. Some will be submarines. We have countries from South America, North America, NATO, the Russians are this year, as I said. South Asia, the Indians are participating this year. And also, of course, the Asia-Pacific region.
It's kind of extraordinary since I've got quite a bit of time in the Asian-Pacific region in my career. By way of Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia all coming together, that's very nice. Republic of Korea, Japan, coming together that's very nice.
I think I said Singapore. If I didn't I meant that when I -- when I was looking at southeast Asia.
So we've got a really worldwide exercise here. They'll be live fire. They'll be a SINKEX. For the first time, we will have some of our partner nations leading, being commanders of a task force -- an international task force.
ADM. GREENERT: That's good. That's nice. And that shows I think the evolution in the maritime domain of our cooperation.
So it's bigger. It's wider-ranging, if you will. Amphibious operations, which we haven't been able to kind of get together because we've been so busy in the Mideast with our Marines and international Marines, so that's also involved.
And you may know, we had a nice event last night and a successful test of our missile defense system off of Kauai. So that's a good way to kick things off.
Q: (inaudible) missile defense?
ADM. GREENERT: Yes, yes.
Q: You mentioned the Russians are -- are involved, correct? Is that right?
ADM. GREENERT: Yes, yes.
Q: Any word on when the Chinese might be involved? Then we can have universal harmony?
ADM. GREENERT: You know, you can be sure that would be an endeavor, and I hope sometime in the future we can. It's -- the details of which I don't have, but clearly the more the better in an exercise such as RIMPAC. Thank you.
Q: Hi. I understand the Australians were put in charge of flight-ops for RIMPAC. Is that the case? And why?
ADM. GREENERT: I'm not sure. I'd have to follow up on that and we'll have to get you that answer. They are certainly qualified. They have done that in the past. I would tell you that. So that concept is -- is not foreign in that regard.
Yes, sir, and then I'll get you in the back.
Q: Just a quick question in terms of the shift to the Pacific. There was a recent decision by the Philippines that would agree to open Subic Bay to a certain number of American forces. I know in the past you've said that, you know, the plan is to have a very small footprint based on cooperative sort of relationships. Do you see any other sort of reopening of foreign military bases back-up to U.S. forces in the Pacific such as Subic Bay? Or what sort of kind of -- what sort of similar agreements would be -- would be made to (inaudible)?
ADM. GREENERT: Difficult question to answer. I would say we have access to an extraordinary number of -- of places. And I think what you're talking about is, well, developing that to more than just access, maybe repair, maybe logistics.
ADM. GREENERT: And there -- there are discussions under way, I think you know that, with Utapao Air Base in Thailand.
Singapore, as you know, has offered us to bring the Freedom to operate from there, to deploy there next year, so she'll be there in about eight months. I don't know exactly where that'll go, but that would be an opportunity.
You've just mentioned Subic Bay. Clark Air Base, we -- we do maritime domain awareness flights monthly with the Philippine armed forces. That might be a potential.
You're probably aware of Darwin, where the Australians have offered the deployment -- rotational deployment of Marines.
So, these are all ongoing items that I think in the best interest of each nation we'll continue to -- to work on and see where that might go.
Q: (off mic) follow up, sir.
ADM. GREENERT: OK, real quick.
Q: There's been reports out of the Philippine media that (mil ?) is, sort of, renovating an airstrip and a -- a dock in the Spratlys. There's some concern that, that could also be used for, sort of -- to house U.S. troops as well.
Is that -- what are your thoughts on that? I mean, is this just speculation?
ADM. GREENERT: I -- I'm not aware of that. I -- I regret I can't -- I can't speak to that.
Yes, sir, in the back.
Q: Mike Evans from the Times.
Admiral, with fairly spectacular climactic changes due in the Arctic over the next few years, what plans do you have for an Arctic navy? And do you have enough money to do what you'll have to do to the ships to make sure they can cope in that sort of environment?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, we're working with -- with the Canadians and with the Norwegian navy on a -- we've been doing a series of exercises in the Arctic. So the concept of operations, we've -- for Arctic operations, we've been developing for a number of years: five, six years now.
As we build equipment and we're going back and looking at equipment that we put in our ships, as we, unfortunately, didn't do, say, 20 years ago, which was consider Arabian Gulf operations -- sandy, hot, warm water -- we're looking at how does this equipment, how does this ship, how does this crew operate in the high north in a -- in a -- in an Arctic region?
So, we're making it a part of our development as we organize, train and equip. We're working with partners to see how do we operate together. And we're looking in all three domains : air, surface and subsurface, and communications; how do communications operate out there.
So, we have a -- a pretty good program under way. And our up -- far north partners have been quite helpful in that regard.
ADM. GREENERT: Yes, sir?
