CNO: Shipmates, CNO Gilday here. Today’s forum is an important opportunity to glance at our wake, discuss the challenges ahead of us, and deliver the outcomes that will grow America’s naval power.
Our Naval Reserve Force is vital to our national security. Deploying and training side-by-side with your active duty counterparts, you provide a unique combination of military experience and civilian expertise that gives the Navy our competitive advantage.
And that advantage is needed now, more than ever.
Today, we once again find ourselves in the breach of strategic competition, and it’s real. China and Russia are rapidly mobilizing their militaries, attempting to undermine our alliances and degrading the free and the open order. The Chinese battle force is the largest in the world, and it is growing. They are also strengthening their space capabilities and they’re stockpiling an arsenal of long-range missiles to hold us and our allies and partners at risk. Russia, they’re modernizing their navy and conducting deployments closer to our shores, making the waters of the Atlantic once again a contested space.
Our Navy’s role in this competition remains crystal clear. America needs a flexible, forward deployed, engaged fleet that keeps the seas open and free, generates credible deterrence at sea, and provides quick response options for U.S. leadership. It needs to be a fleet that can control the seas and project power across all domains at a time and place of our choosing.
Together, we must stand ready to protect and defend this great nation against any who might challenge us. Your service is absolutely critical.
Last year, I released my Navigation Plan to provide a roadmap and a set of priorities that matter in this critical decade – a decade that I believe may set the maritime balance of power for the rest of this century. The transformation underway in our Navy Reserve is an absolutley critical part of that plan.
I’m so encouraged by the progress under the leadership of VADM Mustin, and the teamwork across the force, that’s providing important capabilities to the competition. Over the last 14 months, you have reinvigorated the Navy Reserves and postured yourselves to meet demands of an evolving and complex security environment.
Your hard work also proved the concept of Adaptive Mobilization. I have great confidence the Reserve Force will rapidly deploy when called, arriving in short order, wherever and whenever needed. You demonstrated this capability already during the ongoing pandemic, with medical responders deploying to the hardest hit areas, and maintenance personnel surging to get our carriers and submarines out of the public shipyards, and back to the fleet where they belong.
I’m a student of Colonel John Boyd, the legendary Air Force pilot and military strategist who used to say, “People, ideas, machines — in that order,” when applying his military thinking to organizations. We can never lose sight of that.
Success in day-to-day competition, crisis, and – if need be – in conflict, does not simply come from ships, sensors, or bombs. It comes from the intersections between technology and people, the ideas of those people, and the culture those people belong to.
As we continue to institute necessary changes to meet the demands of a changing security environment, remember it is an honor to serve and personal readiness is as important as operational readiness.
People are our military’s asymmetric advantage. The simple and honest truth though is that people are vulnerable. So, I’d ask you to keep a close watch on your own mental, physical, and emotional health, and the health of those you lead. When someone needs help, get them help without judgment or without hesitancy. Asking for help should be seen as a sign of courage and strength.
To each citizen-Sailor in the Reserve Force and to the family members who support you, thank you for your commitment to our national security. I am proud of all that you do, and I have confidence that each of you will be ready – on Day One – to do what will be necessary to preserve the security of our nation.
We’ll see you in the Fleet.
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