29th Annual Salute to the Military

Remarks by Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Mississippi Coast Coliseum Convention Center Biloxi, MS Tuesday, October 16, 2007


Mr. Chairman (Congressman Gene Taylor), I can’t tell you how glad I am to be here this evening.  Thank you for your kind introduction, and thank you for your many years of strong support for the U.S. military.

From my point of view, the Navy and Marine Corps are fortunate to have such a consistently effective advocate on Capitol Hill.

A special thanks is also due to the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring this event.

The military services are stronger, more committed, and more highly motivated than ever as a result of your enthusiastic support.

I understand profoundly the sense of gratitude you feel towards our military, and I believe America should never pass up an opportunity to honor those who serve.

I feel very privileged, indeed, to have been asked by Secretary of Defense Gates to be here today to tell you why the heart of every patriotic American swells with pride at the mere mention of the courage and sacrifice of those who wear the uniform under our Nation’s  banner.

It is fitting that this event has found a home in Biloxi, a city with unique charms, and a place that has much in common with the many small towns and rural areas of this region in its long tradition as the birthplace of military heroes.

As you heard earlier this evening, one of our guests of honor was taken ill and is unable to join us.

I was very much looking for to seeing Jack Lucas, and we wish him well.

Although he is not here in body, he is here with us in spirit, and I do wish to honor his extraordinary contributions to our Nation.

The story of Jack Lucas—that you heard a little bit of earlier—almost defies belief.

It is impossible to keep a dry eye when hearing the tale of his almost superhuman determination to serve his country in World War II and distinguish himself on the battlefield.

Immortalized in the recent book “Indestructible,” the Jack Lucas story is a story about the heart of a warrior.

By his own account, he was a troubled kid.  He was rebellious by nature and who loved to fight.

He was a young man with an attitude.

But he was also a young man who had been “reared with a profound love of country.”

A son of the South, Jack’s upbringing was by no means unusual in that regard.

And if the number of those from this part of the country who volunteer to join the military is any indication, that spirit is still alive and well in the South.

The rest of the Jack Lucas story is now famous—how Private Lucas managed to find a way to get himself into combat, ending up on Iwo Jima, throwing himself on a grenade while grabbing a second grenade and pulling it beneath his body, thus saving the lives of three fellow Marines.

At 17, Private Jack Lucas, by his heroic actions, entered history by becoming the youngest Marine ever to receive the Medal of Honor.

All of us feel very humbled in the face of such extraordinary courage, enormous sacrifice, and selfless heroism.

All we can do is thank him—and resolve to do all we can to make America worthy of his sacrifice.

Few of us could ever hope to be equal to such an amazingly high standard of valor, but I daresay that those who follow in his footsteps—Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Guardsmen and reserves, from Biloxi and surrounding areas—are doing work that ought to make all of us very proud.

They are serving as Seabees, meteorologists, electronics technicians, computer specialists, civil engineers, combat readiness trainers, pilots, aircraft mechanics, and countless other specialties across the services at Keesler, in Gulfport, at the Stennis Space Center, and at various military activities throughout the Gulf Coast region.

Now, while Biloxi is not a fleet concentration center by the normal Navy definition, it surely is a Defense Department-wide concentration center.

All branches of the military services in this area of the country can be considered indispensable, vital components of the war effort.

It is worth noting that the very same

Marine Corps Reserve unit at the

Marine Reserve Detachment Center in Gulfport that used heavy gear to rescue stranded  civilians

from rooftops after Katrina has twice deployed to Iraq.

Similarly, the same Seabees who supported recovery efforts after Katrina are the Seabees that are routinely deployed to Iraq—many as part of units that have completed multiple tours.

Nearly 50 percent of the local National Guard have deployed to Iraq.

The Combat Readiness Training Center in Gulfport is also a critical element in our warfighting capability.

Many other units have an impact far beyond what the public may realize.

