Admiral Gilday: Good morning. The Commandant has kept me honest on the Navy Staff. He sent Tracy King my way. [Laughter]. Followed me from the Joint Staff. I couldn’t be working with a finer officer. It’s good to have you on board.
I’ve been in the job for a little less than a month, so I want to talk about my transition, but what I really want to talk about with this audience is opportunities. Some of it gets to the Commandant’s plan and guidance, but a lot of it gets at people programs that we’re taking a look at and a few other things. I thought that if I talked about some of this maybe it will resonate with both your spouses as well as the uniform members, and maybe ties into some of the things you’ve been talking about this week.
So, it was kind of fast and furious in terms of how I got this job. And then a confirmation hearing which is really pretty much like your worst-ever final exam, trying to get ready for that. Then immediately into the change of office. I don’t have a transition team and I’m doing a lot of thinking for myself as I’m trying to understand the organization again. Having been out of the Navy for a while, having been joint for really the last decade or so, although I was in command of Fleet Cyber. I got to work with great people like Jerry Glavey and Laurie Gitner as well, but I really have to “re-blue” myself and I have been doing that since I got into the job. To really try to understand, I’ve been going out and visiting the fleet a lot and I’m trying to listen more than I talk. I’m particularly interested in meeting with the Chiefs Mess which I think is really important for us, that level of leadership which I need to empower, which not always has been empowered, but we need them as an institution in the United States Navy to be empowered.
So it’s been really interesting. I owe the senior leadership in the Navy, my guidance. Which I will meet with the three and four stars again in a few weeks and tell them what I think, get some feedback from them and go final.
But there are so many different opportunities, and of course the Commandant’s guidance came out right around the same time that I was announced. And it was actually a topic of discussion at my hearing. Thank you very much. [Laughter]. But in a good kind of way. A very easy conversation in terms of the Commandant’s plan and guidance and where we need to head as America’s sea power.
In terms of opportunity, I really am looking at pretty broad areas and I’m not thinking really about my legacy as the CNO, but rather where we need to take the Navy and let my actions speak for themselves, or let the Navy’s actions speak for themselves.
I’ve taken a look at, as I approach it, took a look at the existing guidance that CNO Richardson had on the table and just really a trilogy of documents that I laid it out for the four stars and I went through it on a single placemat. I said you know, these three documents, I really think the direction of the Navy in terms of great power competition, in terms of our sights, really sighted on China, is appropriate and I think that our budget, I think our exercises, I think that our fleet maneuvers, I think that everything kind of falls in line. But I do think, as General Dunford would remind us from to time, if you don’t have a hot breath on the back of your neck -- and we haven’t for a long, long time -- you don’t feel the sense of urgency to get after things. So I really feel that my job is one of execution.
So what I’m trying to do is simplify the guidance that we already have, to prioritize and get after it because I want to deliver in a bunch of different areas. The Commandant’s guidance actually helps me in some ways to make our list of things we need to do.
So it really is for me a sense of urgency, and geographically, I’m going towards the Pacific. That’s not to say that I’ve forgotten about the Mediterranean or the Russians, I haven’t. And as daily events unfold I can’t forget about the Iranians, but I am principally sighted on the pace and threat of China.
I really have three kind of areas that I’m looking at. One is warfighters. That includes the civilian team as well.
I’m also looking at warfighting, and I’m sure Dan Razoni, is Dan here this morning? Dan talks about the horizons being zero to three years, two to seven years, and five to fifteen as you take a look at what little control you have right now in the heat of the moment where you get direction from your political masters to do things and that may not be sighted on China. It’s just the way life goes. But you can really, if you keep your eye on the ball in terms of force development in the two to seven-year timeframe, and then force design in the five to fifteen-year standpoint. If you really stay focused on it, if we stay focused on it as the team, that’s where the stability is. In programs. In terms of alternative ConOps. In terms of exercises. In terms of how we’re going squeeze more of the force we have in the near term, and then how we’re going to build the Navy that we need, the Marine Corps that we need over the long term. That’s where the stability has to happen. The near-term stuff we don’t have so much control over.
So warfighters, warfighting, and then the future fleet.
