DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE CHRISTINE FOX: Thank you so much for being here.
So, I am the acting deputy secretary of defense. So what that means is if you think of Secretary Hagel as our commanding officer, I'm his XO. That means that he usually gets to go on these fun trips, and I'm usually chained to my desk. But fortunately for me, he let me come out here and visit with you, and it is really a great privilege and honor to be here.
So, I just wanted to say to you that our defense strategy makes very clear that the future of our department is going to be heavily weighted in the maritime direction. I think you know how important the Navy is to that strategy and all the expeditionary forces. Along with all of our joint forces, of course. But particularly, I think as we think about the Asia-Pacific, we think about other - the Middle East and other areas of responsibility, we know how important it's going to be to continue to be forward, to engage with our partners, and to try to assure and deter our adversaries and assure our allies.
And the LCS plays a very important role in all of that. So I want to thank you for your service. It's a really great honor to be here and to be on this ship and to be with you. I also want you to please know how much we all in the department, me in particular, recognize the sacrifices of yourselves, but also of your families.
And so I want to convey through you, thank you to your families as well as thank you to all of you. And it's a great comfort for me as the acting deputy to know that we have such great folks like yourselves out there to carry out our strategy and to represent us all over the world as you do so well.
So thank you very, very much for hosting me. And I have an opportunity to take a couple of questions, I think. And then I look forward to meeting each and every one of you individually.