ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- The chief of naval operations (CNO) was the keynote speaker during an annual banquet at the Surface Navy Association's 23rd National Symposium in Arlington, Va., where he spoke on the importance of future force and current operations of the Navy, Jan. 13.
Adm. Gary Roughead spoke on the important role of naval leadership in strengthening the future force of the Navy.
"Our job, as the nation's leaders, is to ensure Sailors have the ships, the aircraft and the submarines that will enable them to accomplish the mission," said Roughead. "We are maintaining our unrelenting emphasis on leader diversity, so that the best ideas to keep our Navy great are able to be heard."
Roughead discussed the need to increase the number of ships in the Navy. Although 313 is commonly referred to as the "floor" of what the Navy needs, he emphasized that more ships are needed, and that we require a combination of balance and quantity to build the Navy for the future.
"Three hundred thirteen is the numerical floor because it gives us global capabilities," he said. "At some point, quantity becomes a capability. Although it appears to be years away, [that] looming prospect of 'block end' of service life across several classes of ships that where built in the 1980's when we get into the 2020's requires action in the very near term to chart a course through that very challenging period. As the commander in the Pacific and the commander in the Atlantic, I can tell you that I never had enough ships, even before we developed the maritime strategy," said Roughead.
Recognizing the need for new ships, CNO stressed the importance of the Navy working with the shipbuilding industry to control costs. He stressed the need for restraint and appetite suppression, explaining that it will take the combined effort from both the Navy and the industry to realize efficiencies in shipbuilding.
"I expect Navy leaders to take a disciplined approach in determining our needs," he said. "An approach based in the maritime strategy that strives to balance among the six core capabilities, linking each purchase to a capability or capabilities will be the test I will apply. Our program submission for Fiscal Year 2012 funds our most pressing requirements and continues our investment in force structure even in the context of increasing fiscal pressure. To do this, hard decisions must be made in the short term to ensure a long term shipbuilding plan is viable."
Roughead also reiterated the Navy's position on the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy.
"Combat effectiveness is what we provide as a Navy," said Roughead. "And repeal will neither change who we are or what we do. The time is right, the time is now, and we will lead a prompt and thoughtful implementation."
The Surface Navy Association was founded in 1985 to "promote great coordination and communication among those in the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in naval surface warfare."
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