In terms of warfighters, we are trying to transform the way we train people, we train sailors, particularly in high tech skill sets. What we’ve found is the brick and mortar institutionalized training regimen that we’ve had; they just can’t keep up with the pace of technology. I know that Jerry Glavey can speak to this much more eloquently than I can in the world he lives in up at Fort Meade. Just in terms of the way we used to do things, it just doesn’t work that way anymore. You almost have to set up boot camps with industry and some of those, you know, as you bring in industry to teach people the latest and greatest stuff in cyber defense once a quarter, it’s things like that that the Navy needs to take a look at across the work force. But I can’t wait until 2030 to institutionalize this stuff. A lot of this is innovative. We can do it on the cheap. We just have to think differently and get after it.
I get back to General Dunford and hot breath on the back of the neck. Most of this is cultural more than programmatic.
The other thing about warfighters. I took an interesting brief yesterday about culture of excellence. I read the slides before I went to the brief and I just said how are we going to get our arms around the culture? And the night before I’d been studying about, you know, we had two tragic collisions in the Pacific in 2017. We lost 17 Sailors. And we learned a lot from that. It wasn’t just problems in the ships, these were institutional problems in the U.S. Navy that we had to get after. Part of that, as I thought about this culture of excellence brief that I was going to, the surface warfare community, my own community, really had a self-reckoning as we took a look at what happened in those two events.
One of the things that we, as we self-assess, we determined that we had developed a culture of compliance instead of a culture of excellence. Compliance is just about a bare baseline, where excellence is something -- excellence isn’t an act, it’s a habit. It’s not just, you can talk about it, but you really have to live it. It is cultural.
In the surface community over the past couple of years we’ve begun to change that. We’ve begun to transform from just compliance based to excellence based. It’s all about high performance teams. So how this gets into this culture of excellence briefing Navy-wide is we’re really taking a look at problems that we haven’t been able to get after very well across the fleet. Issues like sexual assault, substance abuse, mental health problems, suicides, real problems that you may have talked about this week that we keep on committing to doing better and doing better and doing better.
And as a result of what happened in those collisions, we started to look at data more deeply than we had before in terms of human performance. We’ve been doing this stuff we’re aiming towards for years, and in the submarine force the way they operate and the nuclear power plants they operate with, there’s no room for mistakes. They just don’t have much margin for error. So they’ve been looking at it for a while. We need to look at it more Navy-wide.
We began to look at data sets and data indications down to deck plate level of destructive behaviors that then lead to worse things. Gender bias, substance abuse of course, lack of dignity and respect in the workplace, hostile work environments, sexual harassment which could lead to sexual assault. So you have indicators through surveys, through incidents that happen on ships. We had this data and we started to look at it and giving it to commanding officers to begin to try and get after that destructive behavior down at that leadership level where we really felt that we had, we could talk about it all day long but really in those work places at the junior level with those leaders, they were really, those front line leaders made a difference.
Back to this culture of excellence thing. Just focusing on the negative really isn’t good enough. So what we’ve begun to take a look at, again looking at data, working with behavioral scientists, is what are the positive attributes that we ought to be emphasizing? What makes high performance teams high performance teams? How can high performance teams have very low rates of DUIs, sexual assaults, and other incidents that you see on the police blotter every morning? It’s because it’s a culture of excellence. And I’m still getting my arms around it, but I’m really intrigued by that shift from a negative focus on destructive behaviors and to a focus on more positive behaviors.
As I was in the car driving down here today and I thought about the Marine Corps ethos. You guys have a great running start. You’ve always had, you’ve always had the ethos of the United States Marine Corps, whether those who are in the uniform now or those who wore the uniform once, it just is always there. It’s your hallmark, really.
So I’m looking for that in the United States Navy. That won’t all happen on my watch I know, but I know we need to get after it.
In this case, data science, technology, behavioral science, areas that we really haven’t looked at deeply before. Checkups from the head up. All that stuff. We are going to get after it. So those are some things in kind of the warfighter piece that struck me recently as I parachuted back into the U.S. Navy and have begun to look around and think back, including those collisions of 2017 and how these are opportunities that we’ve got to leverage. As tragic as they are, they’re still opportunities that if we don’t learn from, shame on us.
In terms of warfighting, and here’s kind of where the Commandant’s guidance comes in. I just see such opportunity when I think about the Pacific. One thing that hasn’t changed out there since World War II, for all you historians like Bill Mullen, is the geography. So I think about EABO and right now it’s a concept. How can we exercise that at the fleet level? This is when you get into a [inaudible] timeframe, right? Zero to three, two to seven. We can put heat behind that as the Navy/Marine Corps team.