Q: Admiral, I know you moved some ships down to Mayport recently. And I'm wondering, have you considered or are you considering a future moves of such ships? And would that require any modifications that might pave the way for an eventual carrier move?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, the -- we haven't moved any -- we've announced the movement recently of an amphibious ready group, which was part of our strategic (inaudible) that we've kind of been talking about since we rolled the budget out. So that -- that's kind of an evolution to now get to the ship level.
We have dredged the harbor. Actually, it's still underway down in Mayport, but we're about complete there. So that will, if you will, pave the way for these ships' arrival. And that does make the harbor, if you will, carrier capable.
We're upgrading the pier in Mayport. It will be able to take a carrier visit and be able to do some maintenance there -- enable it. And that will obviously pave the way for the amphibious ready group as well. But as we state in our budget, right now we just don't have the fiscal resources to conduct a carrier move right now.
Strategic dispersal remains a key and critical element. Movement of the amphibious ready group satisfies that need for -- in amphibious ships to have that, in the case of an amphibious ready group, that strategic dispersal to a couple of ports on the eastern seaboard.
Q: Admiral, you talk about budget. Obviously, the concern of everybody in town is what's going to happen to the defense budget and everything else. You know, sequester -- we don't know -- some of the solutions to sequester are further reductions in the defense budget as part of an overall package.
Are you all taking consideration of how reduced resources would affect all of your plans -- your shift to the Pacific and other things you need to do, particularly your ship construction plans, which have some big-buck items coming up -- the SSBN-X and those things?
ADM. GREENERT: Yes, well, I've got to tell you, I'm thinking about it, but we're not planning right now. I mean, we've got very clear direction from the secretary in that regard. And when the time comes, we'll deal with it. Yes, sir?
Q: You mentioned earlier this year about the third aircraft carrier in San Diego. Can you give us updates on that decision?
ADM. GREENERT: The -- there has been no change in our over-arching plan as far as aircraft carrier porting. So the -- the movement of aircraft carriers, if you will, to San Diego, from San Diego, the Pac Northwest, et cetera, in accordance with their overhaul plans and their subsequent home-porting, that plan remains apace. That has not changed.
Q: I'm Mike McCarthy, Defense Daily.
The congressionally mandated review of the Ohio-class replacement, I believe, is due up on the Hill this week -- I think tomorrow.
Can you bring us up to speed on where that stands? And feel free to share any conclusions.
ADM. GREENERT: The -- well the -- the plan that we have for replacing the Ohio with the SSBN-X if we will we think is a solid plan, executable in accordance with our budget. The details of, you know, the -- the sequencing of the hulls and how we will meet our mandate to provide readily available SSBN-X's strategic command will be laid out in the report.
Q: Hi, sir. Jared Serbu from Federal News Radio.
ADM. GREENERT: Hi, Jared.
Q: I think it was early March when you first rolled out the -- the sailor and Marine initiative. I know that's not very long ago, but I wonder if you have any views on how that's gone so far as far as implementation or challenges, or how that's being accepted by...
ADM. GREENERT: Sure, well, frankly, the -- the fleet has accepted it well from the perspective of the appreciation to -- to lay out in clear terms how we plan to support them as move into the 21st century, follow up on our maritime strategy, keep them fit, keep them ready, keep -- make them inclusive, and have a continuum of programs for their development.
We are working on -- perhaps one of the more controversial was this breathalyzer business. And so we've turned to the fleet and said, listen, what is the most sensible way to implement and make this a useful commodity, a breathalyzer? And there are, in fact, other than blowing into a tube, you know, a breathalyzer that you and I may know -- there are other means to determine the alcohol content in one's body, and we're looking at that. There's quite a bit of technology out there.
So what we're doing is we're -- we're having the fleet who has to -- who have to take this thing and implement it do beta tests for it and say what's the proper way -- how do we do it, what's the right way to -- to lay down the procedures.
And, frankly, the feedback we're getting is, good that's what -- that's what we would appreciate you doing.
Otherwise, I think the -- it's a matter of really making sure we market what we're doing for them properly and getting the feedback.
Q: Any noticeable progress on your sexual assault numbers or still too early to know?
ADM. GREENERT: I -- I guess I would tell you, if there -- if I look at -- when I look at the numbers I see a -- a 7 percent decline and I -- but I don't consider that significant -- statistically significant. I say OK, thanks for that. I'm -- I'm very focused on this. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got an educational program in -- under way right now for our leadership to make sure we're clear on what -- what this means to us.
Then we educate our -- our, you know, troops, if you will, to make sure that the two of them understand clearly what does this mean, what's the cultural change we're talking about and be very clear on that.
ADM. GREENERT: That will be followed by making sure our commanders know, look, what's your environment, how do you change your environment. And you make sure you know that you don't have that kind of environment which would insight, if you will, or by unconscious or conscious means encourage anything like a sexual assault.