To take just one example among many, the Air Force’s 81st  Training Wing at Keesler, which trained more than 27,000 students last year, has an enormous impact on our warfighting capability in the air.

Everywhere you look—all along the Gulf Coast, you find highly specialized units filling requirements that perform a critical function in our nation’s defense.

However, as Secretary of the Navy and taking note of the Navy’s 232nd birthday—which we just celebrated this past weekend—it would seem appropriate for me to mention the contributions of another sort that are equally vital to the Navy—and to our future.

I am referring to the contributions that many of you here make as members of our industrial base.

Those contributions are especially critical to the Navy’s shipbuilding program.

Our troops could not do what they do without your efforts to build and maintain the fleet.

You are following in the tradition of your fathers and grandfathers of the Gulf Coast region, who helped our Nation prevail in World War II by responding with patriotic fervor.

Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Co., Gulf Shipbuilding, Ingalls Shipbuilding Corp., Delta Shipbuilding and Avondale Marine Ways were among the U.S. shipyards that produced

4,600 ships for the war effort.

Ingalls alone, by June 1945, had built more than 70 ships.

Today, in similar fashion, you are helping us win the war on global jihadists, and preparing for future challenges tomorrow as America’s shipbuilders.

We must maintain a dual focus—on future threats, and on the threats facing us today.

The contributions to our Nation’s defense—from those I have mentioned tonight and so many others—allow us to sleep safely at night.

They are the ones who are standing in the way of those who, today, openly seek our destruction.

Our terrorist enemies wish to change our way of life.

Our freedom offends them.

Our belief that the people are sovereign violates their creed.

Our desire to live and let live finds no sympathy.

Our expressions and gestures of goodwill are mocked—and perceived as signs of weakness.

There is no reconciliation, no common ground, with people of such disposition.

And so, defend ourselves, we must.

We must rise to the challenge that faces us, and act boldly in freedom’s cause.

In some ways, the struggle for freedom is as old as human history, and has continued from age to age, and generation to generation.

As Americans—who are pioneers in this epic battle between the forces of freedom and the forces of tyranny—we instinctively recoil at threats to our freedom.

Nevertheless, we should heed the advice of President Ronald Reagan, who reminded us that, and I quote:

“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction.

It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people.  Those who have known freedom and lost it, have never known it again.”

All of us are standing on the shoulders of those brave patriots who have fought and died for our freedom, so that we may enjoy the blessings of liberty declared in our Declaration of Independence and now claimed as our birthright.

I would like to now ask our veterans here tonight to please stand.

When Americans honor “those who shall have borne the battle,” we pay tribute to you and to all those who have taken up the call as champions of freedom.

You provide inspiration to those serving today, and to those who will serve tomorrow—including eight Young Marines, with us here tonight as our special guests.

Thank you for your service and your sacrifice.

You, and all those who serve today, have dedicated your lives to a great and worthy cause, and all of us are in you debt.

Thank you; may God bless you and America.


Posted in Navy | Leave a comment

18th Biennial International Seapower Symposium

Remarks by Donald C. Winter  Secretary of the Navy

Naval War College Newport, RI Thursday, October 18, 2007


Admiral Roughead, thank you for that kind and generous introduction.  It is a great pleasure to have you as our Chief of Naval Operations, and I look forward to working with you over the next year to further the interests discussed at this conference.

I am very pleased to be here today, and pleased to see such a strong turnout of naval leadership on the part of those representing nearly all the nations of the world with maritime interests.

This conference is a unique forum for maritime nations to discuss the many issues that impact the security and prosperity of every nation.

I have had an opportunity over the past two years to visit many of your countries, and engage with the maritime forces of nations in virtually every region of the world.  I understand the value of engagement, and I am fully supportive of pursuing cooperative partnerships as we go forward.

Today’s challenges call for a re-assessment of our maritime strategy.

Many obvious changes in the strategic picture have occurred since the end of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall.  And yet, many of the strategic imperatives of the United States—particularly with respect to the maritime component of the strategic equation—remain unchanged.