My vision, and I know the Commandant shares it, is that we are the most formidable sea power force the world has ever seen. Just think about the possibility, even in the near term. General McKinsey, God bless him, I know he’s not here so we can talk about him. He wants all of our stuff. [Laughter]. He needs it. But that stuff has been going to the Pacific where we have it sighted. It’s going to CENTCOM where we’ve been putting stuff for a long, long time. But the Commandant and I have talked about this.
One thing we’ve given to the Secretary of Defense when he has to make a decision on General McKinsey’s valid asks, it’s not a range of options. What we’re giving him is kind of a binary, you know, concur/not concur with a request for forces that has come in from a four-star commander.
I think we owe the Secretary more than that, and I think the Navy and Marine Corps team can provide dynamic force employment options. We’re inherently mobile. Maneuver is the name of the game for us. Why don’t we leverage that? Why do I have to sit a carrier strike group in the Arabian Sea off of Oman, cutting donuts, just flying to maintain training and readiness standards out there, to maintain combat readiness standards, really not using the wing. Why can’t I have that asset, or an ARG, or both in the Mediterranean? The Russians are doing a lot of stuff right now.
Look at the Indo-Pacific. What’s going on in Hong Kong. That uprising, mostly peaceful, in Hong Kong, what affect that could have on the Taiwanese elections in 2020? It could be significant, right? We need to think about that. We need to think about how we use the force that we have to maneuver. To maneuver in unexpected ways. That’s what Secretary Mattis told us to do, right? To be operationally unpredictable.
So I go back to, so based on that, I think we owe the Secretary of Defense more than, you know, we’ve got a bunch of non-concurs. Yeah, Gilday’s non-concur. Burger’s non-concur. Davidson’s non-concur. You know who all the common non-concurs are going to be against General McKinsey’s asks. I think we need to be a little bit more imaginative, and we should do that together with our staffs. We should present leadership options. I think we have to get, in my view, we have to get back into big fleet exercises again where we experiment.
This goes back into, as [Dan O’Donahugh] talks about, that force development piece.
So we have the Commandant’s planning guidance. The Commandant’s planning guidance is telling us look, this is a no-brainer. We need to integrate. If you want this massive sea power, maneuverable element out there you’ve got to get trained. That’s just not going to happen. There’s stuff that we can do. There are exercises that we’re doing now that are probably not bringing enough integration out that we ought to cancel and we ought to put our money where our mouth is.
We ought to do exercises where we can experiment not just with new technologies and gaps that we have to close with adversaries like the Chinese, but also conceptually how we’re going to operate. EABO. How are we going to do this? I was in Mayport, Florida, I have 13 LCS ships going to Mayport, Florida. I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do with them. Please help me out.
I can put Marines on an LCS. We can do stuff down in the Caribbean. There are things that we can do. That is a training ground, you know, where the adversaries are, there are drug runners, but we can use that place. The Chinese aren’t sighted on it, they’re not breathing down our neck. We can do stuff there and experiment on the cheap. We need to get on with it. We need to get after this at the two to seven years point, and wring more out of the forces we have. Using those concepts that people have put so much sweat and brain power behind. Not just EABO, but also distributed maritime operations. They are joined at the hip.
The last thing is the future fleet. I know anything in the Commandant’s guidance, there’s a bit of friction. It’s probably about the focus on fleet design. So, did you talk about the integrated force structure assessment?
Voice: Just a couple… A little bit yesterday. Kind of broad sense.
Admiral Gilday: The Navy has a 30-year ship-building plan, and we have to have one. It’s a congressional mandate. So we produce one and it sits on a shelf somewhere. And to be quite honest with you, it’s really sad, right? Industry kind of likes it because it gives them a sense of what kind of ships we’re going to buy, but quite honestly, we can’t predict what we need to buy probably more than five to seven years out. We’re buying the wrong stuff. And plenty of examples of that.
So the Commandant and I, based on his release of the guidance, we’re doing an integrated force structure assessment with the Marine Corps. The last one that the Navy did was in 2016. This one’s going to be integrated. So we’re going to take a look at amphibious lift. We’re going to take a look at military sealift. We’re going to take a look at what we need to get after the fight in the Pacific. Together. And what our collective vision -- so we both signed it. We went to the Secretary of the Navy. We said look, we’re going to give you, late September, early October we’re going to give you the first iteration of it. Then we’re going to bring it in a joint scenario with the analysts. It’s the same joint scenario that, General Milley is the chairman, will end up running with global integrated exercises in November. We’re going to bring it through the lens of that scenario, and we’re going to present you a more integrated force structure assessment in December.
