Admiral Roughead Speaks
Our Navy is in trouble, suffering through the birthing pains of a new century while grappling with antiquated shipyards and outdated procurement practices. Put bluntly, it is facing total obsolescence in a new era it has yet come to terms with. Don’t just take my word for it though. Listen to some select quotes from the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Gary Roughead’s speech at the Current Strategy Forum on June 8:
On Outsourcing Naval Security:
But we alone don’t need to cover all the worlds’ waterways against the many different threats. After all, global commons ought to be served by a global response. This is where are partnership fits in- specifically global maritime partnerships…
On Declining Naval Assets and Support Structure
In the past, as we entered a downturn in the defense budgets we could rely on a Fleet that had been built in the upturn, we could rely on a resilient industrial base that could weather the lean years. We could even rely on the personnel base that was either large enough to solve any problem through sheer manpower or a personnel base that could be significantly reduced without a significant effect.
But in this downturn, it is different. This time is different for the Navy.
This time it is different because we are the smallest Navy that we ever been since 1916.
This time it is different because the Fleet shrank in the last period of budget growth.
This time it is different because we have a strategy of engagement of being out and about, a strategy that requires us to be at more places in the world.
This time it is different because high-tech threats are proliferating at a faster and faster rate and they are simply not proliferating among nations, but they are proliferating to non-state actors.
This time it is different because our industrial base, which in the last downturn consisted of six major shipbuilding corporations now consists of two.
This time it is different for us in the Navy where we depend on our nuclear powered aircraft carriers and submarines- that part of the industrial base at one point had eight corporations and now it is down to two.
This time it is different because we have already reduced our personnel numbers by 16 percent and we saw a commensurate rise in cost by 13 percent when we did that. But I would also tell you where as that may all seem negligible, this time it is different because we have the best Sailors I have ever served in my 40 years in the Navy…
Questioning current building practices
We must ask if our procurement process is adequate for the environment in which we live, where we let a contract on a ship move rapidly- seven to 10 years to deliver that ship…
On the Need for Navies
Our Navy is very different than the larger U.S. navies of the past. And while our Navy is very different, and much smaller, we are also facing a new emerging order that I believe requires more naval power.