The Navy’s bedrock obligation to the American people to support and defend the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, foreign and domestic, requires that we maintain a Navy with certain indispensable attributes. Worldwide presence, credible deterrence and dissuasion capability, an ability

to project power from Naval platforms anywhere on the globe, and the ability to prevail at sea are the non-negotiable elements of the U.S. Navy’s strategic posture.

The realities of America’s interests and position in the world remain fixed.  The United States is a maritime power, bounded by the sea to the east and west.  The health of our economy depends on safe transit through the seas—and the trend in international 1commerce is ever upward.  The strength of a nation’s Navy remains an essential measure of a great power’s status and role in the world.

All these realities suggest that maritime dominance—which has been a cornerstone of U.S. military strategy since World War II—is still indispensable to America’s security interests.

Therefore, our maritime strategy reflects enduring strategic imperatives and interests.

This strategy builds upon changes that have already been underway for some time, and formally endorses operations that we are already carrying out.

The shift in focus from blue to green and brown water threats began in the 1990s.

This shift has resulted in a Navy and Marine Corps that is focused on the full spectrum of possible threats.

We must manage a portfolio of capabilities to defend against a range of threats—from criminals and terrorists at sea, to rogue nations, to potential competitors.

This array of threats complicates our task considerably.  Organizing, training, and equipping Naval forces in order to execute our core missions now requires an ability to meet the challenges posed by threats of unpredictable nature and geographic location.

And yet our core missions in the Joint fight are unaffected by this development.

Providing combat airpower, carrying out land attack missions, providing amphibious assault capability, providing military logistics, and executing strike missions at sea continue to be our raison d’etre.

Faced with these requirements, we are diversifying the fleet.  We are developing new littoral capabilities:  the first Riverine force since Vietnam has already been deployed to the Euphrates River.  We are conducting maritime security operations in the littorals of the Northern Arabian Gulf.  These operations are aimed at both protecting oil platforms and protecting shipping in and out of this vital body of water.

In shipbuilding, we are embarked on a program to build 55 Littoral Combat Ships, with two competing configurations scheduled for sea trials in the coming year.  Our 30-year shipbuilding program—which already reflects our plans for LCS—is unchanged; our aircraft procurement schedule remains on track; and our end strength targets will not change as a result of our new strategy.  There is no deviation from our plan to reach at least 313 ships, and maintain 11 nuclear-powered carriers, 48 SSN’s, and 14 SSBN’s.

Meanwhile, to better meet the challenges of the 21st century, our new maritime strategy also embraces new core capabilities in the areas of maritime security and humanitarian assistance.  Public discussion of our new maritime strategy has tended to focus on these particular elements of soft Naval power.  However, there should not be an over-emphasis on any one aspect of our strategy.

Let there be no mistake:  we are not walking away from, diminishing, or retreating in any way from those elements of hard power that win wars—or deter them from ever breaking out in the first place.

We do view cooperative engagement as essential to our maritime strategy.  But our increased emphasis on maritime partnerships and the “1000 ship Navy concept” is not a repudiation of the Mahanian insistence on U.S. Navy maritime dominance.

Yes, the size of the U.S. fleet today is, less than half the fleet size of only 20 years ago.  However, it would be a mistake to interpret that development as a lack of capability or intent to pursue our longstanding policy of maritime dominance.

The issue of assessing our Navy as a function of the number of ships vs. the capability of those ships is often debated.

Yes, presence matters.  It matters a lot.

But an almost exclusive focus on the number of ships in the fleet can be very misleading—even dishonest.

Capabilities also matter.

In fact, given a choice between the nearly 600-ship Navy of 20 years ago, and today’s fleet, I doubt there is anyone who would have the slightest hesitation in choosing our current fleet.

We have a surge capability today that did not exist before, thanks to a deliberate policy of increased investment in maintenance and sustainment—both of which are critical to readiness.  After all, having a ready fleet is better than having a larger fleet incapable of surging.

