WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark praised the Navy's involvement in the war on terrorism during the Dec. 4 taping of C-SPAN's "Washington Journal." During the 40-minute segment, the CNO took questions from callers on a variety of subjects.
Clark said the USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) Battle Group and USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Amphibious Readiness Group have deployed and are now en route to the theater of operations. When asked about the exact location of ships, the CNO said, "They're on the move all the time. That's one of the characteristics of naval forces. It's one of the things that makes it difficult for anyone working against naval forces."
To illustrate the general area, the host made a circular motion with a ballpoint pen around a close-up of a map of the Arabian Sea. "With the stroke of that pen, and the scale of that map, we're talking several hundred miles across," the CNO said.
Clark explained the difference between the current operation and the Gulf War.
"We're more precise than we were in the past," said Clark. "The technological capability has been injected into our military over the last number of years. The specific comparison to Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm is we simply have developed more precision capability than we've had in a dozen years. And this operation is all about that kind of precision."
The first caller, from Chicago, wanted clarification on what other nations are involved in the current operation.
"We have a number of countries working side-by side with us," he said. "Italy has an aircraft carrier. There are also forces there from France and from the United Kingdom. We have aircraft carriers, submarines, destroyers and frigates on the scene."
Another caller, a mobilized Reserve chief petty officer from Suitland, Md., asked what the most pressing issue is for mobilized Reserves. The caller said that pay was the biggest issue.
"First of all, I want to thank you for your service," said the CNO. "People like you make our Navy great. There are over 7,000 of you that have been recalled to active duty to take on this war on terrorism."
"I think one of the most significant issues is how the individual is able to deal with the transition of the call-up," Clark explained. "It is also about the employer. Your full-time employer makes a commitment to this nation also as part of your service. It affects the employer who has had to see you come and serve full-time on active duty."
"The pay issues that you address certainly are very personal and real to you," the CNO continued. "I'm happy to report that we have made great progress in the last couple of years, and specifically that Congress has taken steps to increase the financial reward for service to our country ... from housing benefits and great improvements to reducing out-of-pocket costs to the targeted pay increases for people like you -- targeted to the senior enlisted people."
Several Navy and Marine Corps veterans called in and expressed their support for the Navy Marine Corps team in the ongoing war on terrorism and asked general questions about the ongoing effort.
A full transcript of the program is available on the CNO's web page at www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/cno.