Know Your Military

New Naval Operations Chief Commits to Alliances, Readiness

Aug. 22, 2019 | BY David Vergun

Navy Adm. Michael Gilday said that as the new chief of naval operations, he will continue to emphasize the Navy's commitment to partnerships and alliances worldwide, as well as to the Defense Department's modernization and readiness efforts.

"We will question our assumptions. We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now, and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future, always guided by our core values," he said.

Outgoing and incoming chiefs of naval operations salute.
Naval Salute
Navy Adm. John M. Richardson is relieved by Navy Adm. Michael Gilday as chief of naval operations at a change-of-office ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Aug. 22, 2019. Richardson had served as the 31st chief of naval operations since September 2015.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III
VIRIN: 190822-N-BB269-0139C

Gilday also thanked the 600,000 naval personnel serving around the globe, many in harm's way, and said the Navy will continue "taking care of our most important weapons system, our sailors and their families."

Gilday, who received his fourth star before the Washington Navy Yard ceremony, became the 32nd chief of naval operations, succeeding Navy Adm. John M. Richardson, who is retiring.

Gilday assumes two responsibilities. Besides being the Navy's top uniformed officer, he now serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

A man speaks at a podium.
Retirement Speech
Navy Adm. John M. Richardson speaks during his retirement and change-of-office ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Aug. 22, 2019. During the ceremony, Adm. Michael Gilday relieved Richardson as the chief of naval operations. Richardson had served as CNO since September 2015.
Photo By: Navy Chief Petty Officer Nick Brown
VIRIN: 190822-N-TR763-0217C
Admiral in white dress uniform speaks at a lectern.
First Remarks
Navy Adm. Michael Gilday delivers his first remarks as the 32nd chief of naval operations during a change-of-office ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Aug. 22, 2019.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ryan U. Kledzik
VIRIN: 190822-N-UY653-0017C

"Admiral Gilday has already played a critical role in restoring readiness, and he's well positioned to take over our integrated naval force as we march into the future," said Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.

Spencer noted that Gilday's career has included distinguished operations at sea and cooperation with NATO allies to confront the great power competition with Russia and China, as well as innovative leadership as commander of the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command. 

The admiral's most recent assignment as director of the Joint Staff "has given him visibility into the challenges that he will now face," Spencer said.

The Navy secretary also praised Richardson, with whom he had a two-year working relationship, as an officer who "pays attention to details."

"I could not have asked for a better business partner," Spencer said. "He's done more for this Navy to put us in a ready, lethal position than many before. No effort was too great, no detail was too small, as he really did help us navigate the rocks and shoals to deliver the Navy the nation needs." 

Civilian wearing a suit speaks at a lectern.
Navy Secretary
Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer speaks during the chief of naval operations change-of-office ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, Aug. 22, 2019. During the ceremony, Adm. Michael Gilday relieved Adm. John M. Richardson as the 32nd CNO. Richardson had served as the 31st chief of naval operations since September 2015.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Levingston Lewis
VIRIN: 190822-N-BD308-0160C

Spencer awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to Richardson and the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award to Richardson's wife, Dana.

"Dana has been the strongest advocate for military families," Richardson said. "She understands that a stronger family means a stronger fleet." 

Spencer cited the adage that being a Navy wife is the toughest job in the Navy. "There's a lot of truth to that," he said. 

Besides having a strong, supportive family, Spencer said, Richardson emphasized that his faith in God has been a strength and comfort to him and his family.

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford and other military leaders from the United States, its allies and its partner nations attended the ceremony.