We have platforms with weapons system capabilities which are superior to those on ships in earlier fleets.  We have a lethality and flexibility in our surface, submarine, naval aviation, and expeditionary forces that have never been seen before.  The reality is 3that today’s combatants are second to none—particularly when compared to combatants of yesteryear.

We cannot afford to lessen our commitment to the Navy because we cannot escape the need for global presence, strategic deterrence, and an enhanced missile defense capability.  Moreover, I see no trends that call for any diminution in these strategic requirements.

Thus, Mahan’s principles still apply and still guide our thinking.  However, there was no way that one could have anticipated the range of concerns that energize Naval leaders today—weapons proliferation and the trafficking of arms, people, and narcotics.

There is also an aspect of protecting the maritime domain globally today that is different—the vulnerabilities to disruptions to the world economy are far greater than what anyone could have imagined.

Take the example of the suicide bomber attacks on ABOT — Iraq’s most important oil terminal — in April of ’04.  Even though the attack failed, it had repercussions on world markets.  The price of oil immediately spiked, and insurance rates skyrocketed, costing the world’s economy billions of dollars.  Even those who had no ties to that oil—who were neither producers nor consumers of oil coming from those platforms—were significantly affected.

* * *

We worry about what happens in the Mediterranean Sea, in the Gulf of Guinea, in the Caribbean, on the great expanses of the Pacific Ocean—and everywhere in between.

The issue is not simply a matter of energy resources, but legal and illegal trafficking, weapons smuggling, and economic lifelines to every nation.

Mahan looked at choke points such as Panama, Suez, and Gibraltar.

Today, however, the number of vulnerable points in the global economy is enormous, and the potential impact is huge.

Getting to the level of security we desire would require not a 600-ship Navy, or even a 1000-ship Navy.  We would need thousands of ships to police all the world’s sea lanes—an impossible task for any one nation.

With 315,000 miles of coastline—enough to circle the globe 12 times—we must find a way to keep the sea lanes open against threats from terrorists, pirates, and nations not committed to upholding the international order.

We must recognize that we have fundamental dependencies—all of us.  The fact is, we are dependent on a secure maritime environment.  We have seen that massive dislocations can be caused by interrupting a very small fraction of the oil market, but other key commodities can be similarly affected.

World markets are very efficient today.  We have very little excess capacity, and capital gets reallocated quickly to its most efficient use.  Such efficiency raises productivity and standards of living—but leaves us very vulnerable to minor perturbations in the world market.

Thus, we are living not just in an age of asymmetric warfare, but of unprecedented global interdependence.

We must guard against the clandestine expansion of nuclear networks, terrorist attacks at sea, hostage-taking at sea, and maritime banditry.

Since we cannot patrol every choke point or platform target, or intercept every ship that is in violation of international law, we can only have maritime security if all nations come together to enforce a peaceful environment in their own region.  This partnering with other nations is an opportunity to learn from each other, share unique knowledge and experience, improve our interoperability, increase transparency, and build trust between our Navy and the maritime forces of every nation.

I saw these results during my visits to Ghana, Djibouti, Guatemala, and many other countries over the past 2 years, all of which reinforced in my mind the importance of our cooperative efforts.  Our partnerships with other nations enhance our security when our interests are in common, and therefore we will continue to pursue them wherever possible.

* * *

In closing, I would like to share an anecdote about my office that is highly relevant to this discussion of our maritime strategy.

It is common for U.S. Secretaries to have a portrait in their office of a former Secretary whom they hold in high regard.  I have a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt in my office.  I consider him an inspiration.

Theodore Roosevelt, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and later, of course, the 26th President of the United States, was a passionate believer in the virtue of Naval power.

Roosevelt understood that no fine-sounding words, no treaty, no gathering of diplomats expressing their peaceful intentions can forge diplomatic solutions without hard power to back them up.  Words not supported by the implicit understanding of what would follow—should words fail—are empty.