But it’s not going to just die there. It needs to be informed by exercises, experimentation, concept development, operations that we’re doing every year. It needs to inform the budget every year.
The law says that we have to have 355 ships. That’s the law. We can’t afford 355 ships. Not the ships we’re building now with hundreds and hundreds, in some cases thousands of people on them. Maybe we can afford a 305, 310 ship Navy based on the timeline we have right now. We’ve got 290 ships. We’re going to have to look at unmanned. Whether they’re on the surface or whether they’re under the water. We have to look at that. We cannot afford a Navy of 355 based on the thinking that we have right now. We are not going to have informed thinking about what that mix of ships looks like unless we experiment, unless we do alternative ConOps, unless we wargame it with games like Global Hunt that we just had. We have to do this stuff, and we have to do it together.
That’s kind of where I am right now. As I’m thinking about where the Navy needs to head. Really it’s about execution, it’s about putting heat on stuff. I really appreciate the teamwork, the partnership. We just have to, you know I think our POMs are going to be integrated over time. So we really have to put the biases that we have aside and we really need to work together. We really do. Or we’re not going to be able to… I believe that a fight in the Pacific, you know, for years and years and years we’ve talked about maritime superiority and we’re just going to gain maritime superiority and just going to keep it. I don’t believe it. I believe it’s going to be much more temporal. Right? We’re going to have it at certain points in a campaign when you really need it, and you’re going to have to leverage space, and leverage cyber in order to get it. You’re not going to have it forever. You’re going to have it for moments when you need it in a campaign
So let’s get to work.
I’m happy to take questions you may have or any comments.
Question: CNO, Thanks for coming here and thanks for a great presentation.
One question. The number one thing for the MEF, Two MEF specifically in this case is the ability to link the fleet with the warfighter as the availability of amphibs. I know that’s not the only community we’re availed from etc. In your estimation, what will it take to increase the amount of amphib lift available to train and do this?
Admiral Gilday: I think this force structure assessment is something that’s going to drive budget. Again, one of the good things about my coming into a job like this is that the Navy that we have now, the Navy that we’ve been building, I have not been a part of it. I have not been part of those programs. So I come in agnostic, and I ask a lot of stupid questions in meetings. I haven’t been the smartest person in a meeting yet. I’m going to look at this through joint warfighting requirements. That’s a lens that we have to look at it through because it shouldn’t be defensible unless you look at it through that lens.
Because what should drive the force structure assessment should get rolled into the Joint Staff’s assessment that they do, which really is taking a look at capabilities. Look at the capability gaps that we have close. Then we figure out what platforms, what quadratic equation closes that, gives you something to the right people to close the gap.
I don’t mean to tell you what you want to hear, Brian, I just commit to you that as a naval officer I’m going to look at this through a joint lens and I’m going to build my conscience. So we’ll see where those numbers go.
Question: Good morning, CNO. The Education for Sea Power Study came out, and you talk about the views on professional military education and in particular if we might be able to see some more [inaudible] with the schools we have.
Admiral Gilday: Thanks for asking that question. We’re really taking a hard look at education. I talked about Ready, Relevant Learning a few minutes ago. But we’re going to take a look at our flagship institutions, the Naval Academy, the Naval Post Graduate School, the Naval War College. And we are going to stand up a community college.
I’ll be honest with you, the Education for Sea Power book is like an inch thick. I haven’t been all the way through it yet, but initially I was thinking I’m not sure that I’m in favor of the community college thing. And the reason is because I do believe that at the end of the day people are our competitive advantage over any adversary, right? And I think they need to be skilled, they need to be the best in the world at what they do. And I’m not sure a community college gives me that.
But the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy said, hey, we haven’t thought about the kind of critical thinking that we want out of our enlisted. Not just our mid and senior grade NCOs. What we want out of the total force. For not a lot of money we can make a difference. We can make a big difference if we want critical thinkers at every level. That’s just an example.
We had a meeting last week and we’ve made Education for Sea Power a priority in the [POM]. So culturally, and I think that the basis of your question is are we going to start sending people to schools at a greater level than we have been, a greater volume than we have been before? I think that’s going to change. I’ll be honest with you, I haven’t taken a look at those numbers, but I know historically the Navy is lacking. So I am committed to taking a look at it.
