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Below is a transcript of the conversation:
ADMIRAL MICHAEL M. GILDAY: So I’ve been on before. It’s been – it’s been a number of years, though, since I’ve last been on here. I started off the week in Norfolk, Virginia, at the beginning of our large-scale exercise, and decided to come out to the West Coast to see the perspective from Hawaii as well.
So this exercise spans across 17 time zones and five fleets. We’re trying to – we’re trying to ensure that if we do get in – if we do get in a conflict, that we can fight across all regions simultaneously and present some vexing problems to any potential adversary. So our Navy fights as a fleet or a combination of fleets, and that’s what we’re practicing to do.
We haven’t exercised at this scale in 40 years, so since I initially came into the Navy. And I’m very optimistic – first of all, I am very encouraged with the performance I’ve seen in the past week or so by our fleets, and I’m encouraged – very encouraged with where we’re heading in the future. This is the way we need to train, not just live forces like Vinson but also virtual forces, as well, that we can tie into – to tie into our fleet and have much more robust, realistic training against a high-end foe.
MODERATOR: All right. William, we’ll start with you.
Q: Thank you, Admiral. William Cole from Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Thank you very much.
You just mentioned the LVC –
ADM. GILDAY: I did.
Q: – component. So what’s an impressive aspect of the LVC in the Pacific?
ADM. GILDAY: So let me give you an example. We can take geography, let’s say – let’s say geography in Northeast Asia, and superimpose it wherever we want, where we have ships operating. So let’s say a carrier strike group like the Vinson Strike Group or an amphibious ready group, and then we can also add in virtual ships into that same battlespace. And so it’s a much more – much more robust, much more realistic training for the kind of operations we want to do, which is not just singularly as a carrier strike group or as an amphibious ready group, but really as a fleet to come at a potential adversary as a holistic, you know, numerically superior and highly trained force.
MODERATOR: All right. Wyatt we’ll come to you next.
Q: I just want to ask specifically how this – (inaudible) – in any conflict with China in, say, the South China Sea (or that type of terrain ?).
ADM. GILDAY: Absolutely. So the United States Navy, first of all, if we – if we do face a potential adversary, we want to do so by, with, and through our allies and partners. And so we believe that there’s no more trustworthy partner in the world than the United States, so we endeavor to train, to operate, and if need be to fight alongside our key allies and partners to protect our interests and our common interests with them, number one.
Number two is that we want to come across to any potential adversary as a distributed fleet. It’s a big ocean. The Pacific’s a lot of – it’s a lot of battlespace. So we want to come at a potential adversary from many different vectors, not just on the sea but in the air, under the sea, on the land – the Marine Corps – in space and in cyberspace. So that’s how we’re training in this live virtual exercise: across all those domains, leveraging everything we have in the toolkit to prevent – to present a very formidable threat to anybody that might try to hold our interests at risk.
MODERATOR: KITV, let’s come to you next, ma’am.
Q: Hi. Annalisa, ABC affiliate here in Hawaii.
Talk about how important Hawaii is to the overall naval strategy. Maybe address some of the concerns that residents have about the Navy.
ADM. GILDAY: So, first of all, the state of Hawaii is an incredibly gracious partner for the United States Navy. So we have more than 10,000 sailors and 15,000 – more than 15,000 civilian sailors who live and work on the island, and we’re part of the community. And so we go to church with our neighbors. We play on – our children play sports, whether it’s soccer or baseball. And so we’re in those communities and have a shared sense of ownership, of responsibility, and I think a kinship with our – with our fellow citizens in Hawaii.
I can’t think of a better place to be stationed than Pearl Harbor or some of the other bases we have in Oahu. It’s really a beautiful, beautiful area.
Q: And strategically.
ADM. GILDAY: And so strategically, obviously, Hawaii has been and will continue to be a key strategic piece of geography for the United States in the region. And so positioning ships and aircraft and forces out of Hawaii gives us – gives us a leap ahead with respect to, you know, comparatively if we had to – if we had to deploy those forces out of San Diego or the Pacific Northwest. So this is – we are – we are blessed with this geography and we’re proud – we’re proud partners with the state of Hawaii.
MODERATOR: All right. KHON, we’ll come to you.
Q: Yeah. Justin Cruz with KHON, the Fox affiliate in Honolulu.
Do you see short term or long term any kind of larger or expanded role that Hawaii would have in assisting the Navy with (their vision ?)?
ADM. GILDAY: I think the role – I think the role of the state of Hawaii right now is – (inaudible). And so there is some 34,000 acres of land, as an example, that have military forces positioned on them, working every single day. And so I think that it’s incumbent upon the United States military and the United States government to make sure that we respect the state of Hawaii environmentally, right, that we’re good neighbors, that we’re good partners. And so that’s what I think our focus has to be. And I think that if there is any expansion, that would be something that – not that I know that there’s any in the works, but that would be something that we’d have to work very closely with the community. It’s something that has to be a win-win, I think, for both the military and the state.
MODERATOR: All right, everybody, I’m sorry. They’re telling me the jet is 10 minutes away, so we’ll have to end it there. Thank you guys so much.
ADM. GILDAY: Thank you all.
Q: Thank you, Admiral.
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