He lived by the credo.  And so should we.

Successful diplomacy is made possible by the capability evidenced by Naval power.  Our strategy reflects that message.

Thus, as we soon approach the 100th Anniversary of the sailing of Teddy Roosevelt’s Great White Fleet—which I look forward to celebrating with many of you over the coming year—it is appropriate to reflect upon his vision.

Combining both hard and soft aspects of Naval power, we are building the fleet of the future while also seeking to strengthen cooperative partnerships with traditional allies, and develop new partnerships with other maritime nations.

The future of the United States as a great nation depends on our continued maritime superiority, and long-term perspective, and a cooperative approach towards all nations who share the maritime domain.

Thank you.



Posted in Navy |

National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) Expeditionary Warfare Conference

Remarks by Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Bay Point Marriott Resort Panama City, FL Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Thank you, Steve, for that kind introduction.  I am pleased to be back again this year at this important conference, particularly in light of last week’s unveiling of our new Maritime Strategy at the International Seapower Symposium in Newport, RI.

The focus of my remarks at that event was on the invariance of America’s reliance on Naval power, and on our continued commitment to Naval dominance as the core element in our Maritime Strategy.

A full understanding of the evolving role of the Navy-Marine Corps team in the Joint fight must take into account all elements of our strategy.

It is perhaps understandable that most press attention—even before the release of the document—has focused on the new elements in our maritime strategy, specifically, the increased emphasis on maritime security and humanitarian assistance.

I fully support our maritime strategy, and I recognize the value of cooperative engagement and the potential of more extensive maritime security partnerships.

But there is a danger of misinterpretation here, and a number of analysts have drawn unwarranted conclusions about the implications of the Navy and Marine Corps’ embrace of cooperative engagement and humanitarian assistance as core elements of our strategy.

An evolving threat environment calls for an evolving response, but the strategic imperatives of the United States—particularly with respect to the maritime components of the strategic equation—remain unchanged.

The Navy and Marine Corps’ bedrock obligation to the American people to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, requires that we maintain Naval forces with certain indispensable attributes.

Worldwide presence, credible deterrence and dissuasion capability, an ability to project power from Naval platforms anywhere on the globe, and the ability to prevail at 1sea are the non-negotiable elements of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps’ strategic posture.

In other words, Navy and Marine Corps capabilities in the Joint fight remain our number one priority—and for good reason.

The realities of America’s interests and position in the world remain fixed.

The United States is a maritime power, bounded by the sea to the east and west.

The health of our economy depends on safe transit through the seas—and the trend in international commerce is ever upward.

The strength of a nation’s Navy remains an essential measure of a great power’s status and role in the world.

All these realities suggest that maritime dominance—which has been a cornerstone of U.S. military strategy since World War II—is still indispensable to America’s security interests.

Therefore, our maritime strategy reflects enduring strategic imperatives and interests that Naval forces are uniquely capable of supporting.

* * *

The unique value of the Navy-Marine Corps team and expeditionary capability has long been recognized.

That value, however, is at an even greater premium today due to the increased uncertainty and unpredictability of the current threat environment.

With land invasions across the Fulda Gap no longer primary planning scenarios, where to pre-position our forces defies obvious answers.

Threat uncertainty is compounded by coalition uncertainty, for we live in an era in which coalition partners may not be available as hoped or expected.

These uncertainties lead us to conclude that the ability to project power from Naval platforms has become even more indispensable to our ability to wage war in the Joint fight.

Reminders of that reality are all too frequent.

We must adjust our strategy accordingly.

Keep in mind that during the Cold War, our bases were largely established by treaty, which afforded us a higher level of certainty and reliability than we can count on today.

There was also a clear recognition on the part of most that we faced a common adversary who actively worked against our interests on every level.

Today, these conditions no longer obtain.

Adversaries and governments change, rendering base agreements problematic and introducing an element of chronic uncertainty to our calculations.

