WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Adm. Gary Roughead assumed office as the 29th Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) during a ceremony held at Leutze Park aboard Washington Navy Yard Oct. 11.
Upon Senate confirmation, Roughead relieved Adm. Mike Mullen -- who now serves as Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff -- as CNO Sept. 29. The ceremony served to formally recognize Roughead's assumption of office.
Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter served as the ceremony's guest speaker. During his remarks, he said Roughead takes the Navy's helm during a "very challenging time in our nation's history."
He added that the Navy's number one priority must be maintaining a long-term perspective and building a Navy "capable of meeting 21st century challenges."
"Given the uncertain future path of potential adversaries, the growing concern over nuclear and missile technology proliferation, the increased focus on submarines and naval power by many nations, we simply cannot afford to reduce our historical commitment to supremacy at sea," Winter said. "Our new Chief of Naval Operations shares this point of view."
Winter went on to say that Roughead has a long-term strategic perspective, and a long track record of being an exceptional leader in challenging positions both at sea and ashore.
"He is the right leader to assume command of the Navy during these challenging times, and he takes the helm of an organization of which America is justly proud," he said.
After thanking the President, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of the Navy and Mullen, Roughead said he was excited to be the CNO, and was honored and humbled, and by the "scope and sweep of the task ahead."
He pointed out that though the Navy has undergone many changes, the one thing that hasn't changed is the "centrality of the American Sailor who remains the face of sea power around the world."
Roughead also took the opportunity to reiterate his top three priorities; maintaining current warfighting readiness, building a Navy for tomorrow and providing for our people.
"People are the key," Roughead emphasized. "All we acquire and all we do is of little worth without the people who give it value."
"Our policies must reflect the diversity of our nation. Our policies and practices must enable us to attract, recruit, and retain the men and women of America," he explained. "Our policies must address the many rewards of service in the United States Navy, and we must be unwavering in our obligation to take care of those who serve our Navy, military and civilian, and their families."
Roughead took the opportunity to speak about the new maritime strategy -- the first unified maritime strategy signed by all three of the nation's maritime services - which will be released next week at the 18th International Seapower Symposium.
Roughead said he attended the Symposium two years ago, and there were about 60 countries represented.
"Next week we return to Newport for the 18th Seapower Symposium, and this time, there will be over 100 countries represented in Newport," he said.
Roughead believes the increase is due to more nations understanding the imperative for sea power, and that security and prosperity depend upon the free flow of commerce on the world's oceans.
"They see that one nation does not do it alone," Roughead explained. "They see that cooperation is better than confrontation."
He added that it commits the nation's maritime services to working with partners around the world as a force for peace.
"I'm optimistic about the course that we are steering, and I remain inspired by those who serve in our great Navy."
For more news from the Chief of Naval Operations, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cno/ .