Question: We’re working on the Queen Elizabeth deployment which is going to be an historic opportunity. Any thoughts on partnership opportunities talking about [inaudible] ships? You know, maybe multiply it with some special allies.
Admiral Gilday: When I met with Senator Wicker before my confirmation hearing, he said yeah, what do you think about 355? I said what do you think about 355,000? You know. That’s the power, there’s a message here with unmanned, but the power of allies and partners.
The Brits, we’ve always been close to them and we’re doing some good work with them right now in the Persian Gulf. But I tell you, I sat down with my French counterpart two weeks ago and I was absolutely stunned at the stuff their doing [inaudible]. So this is at a time when politically we’re not in a good place with the French, right? But the great thing about mil-to-mil and you can never take it for granted, we are the shock absorbers. Right?
The allies and partners piece, I remember when Admiral Mullen was CNO and the thousand ship Navy thing. There is a lot of value to that. I mean we’re seeing right now, we’re having trouble right now getting allies and partners to join us in the work we’re doing in the Strait of Hormuz. I think there’s a number of different reasons, but maybe 10 or 15 years ago, maybe that wasn’t such a hard thing to do, and now it’s very hard. So I’ll tell you allies and partners is a key thing I think for both of us.
He was just over in the Indo-Pacific region, I’m heading there next week. I hope that answers your question in terms of I think there’s a lot of power in it.
Question: Sir, you mentioned the power of the Chiefs Mess. Can you talk about the increased responsibility you want to place on the Chiefs Mess?
Admiral Gilday: Every stop that I go to, the first place I go is the Chiefs Mess. And what I tell them is that what I believe in the Chiefs Mess is the word “institution.” Which when it comes to mind, most people think about institution, they think about bureaucracy , they think about staleness, they think about complacency, but that’s not what I mean with the Chiefs Mess. What I really mean is the backbone of the United States Navy in terms of leadership at deckplate level. And I think that in some cases the Chiefs Mess of the United States Navy were more focused on who they were instead of what they did. Does that make sense?
You know, Navy Chiefs, Navy pride. I get it. I like that esprit de corps, but it’s more than esprit de corps and breakfast burrito fundraisers. It’s getting out of the Chiefs Mess and being on the deck plate. It’s hands on the shoulders and teaching people what they need to do. It’s hands-on leadership. It’s the basic blocking and tackling stuff that you would expect from any leader that sometimes over time erodes, and I think in the case of the Chiefs Mess in the Navy, I think it has eroded to a degree.
I just think that there’s a lot of talent in there. I think that we have a really good process for selecting chiefs. I think they need to know from me how valuable they are and how fragile it can be. They can screw up as an institution of the U.S. Navy. If they take their eye off the ball they can screw it up. The Navy, there’s always the saying, you know, ask the Chief. That’s what we always say. Ask the Chief. I want people asking the Chief. I want the Chief to be that hero that they look up to for the rest of their lives. That’s affected them in a personal way, a professional way. They ought to be in their contacts in their iPhone. He on theirs, and you know, vice versa.
Question: Sir, can you talk to ship maintenance? It’s a limiting factor. We have a great relationship with the waterfront, but frankly we’re on the ragged edge when it comes to deck quals, opportunities, et cetera. Our counterparts in 3rd Fleet did a great job in trying to keep stuff afloat there.
Admiral Gilday: Probably my number one priority. I’m not just saying that to answer your question.
So about 35 percent of our ships right now come out of maintenance availabilities on time. That is not a force generation model that can go to combat. At all. So that has to completely flip. And that work has begun to flip it, and a lot of it is inside the lifelines of the United States Navy.
So based on the data that I’ve looked at, the data right now says that about 20 percent of the delays that we have in shipyards with maintenance can be directly attributed to poor planning and forecast. Guess where that begins? The Chiefs Mess. Right? They’re the ones that identify those deficiencies, that write those jobs, that scope the work in the shipyard.
I’ll give you an example. On a lot of our ships the fuel tanks are seawater compensated. Seawater does awful things to them. I’m stating the obvious, but the way jobs were written in the past for a shipyard is “open and inspect tanks.”
Well, if you want to take a bet on how many of those tanks that get opened require a lot more work, it’s about 85-90 percent of them. That’s an example. It sounds like a stupid example. It’s a really common example of a poorly written job on the front end that leads to massive add-on work in the yard.
