Below are the remarks as prepared:
Good morning … distinguished guests … flag and general officers … family, friends, and shipmates ... welcome! Thank you for joining us today … in this old dry dock … Dahlgren Hall … at the Naval Academy.
Charlie ... Ryan … thanks for letting me take part in this special event … it is an honor to be here.
In a few moments … we will bear witness to the mantle of leadership transferring from one leader to another. All the authority … responsibility … and accountability will pass from Rear Admiral Brown to Rear Admiral Perry with a simple salute.
And this is a huge responsibility … the Navy’s Chief of Information stands as a beacon light for our naval team. Our Public Affairs enterprise connects the American people with their Navy, informs our Sailors and Navy civilian workforce, strengthens relationships and deters and defeats our adversaries.
The Navy Office of Information… CHINFO… is the headquarters element for Navy PA. Near our Nation’s capital at the Pentagon … our team of 51 officers, 157 enlisted and 44 civilians never ceases to impress. They are globally connected, fast, agile and dedicated to the principles of communication and the mission.
In this era of constant competition with peer challengers who are assaulting the free and open, rules-based international order … CHINFO leads the fight.
We are in a fight in the cognitive domain – everyday. It is a fight with other Great Powers and unlike any we’ve experienced since the Cold War. Our adversaries attack America with soft censorship, propaganda, and disinformation. They strive to manipulate the perceptions of our citizens – including members of our armed forces – in order to achieve their own national goals at the expense of America, our Allies and our partners.
Disinformation, propaganda and censorship are not new challenges. What is new is the scope and speed of the delivery systems today.
Under the leadership of Charlie, our Navy has been successful at countering these things by empowering our Sailors and communicating facts.
By giving our Sailors a voice and bringing the stories of the Fleet to the American people, CHINFO… and the entire Navy Public Affairs community… has shown our Nation and the world the value of the United States Navy.
In many ways ... Navy PA is the guardian of our Navy’s story … conveying the importance of Seapower … answering the tough questions when called upon … while always communicating to show how the Navy contributes to our national defense. They stand this watch 24/7 … at sea and ashore … in peace and at war.
I cannot overstate the importance and responsibility of these P-A warriors. We all know that a story penned by a reporter or a picture snapped by an M-C can provide clarity in the fog of war.
As history has repeatedly shown us … when armed with knowledge … freedom-loving people will bear any burden … meet any hardship … support any friend … oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
Right now over 90 ships are sailing ... squadrons are flying … and submarines are patrolling silently. And while Sailors are standing the watch in far-flung corners of the globe … their stories are being told by this incredible community of professional communicators.
By amplifying our efforts through social media, we are reaching new audiences and inspiring the next wave of sea-warriors. We are also visually telling how exactly we support a free and open rules based order and that we will continue to fly, sail and operate where international rules allow.
At the same time … by publicly communicating how our fleet remains forward-deployed and ready … we are assuring Allies and partners … keeping the sea lanes open … and deterring conflict.
Our Navy has a noble story to tell, and we are better for having a team of professionals to tell it. So today is a celebration of these champions of truth ... the committed, dedicated, and hard-charging members of “Team PA”... and the incredible leadership of Rear Admiral Charlie Brown.
No Chief of Information in the Navy’s history could bob, weave, slip, and take a punch as well as Charlie … this served him well. A boxer by trade … Charlie knows how to fight … but, more importantly he knows what to fight for.
He has been a consummate leader in our Navy for 28 years … a role model of what right looks like. Whether in the arena or at the News Desk, he has been honing his craft for the past three decades.
Moreover, Charlie is a Sailor to the core. He takes pride in going to sea… always taking the toughest, tours throughout his career. Only at sea did Charlie truly feel free. Later, … I hope Kaye will regale us with the tale of convincing Charlie to come ashore and leave his sailboat for their beautiful Coronado home.
Now … what truly made Charlie a force in the fleet was how he empowered his people. And if you ask anyone fortunate enough to serve with him ... they will mention his selfless devotion to the Fleet and Sailors … and complete dedication to the mission.
Every single one... will tell you they were blessed to have worked with and learned from Charlie Brown. In the end, Charlie could not care less about the glory or who receives the credit as he just loved the good fight … and the shipmates in his corner.