Q: What's the (inaudible) 7 percent...
ADM. GREENERT: This is reported incidents.
Q: What period?
ADM. GREENERT: 2010 to 2011.
And there's, as you know -- may know we have restricted and unrestricted reports. So this is merely the numbers. But, you know, we're not certain for the numbers, as you know. So I look at it. I say, OK, it's a trend noted. It is what it is. But the certainty of reporting remains something we want to be clear on as we educate and encourage people to come forward and get rid of any stigma that may exist.
Q: Hi, Admiral. (John Harbor?) with the (inaudible). Have you been involved at all in discussions with the Japanese regarding their concerns about the Osprey? And if so, what is the status of those talks? And do you think that they'll ultimately support the deployment of the Osprey to Okinawa?
ADM. GREENERT: I have not been involved in those talks.
They are predominantly under way within the Pacific Command and the Pacific fleet.
Q: (inaudible) with Executive Intelligence Review.
Could you talk a little bit about the stress on the force? I know that deployments already are starting to get longer. You know, the Bataan came back from this 10-and-a-half-month voyage.
Can you tell us what your perspective is going forward over the next four or five years in the context of the (inaudible) shift to Asia and so on?
ADM. GREENERT: Sure.
The -- we've looked at -- again, when I mentioned about is the global force management plan -- what are the deployment expectations for -- to fulfill our requirements in 2013 -- and the remainder of 2012, really.
And if you look at the statistics we track -- you've mentioned the Bataan. That was a real world event.
ADM. GREENERT: That was a real-world event.
Today we have a real-world event in that we are supporting two carriers in the Arabian Gulf, which wasn't planned for, so that has led to some longer deployments for some of our carrier strike groups.
If you have an earthquake in Haiti, if you have an earthquake and tsunami, you know, around the world, these can lead to extended deployments for some.
But when I look at the plan, our commitment, and the force out there, and as we've told our folks out there, you can anticipate about -- about a seven- to seven-month, 15-day deployment in the future. We're averaging a turnaround ratio, that is for every deployment how much time -- equal time -- do you have at home, of about one to three in our forces.
We track home tempo, which is how much time when you're not deployed are you in home port. And our goal is at least 50 percent. And we're between 60 and 57 percent on that.
So, again, these are -- these are not notional numbers, but average numbers. We have to look very closely at the eaches, our -- our explosive ordnance disposal, of our SEALs, our Seabees. They're under a lot of demand. Ballistic missile ships are under demand. And we track each, but -- and we got to keep an eye on it as we go through.
Q: Admiral Greenert, Sam Fellman, Navy Times.
Looking at the numbers over the next three, four years of your tenure, the fleet size is static, deployed numbers are jumping at least 20 percent. As you know, that either means longer deployments, more forward basing, or more forward crew swaps. How are you managing it?
And I know you've spoken about the crew swap study.
ADM. GREENERT: Sure.
Q: What the (inaudible) of that?
ADM. GREENERT: Well, what you'll see, Sam, is, if I forward deploy four ships in Rota, they're always deployed. They are always on a tether and available to that combatant commander, very much like the forces in -- in Japan are available. So, for example, when you look at that 50 and that 55, 23 of those are out there in the forward- deployed naval force. They're available to the combatant commander at any given time.
So what you see as you move out toward the -- as you say, the end of my tenure, you'll see the -- the DDGs in to Rota, four. You'll see littoral combat ships, probably two by the end of my tenure, if we go apace, in Singapore. So that would increase, if you will, the situation in the Asia-Pacific.
You'll see the littoral combat ship evolutioned into the -- the Arabian Gulf, replacing the mine countermeasure ships. That's probably beyond my tenure. In fact, that's more near the end of the decade. But these are the things that I'm talking about.
When we -- when we complete the afloat forward staging base, that ship will deploy -- it'll be a Military Sealift Command crew. That means it'll deploy 270 days a year, assuming we operate it like we do today's Military Sealift Command-operated ships. The same with the joint high-speed vessel.
So it's the evolution of these ships that are coming in and the way we operate them, be it forward-deployed or be it with civilian mariners, using the Military Sealift Command to contract.
Q: Admiral, you asked me on the way down here to remind you about the Green Fleet, alternative fuels, and the use of it at RIMPAC.
ADM. GREENERT: Oh, yes. Thank you very much.
What -- in fact, there was my opportunity. What is different about RIMPAC?
Well, we're -- we will be using -- we will have a carrier strike group there with the carrier, the DDGs, and the -- the supporting ship operating on biofuel. I would tell you that I think -- I do believe that it is important for us to continue to pursue these alternatives.
ADM. GREENERT: I'll give you an anecdote.
