‘Presence With A Purpose’ – CNO Explains Fleet Response Plan

Story Number: NNS030818-08Release Date: 8/18/2003 10:41:00 AM
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By Chief Journalist Walter T. Ham IV, Chief of Naval Operations Public Affairs

SPRINGFIELD, Va. (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Vern Clark said the Fleet Response Plan will not only provide the president with a greater range of naval options, but will also change the way ships deploy and ensure a "presence with a purpose."

"Our young men and women serving in uniform need to understand that old Vern Clark is not wed to heel-to-toe six-monthers anymore. By that, I mean the position that I'm pushing is that we should be less interested in presence and more interested in presence with a purpose," the CNO recently told the Navy Times Editorial Board.

Clark added that flexible deployment schedules for more battle groups could provide a more meaningful presence than one battle group on a standard six-month deployment.

"I would rather muster two battle groups for three months and do something really significant internationally, and cooperate with partners in training and so forth, than to just go over and hang out for six months without a purpose and just kind of mark time," Clark said.

According to the CNO, in warfare, where predictability is a liability, a surgable fleet will be a less predictable fleet.

"We've been so predictable," Clark said. "I think we ought to present potential enemies with a lot more uncertainty about where we just might show up."

The CNO added that the Fleet Response Plan will change the way that ships are maintained, keeping them at a higher state of readiness during their surge windows.

"For our people, this will be a different and a better experience for them. It will be better in that living through shipyard is a tough time in the life of a ship," Clark said. "Will it be challenging because it's different? Of course, it will. Change, and figuring out better ways to do things is always challenging, but it also is what our people respond to so well."

The Fleet Response Plan will maximize the Navy's ability to respond and will be the most efficient use of the taxpayer's money, Clark told the editorial board.

"All of our programs, all of our policies, all of our decisions, our approaches to leadership, it has to be good for Sailors, and it's got to be good for the taxpayer."

To read an edited transcript of the CNO's remarks at the Navy Times Editorial Board, go to www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/speeches/clark-ntedbd.txt.

For related news, visit the Chief of Naval Operations Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cno.

For more on the CNO, go to to www.navy.mil/navydata/cno/index.html.

Adm. Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, (CNO) speaks to surface warship Sailors of USS Mobile Bay (CG 53), USS Benfold (DDG 65) and USS Shiloh (CG 67) during an All Hands Call at Naval Base San Diego
Official U.S. Navy file photo of Adm. Vern Clark speaking to surface warship Sailors. Clark recently discussed the Fleet Response Plan, which will change the way ships deploy and ensure a "presence with a purpose."
May 20, 2003
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