Over the past three years … he provided indispensable leadership and unparalleled insight at the highest levels of our Navy. He rose to the challenge of leading in an unprecedented and dynamic time in our Navy’s and Nation’s history. He developed a digital strategy for social media use that changed the game for Navy outreach to a larger and more diverse swath of America. For the PAO community and MC rate … he standardized the career development paths and implemented reforms, professionalized the community and strengthened the P-A team for generations to come. As competitors continue to confront the United States across all elements of national power … the information domain has increasingly become a critical component to winning long-term competition. Charlie has made sure that our Navy is positioned … and ready … for whatever comes next.
Charlie … I can’t thank you enough for what you have done over the last three years as our 17th Chief of Information of the United States Navy. You have achieved some incredible accomplishments… one of those being – for the first time this century, more Americans believe their Navy is the most important service to national security than any other armed service.
As I reflect on your impressive career, I’m reminded of questions posed by President John F. Kennedy decades ago… He asked…
“And when, at some future date… the high court of history sits in judgement on each of us… our success or failure in whatever office we hold will be measured by the answer to four questions:
I’ve met a lot of officers through the years…and some… I can say, have been examples we in the Navy should aspire to. Charlie... you are most certainly one of them. The best officers are genuine, and contrary to popular belief, all naval officers are human. They get tired, angry, and frustrated and carry the same range of emotions and frailties common among us.
The leaders I’ve most admired were certainly human… but constantly strove to be the best humans they could be. And that’s definitely who you are, Charlie. But most of all, I’ve been impressed with your courage … judgement … integrity … and dedication….
I know that … throughout the journey … your partner and fellow PAO … Kaye has stood beside you… and deserves enormous credit … for providing you with the strength and stamina you needed to lead and serve our Navy so faithfully. Kaye … you have been a source of motivation and strength. You have sacrificed time and continue to leave a lasting mark on not just the Navy, but on all communications professionals world-wide. You make your husband, our Navy, and our Nation stronger. You’re a beloved professor … a two-time Silver Anvil award winner … and a legend in your own right.
You and Charlie have been an inspiration to so many. Together … both of you showed us all how to live a shared life of service.
It is an honor to have Charlie’s mother, Alice here with us. I know you are beaming with pride for what you son has accomplished. You played an instrumental role in making him the leader he is today. Thank you, Ma’am.
We also welcome 4 of Charlie’s 6 sisters, Mary, Victoria, Hildy, and Gloria. Thank you for toughening Charlie up throughout childhood while also fostering his sense of compassion and drive to make the world a better place.
And thank you to all the guests here who have supported Charlie throughout his storied career. Now, just as we are sad to see the Charlie go ... we are excited for what lies ahead.
Ryan Perry has been an essential part of our Navy and brings the exact type of professional experience we need for this immense responsibility.
We welcome him and his three incredible kids … Blake (a pilot in the Navy), Raden, and Malia … his mother Janet … his siblings … Lisa and Allison … and all of his in-laws that flew in just to celebrate.
And on this, here with us in spirit – surely looking down from heaven and beaming with pride – Ryan’s wife MJ.
She too served in the Navy, it’s how Ryan and her met. Her kindness, selflessness and strength continues to inspire all the lives she touched. And to Malia, Raden and Blake… your mom was an incredible person, no one would be prouder of her for the father, leader, and shipmate your dad has become.
Thank you for supporting your dad as he takes on this important job.
Now we all know that Ryan transforms organizations … he is a hard-nosed workhorse that will bring the same fighting spirit to our PA team.
We are thrilled to see you carry on Charlie’s momentum in advancing our Navy’s story and in turn strengthening America’s naval power.
I know that ... like Charlie ... you are a servant leader ... putting the needs of our Sailors and their families above all else. We are all excited to see where you will take Navy PA.
Without a doubt, we are in good hands as you build on Charlie’s long list of successes.
I’ll close with this … Admiral Brown may be retiring … but his legacy lives on in all of us. We would be wise to emulate his example in our daily commitment to protect and serve this great nation.
To our PAOs, MCs, and civilian professional communicators, … thank you for your selfless dedication. What you do on a daily basis matters to our Navy … and our Nation.
Before I close … I would ask one favor: after our celebration has come to a close, please take a moment to say a quick prayer for the Browns and the Perrys.
Say a prayer too … for all the Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and Space Guardians deployed around the globe, putting their lives on the line, defending the Rule of Law, and protecting that very fragile thing we call freedom.
Thank you very much … Charlie, please come join me up by the lectern.
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday
07 July 2022
11 July 2022
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