During my -- just during my tenure, we've had swings in the price of oil of $20 -- $20 up, $20 down. That's $30 million in our budget for every dollar. So $600 million going up; $600 million going down. That complicates the budget, to say the least.
So some of our endeavors to look for alternate fuels, and in my world what I track very closely in energy is the most efficient use of it at sea and ashore from our piers to our facilities. And as we bring newer ships in, as I bring forward my requirements, that I'm thinking fuel, because I've got to tell you folks, it's -- it's clearly, to me, a factor in security.
Q: Although there's a lot of folks in Congress who've been very skeptical and have gone hard on Navy folks up there testifying about, you know, this. In the near term -- yes, ultimately this may be a great solution for the planet, but in the near term, it's more dollars per gallon at a time when there are a lot fewer dollars.
ADM. GREENERT: Well, the -- that's a true statement. So you look at the balance and you see what -- what's the return on investment. And we believe that -- I believe it is worthwhile to research and investigate alternatives.
Q: Miami (inaudible) -- how is that affecting the -- the already busy attack boat OPTEMPO? How are you looking at the possible -- as you weigh whether or not to scrap the boat, how are you taking into account the already -- the difficulty in the attack boat gap in the 2020 range?
ADM. GREENERT: The -- the Miami was in a 20-month overhaul; four months into it. So what we need to do is, right now, there are no plans to scrap the boat. She's in overhaul. We are assessing what it would cost to restore her. And I'm going to assess the -- we're going to assess it technologically and then monetarily, and then we'll take it from there.
But as it stands right now, we think we can restore the boat. You know, there's no indication that we can't right now.
In the future, we'll look for ways to -- using wise means of employing our SSNs to -- to try and mitigate the SSN deficit that some people speak to -- deployment length, use of the fuel and the ships and the submarines that we have, operating them when they're not deployed. How do we do that? And our submarine community, working with our fleet on the use of the SSNs we have, we're looking at that.
Good news is, you know, as you know, it's a pretty well- performing program. So bringing the Virginia class in under budget and fast, and under, if you will, within schedule has been a good addition to that as well.
Q: Just a quick question on the LCS, what role is it playing -- will it play in the Asia rebalance? If I hear you correctly, the role it's going to play, it's going to free up larger ships to go to Asia, while it plays a more predominant role in the Middle East. Is that kind of (inaudible)?
ADM. GREENERT: It has a role in Asia-Pacific as well. I mean, it will -- it will supplant the capability that right now the MCMs, the Avenger-class minesweeps that do that will be one thing it does.
ADM. GREENERT: It has, as -- and will have, as you -- will have, as you know, an anti-submarine warfare module. So it will provide also that capability.
It will have an anti-surface module as well. There's still piracy in the Asia-Pacific region. And it's -- you know, there's much less than it used to be, but it's there. And so we'll work with our Southeast Asian partners in that regard, as an example.
Q: So the 55 ships, is it fair to say like most will be deployed to Asia or you just don't have a feel for that yet?
ADM. GREENERT: I -- we have a feel, but it's a -- I don't have it on my fingertips. We would be happy to give it to you.
But, yeah, there's -- there's definitely a distribution to the Asia-Pacific, to the Arabian Gulf to the European Command and the African Command, and Southern Command as well, for the -- for the littoral combat ship.
CAMPBELL: We'll wrap this up with one last question.
ADM. GREENERT: OK.
Q: Just wanted to do a follow up with the Law of the Sea ratification, kind of, fight that's going on on the Hill.
There's a -- obviously the decision had been pushed back till after the presidential elections. Doesn't -- our indications don't really see the ratification, kind of, going through.
From an operational standpoint, does it really -- from an operational standpoint, from your point of view, does it really matter if ratification doesn't go through, since the treaty hasn't been in place for this long? I mean, what does the Navy really lose if -- if this fight is lost on the Hill?
ADM. GREENERT: We -- we -- what we lose is a common document, if you will, that we can use as a reference line to negotiate, debate and discuss anything from exclusive economic zones to territorial seas to -- to continental shelf, where there are disputes, maybe, or where we're being told, you know, "You can't -- you're in our economic -- exclusive economic zone; you can't be here," and we have the document that says, "Hey, look, we all signed up to this." This is -- this is where we start that debate. That's -- that does not preclude missions. It has not precluded missions. But it does influence operations on a day-to-day peacetime basis, where we are into a debate and a domestically determined -- determined, if you will, common-law approach, as opposed to an internationally recognized, where we have signators and say, "Hey, we all signed up to this; let's talk about it."
I want to thank you all very much for the opportunity. Thanks for coming. And (inaudible). I look forward to seeing all of you again out there.
And, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, thank you very much for your service.
So, thanks again, folks. Have a nice day.