VENICE (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson attended the 10th Regional Seapower Symposium (RSS) for the Navies of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries host by the Italian Navy in Venice, Italy Oct. 22.
Richardson participated in a panel discussion which focused on the symposium's main theme, "Enhancing maritime security in the wider Mediterranean."
The event included two sessions, the first focusing on the wider spectrum of maritime challenges, while the second focused on improving maritime security through dialogue and cooperation.
CNO, on the tail end of a nearly two-week international trip, cited the insight he gained from his discussions with U.S. Naval forces and international counterparts.
"What becomes clear on such a trip is that in each place that is stopped, there is a growing sense of the importance of the maritime domain as a global system that seamlessly and effectively connects global nations," said Richardson. "Our economies, our people, our access to resources, our markets all flow on the superhighway that we call part of the global commons."
Richardson stated that the seas however are no longer the only medium that connects people around the world.
"There is a new system," said Richardson. "A vast global information network that also binds us together. As seamless as the oceans, with a structure and flow all its own."
He went on to add that one "only has to consider the explosion in cyber, electromagnetic and unmanned technologies to get a sense of what I am talking about."
Richardson stated that navies are fundamentally important to governing the increasing activity and competition occurring at sea.
"This is exactly the terrific work I saw being done by the multinational naval coalitions - by your navies - around the world," said Richardson.
CNO told those in attendance that there were three purposes of naval forces in the modern maritime domain: to promote and protect freedom of the seas; advocate for and demonstrate the benefits of international laws and standards; and to deter conflict and coercion.
Richardson closed by noting that there was one universal factor that served as the cornerstone of the day's discussions regarding the security environment and technical possibilities.
"As it's been said in a couple of the lectures already, at the end of the day this is a human endeavor, fueled by trust and confidence."
RSS is the leading forum in the wider Mediterranean region, hosting the largest gathering of navy leaders, organizations and agencies with a key role in the maritime dimension. This year's event was attended by 49 navies and 10 organizations and agencies.
Richardson became the 31st CNO, Sept. 18, serving as the Navy's most senior officer, a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and a principal advisor to the Secretary of the Navy, Secretary of the Defense and the President.
A full transcript of Richardson's remarks can be found HERE.