ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Naval leaders, government officials and members of private industry gathered for the second day to discuss the surface Navy's future at the 25th Annual Surface Navy Association Symposium in Arlington, Va., Jan. 16.
Private companies also had booths showing off present and future technologies representing this year's theme, 'Answering All Bells: People, Technology and Innovation.'
The day's keynote speaker, Adm. William Gortney, commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, spoke about the challenges facing the Navy and Marine Corps, and the way forward in the face of those challenges.
Attendees of the event, included active-duty, retired and Reserve service members, as well as members of Congress.
"The hardest part of the next decade will be confronting the change from the last decade," said Gortney. "For the last decade the [Department of Defense] has been flushed with cash. We had plenty of money to do our job. It's not going to be that way for the next ten years. It's going to be a very different time. But I can tell you that we're still going to sail to crises. There's going to be uncertainty out there, but the Navy and Marine Corps will respond like we always have. 30-35 percent of our Navy and Marine Corps will be forward deployed rotationally. We're the enabler... we can open battle space, we can hold battle space. Business is going to be good."
Gortney also offered reassurance that the fiscal challenges currently facing the military will improve over time.
"Although we're going to see a decline in our budget over the next ten years as our economy improves, and it will improve, it will go back up." he said. "The nation will need us again and our budget will increase. History has proven it before and will again."
Retired Coast Guard Capt. Charles Matthew attended the talk, and said he appreciated Gortney's optimism about the future of the fleet, as well as his openness about the current challenges it faces.
"I really appreciated his transparency about the economic issues the sea services are facing, as well as his thoughts on the historical relevance of these challenges compared to those in the past," he said. "I found it very fascinating."
Other speakers included United States House of
Representative member Joe Courtney, and Commander, Naval Surface Forces, U.S. Atlantic Fleet Rear Adm. David Thomas Jr.
The symposium continues through Jan. 17.
The Surface Navy Association was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination and communication among those in the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in naval surface warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces.