78th Secretary of the Navy Message to the Fleet

10 August 2021
To our Sailors, Marines, civilian employees, and their families and loved ones:

Today, together, we again embrace the most sacred duty – defending our nation and working to build a world more defined by peace than conflict.

I join you as someone who loves the Navy – who spent twenty-six years in uniform and another seventeen striving to make sure you had the capabilities you needed to fulfill your mission effectively and safely. Serving you as your 78th Secretary of the Navy is a high honor. It also carries grave responsibilities to which I will dedicate all my skill and devotion.

You should also know I have a bias for action.

Our Navy Marine Corps Team and our nation face critical challenges on multiple fronts.

Like Secretary Austin, I view our most pressing challenges as the four Cs - China, Culture, Climate, and Covid, and we need the resources and capabilities to address each now.

China is determined to reduce our military superiority. We will not let this happen. We will deter China’s aggression, protect our national security, and preserve the peace. Our determination, our skill, and our courage will demonstrate our strength and conviction.

Culture comes down to one goal. Every Sailor and Marine – of all races, genders, religions, and ethnicities – must treat one another with dignity and respect. This is not just about doing the right thing. It is about ensuring our Navy and Marine Corps will be the most talented, most combat ready, most committed force possible.

Climate change exacerbates every challenge we face, from naval installations to frequent deployments. It is also a global struggle for resources that demands ingenuity and innovation. It demands solutions that mitigate climate damage while ensuring our operational success and competitive edge.

Lastly, we must combat Covid. This means we must continue to vaccinate our naval forces with expedience. If we are not vaccinated, we are neither deployable nor combat ready. Immediately, the Navy and Marine Corps will make every effort to vaccinate and care for our force and defeat the scourge Covid has inflicted on our troops.

Both our nation’s security and your success as Sailors and Marines require your enthusiastic, unwavering commitment. We will succeed or fail together.  Accordingly, with a leadership ethos forged as a Destroyer Captain, I will strive to be direct and transparent with you about what we need to accomplish together.

Please know your safety and welfare will always be paramount to me, and I will work tirelessly with you to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

To do this, we must possess the resources needed to expand our capabilities. I will make that my top priority.  I am committed to ensuring you have the tools and training you need to succeed.  Just as I am committed to confronting our maintenance backlog, managing our operational requirements, and building our Navy Marine Corps Team of the future.

When I began my Navy career over 40 years ago, as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, I looked up to then Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo. Like me, he was an immigrant to this nation and, like me, his experience taught him why the world needs a strong United States Navy. Most of all, I understood that while I served our nation, he also served me.

The same is true today. I am your Secretary of the Navy Marine Corps Team focused on your and our collective promise to our Constitution and nation.

We will succeed together. It has never been more important that we do.

Finally, a personal note. My wife Betty and I well understand the sacrifices your loved ones make and how crucial they are to our success. We are both honored to be back once again working shoulder-to-shoulder with you. We look forward to getting out to the Fleet and meeting you all soon.

Full Speed Ahead.

Very Respectfully,                                                                                        

Carlos Del Toro

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