My point there is, there’s stuff that the Navy can do better. The shipyards, the private yards and the public yards, are very, very fragile. You’re seeing a two-year delay right now in the Gerald Ford, the carrier, they’re having problems with the elevators. So that goes back to basic engineering and prototyping that we didn’t do in a shore-based simulator or a shore-based prototype before we actually introduced it to a ship for the first time, that’s going to be operating at stage five seas and bulkheads are going to be moving around so the elevators don’t work.
But shipyard capacity itself is in a fragile state because of the work force. So the work force that we had in the ‘80s and ‘90s, now they’re retiring. In some cases in the submarine shipyards up in Connecticut where they work on the most complex ships that we have, the average experience level in the work force is maybe three years. That also adds to the delays.
But we have to work with industry on this. And what I said on the Hill, the Hill will look at me and say hey, you’ve got to fix this. We’ve got a problem with the shipyard industrial base. We’ve got a problem with ship maintenance. We have problems with the rate at which we can build ships. And if you get back to a combat scenario we were talking about a few minutes ago, we can’t sustain ships, we can’t sustain what we need.
I think there needs to be a blue ribbon commission, and I said this to the Hill last week. There needs to be a blue ribbon commission that holistically takes a look at the industrial base of the United States Navy and how we’re doing things. It is a key partnership. There’s a lot of elements to it, it is complicated. But the Navy alone can’t answer the question. We are trying to get after it.
Question: Sir, good morning. My question is, to really have an effective distributed maritime operation or expeditionary advanced based operation will require operational architecture beyond engagement capability. With your experience coming from 10th Fleet, do you have a vision as to how we can develop that operational architecture that’s going to be so heavily leaned on to operate in a distributed fashion?
Admiral Gilday: I don’t have the answer. It is a task in my guidance. Right now we’re building netted platforms, we’re building netted weapons. We’re not building a net that they need to operate on and it’s a problem.
You know when you get those slides in the Pentagon and they show all this cool stuff flying and floating, and you know when you get those lightning bolts and you’re sitting there going, hey, is anybody in charge of the lightning bolts? [Laughter]. Did anybody pay for the lightning bolts? No. The answer is no. We know we need them but nobody’s paying for them.
I’ll be honest with you. I think we’re going to have to partner with industry for a solution to that. I am very, very interested in not only going to the cloud ashore, which we are moving at a pretty good pace, but establishing tactical clouds on ships. We have to move in that direction. And there’s ways we can do that. But we need to move to the cloud. We need to develop a tactical grid that connects those clouds. [Applause].
Right now based on the latest estimates that I saw, you know when you see something that’s going to be delivered in 2033, it kind of makes you... It goes back to the execution thing and being prepared.
Question: Good morning CNO. Thanks again for being here. The Commandant has directed us to recalibrate and look at the way we see componentcy, what the roles of our component headquarters are, and make it balance against the roles and responsibilities of the JFMCC. If you sort that out, it’s obviously going to come down to not just roles and responsibilities, but where we put our talent. How we stack the deck.
So to use your vignette, what’s the opportunity in Mayport? I would suggest that the opportunity for those 14 LCS’ down at Mayport should be like an electrical current between the JFMCC, where we have talent down there in 4th Fleet and SOUTHCOM and the service headquarters. From that will come the opportunities for how we would experiment with those resources. But it doesn’t happen if we don’t push our talent beyond that. I wonder how the Navy sees that.
Admiral Gilday: In terms of talent at fleet headquarters. First of all, with distributed maritime operations, and that was kind of the sum of something called Fleet Design that Admiral Davidson worked on three or four years ago. What the Navy really did, we woke up and said hey look, we need to fight as a fleet. We need to fight out of the JFMCCs and we became too ARG and carrier centric. That’s how we operated. The fleet staffs were almost at capacity.
So we have established mocks, we have mock certifications. We need to exercise at that level with fleets. One of the things in terms of talent that I’m very interested in doing is the Navy has identified what we call a “space cadre,” a posse. We have about 500 people with space experience. The Navy has 15 satellites. We have a space organization. So we have experience, and that experience needs to go into fleet headquarters. We haven’t done that and we need to do that.
I was talking to General Lahey. Similarly, with cyber, we’re not doing enough at the tactical edge. As most of you know, those forces that control under U.S. Cyber Command. So all of the control of operational forces, you know, look at Cyber Command, look at Lahey and say what have you done for me lately? So I do think there’s more that we can do at the tactical edge with offense and defense cyber forces. We’ve done better defensively than we have offensively. I think offensively is a gap for us.
But first I think we need to put talent, we need space talent. I know you guys have space astronauts, you have space people? The Navy does. We need to put them in headquarters as well as an make an investment with cyber expertise.
All the main fight, I’ll go back to the temporal nature of maritime superiority. You’re going to have to leverage space and cyber. You’re going to have to put the adversary on their heels early. That’s where cyber and space are really going to make a difference early in the fight. We want to put ourselves in a position of advantage. We want to surprise them as best we can. And we’re not just going to do that with fire power from, whether it’s coming from islands or whether it’s coming from a ship or whether it’s coming from the air. It’s going to take all the main fight.
Again, these are things that we can move -- I don’t have to wait until 2025 to do this. I have gaps in billets at every headquarters that I can put space people in.
The United States Navy, when we need people, those who have gone to the Naval Academy, some of you have, maybe you were identified in a new draft, right? When we need talent in the submarine force, we have a draft. They’re called orders. That’s where you’re going. Okay? [Laughter]. We may not retain them. But it’s about now, now, now. I need talent on those submarines, we draft them.
I can do the same thing with space. I’ve got empty billets. I don’t need to go through a manpower analysis study. I will just start with PAC Fleet and 7th Fleet, with 6th Fleet… The fleets obviously facing the major threats, and I can stand up – I can integrate space into those fleet headquarters. I can do the same thing with cyber. And I can adjust as we learn.
If we believe we’re going to experiment with exercises, et cetera, then we adjust on the fly. It will take us 10 years to get a perfect solution. We can’t help ourselves. 2030. How many things are new in 2030? There’s a lot of stuff new in 2030. [Laughter].
Question: Can you extend that thought to the Navy/Marine Corps team? Integration of stats. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to think about it. We want to get closer together. We want a lot of our processes to mirror each other. Have you thought at all about --
Admiral Gilday: I haven’t. I will start off by taking a look at DMO, EABO and how we want to fight, and then I can take a look at what’s specified in applied tasking and flow from that. So there’s been some analysis maybe attached to it in terms of making some informed decisions about what skill sets we need.
But the Navy’s doing a big FleetX, called large-scale exercise 2020. I want to do one every year. I don’t know how we can fight through fleet staff about doing big exercises every year. When I was appearing in testimony, it struck me that the Navy was pretty excited about the fact that we went from 100 exercises in ’18 to 187 exercises. That’s a lot of exercises. I’ve got 10 fleet commands, big denominator, small numerator, you know. I get a return on investment. Or can I just package that in some big exercises that are really going to, together that are going to give us, that we’re going to learn from and gain experience from.
Question: Sir, thanks for being here with us. My question follows your thoughts on cyber and space in support of the fleet in terms of public information. How we can use information, naval integration in the information environment to support the fleets or to generate support for the naval team. I wonder if you had any initial thoughts in that regard.
Admiral Gilday: Are you talking about how we better leverage social media? Or, I’m not exactly sure --
Question: Two parts. One, we have the Navy Information Group capability which we have developed. How we can use that and communicate. It seems to me that we’re in a battle and competition every day. And every day we’re out there, there are people who have a different set of ideals and they compete against us. How can we better leverage the talent that we have to set conditions for the people who operator to work with allies, to communicate our ideals.
Admiral Gilday: I’ll tell you, the biggest self-limiter, the biggest limiting factor is the environment that we’re in right now. So the department is not leaning forward with the press. So I would not expect, even if I wanted to empower public affairs folks, we’re still constrained.
I think that’s changing under Secretary Esper. So I think that from the top down, they just had the first press conference he and the Chairman in a year, up on the podium. I think that that’s the first step. I think the first step is just getting that, I don’t want to say muscle memory back, but you know, just having the courage to go out there and potentially make a mistake. Not that your goal is to be mediocracy, but we are really risk… we really constrain ourselves. I think as much as anything, from political leadership these days, is they say things… they recover pretty well. So why can’t we recover better? Why can’t we assume a little bit more risk in the public domain? That doesn’t mean I’m trying to say we’re trying to deceive anybody. But particularly messaging to our adversaries. I think we’re way too reactive.
I know that’s an unsatisfactory answer and I apologize, but I’m kind of thinking my way through it.
Adm. Mike Gilday
19 September 2019
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