Some of our friends stretch the limits of the meaning of the word “ally,” and our relationships continue to surprise and disappoint at inopportune moments.

The net result is that the number of bases in fixed locations that we can completely rely on is increasingly limited.

Therefore, we must acknowledge our growing dependence on expeditionary warfare capability.

We believe that the rise in the number of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions, and the persistent desire to expand our engagement efforts with partner nations are not in conflict with our longstanding commitment to maintaining a posture of maritime dominance.

Rather, they add to and support our enduring objectives.

Soft power elements can help avoid war, and the benefits of engagement often emerge once war becomes necessary.

Soft power missions do not obviate the need for hard power.

We may execute such missions with greater frequency and with greater eagerness than in the past, but we are under no illusions regarding their role in the Joint fight.

* * *

We are not only seeing a growing need for expeditionary capability, we are seeing a need for Navy and Marine Corps capabilities across the full spectrum of operations.

The shift in focus from blue to green and brown water threats began in the 1990s.

This shift has resulted in a Navy and Marine Corps that is focused on a wide variety of possible threats.

We must manage a portfolio of capabilities to defend against a range of threats—from criminals and terrorists at sea, to rogue nations, to potential competitors.

This array of threats complicates our task considerably.

3Organizing, training, and equipping Naval forces in order to execute our core missions now requires an ability to meet the challenges posed by threats of unpredictable nature and geographic location.

And yet our core missions in the Joint fight are unaffected by this development.

Providing combat airpower, carrying out land attack missions far inland and for an extended period of time, providing amphibious assault capability, providing military logistics, and executing strike missions at sea continue to be our raison d’etre.

Faced with these requirements, we are diversifying the fleet.

We are developing new littoral capabilities:  the first Riverine force since Vietnam has already been deployed to the Euphrates River.

As we speak, those Riverine forces are patrolling waterways in harm’s way, providing presence, searching for weapons caches, and taking out terrorists who foolishly enter their domain.

The diversification of the fleet is reflected in our 30-year shipbuilding program, which our new maritime strategy does not change.

There is no deviation from our plan to reach at least 313 ships, including at least 32 amphibious platforms.

Some commentators have failed to mention that our shipbuilding program and core mission focus remain unchanged.

Instead, they have focused on particular elements of soft Naval power.

However, there should not be an over-emphasis on any one aspect of our strategy.

Let there be no mistake:  we are not walking away from, diminishing, or retreating in any way from those elements of hard power that win wars—or deter them from ever breaking out in the first place.

* * *

Our efforts to improve the expeditionary warfare elements of hard power are approaching a pivotal period.

A series of significant acquisition decisions will soon be made, and those decisions will largely define the future of our amphibious forces.

The decision-making process regarding EFV, MPF-Future, and JLTV and other key programs is now entering a critical phase.

4We are at the critical point where we need to decide what we really want to buy in the first place.

A systems engineering approach that optimizes fleet capabilities is the key to making the right decisions, and we must ensure that we are buying the capabilities we truly want and need, both now and in the future.

In addressing these issues we must be mindful of the range of capabilities expected of our Navy-Marine Corps team.

The Marine Corps has and always will be our Nation’s rapid response force.

Holding territory and policing large areas are not core missions for Marines, and yet, the success of the Marines in turning around the dire situation in Iraq’s Al Anbar province has been truly impressive.

This success has been wrought from the flexibility and agility inherent in the Marine Corps – the same flexibility and agility we need to provide them in their future weapon systems.

We expect our Navy-Marine Corps team to continue to perform NEO’s, like they did last year in Lebanon.  We expect our team to continue to respond to disasters like the mud slides in the Philippines, and we expect them to continue performing special operations in the Global War on Terror.

And lastly, we expect the Navy-Marine Corps team to meet any challenge of the future, be it from a rogue nation or a potential near peer competitor.

The Navy-Marine Corps Team provides unique leverage in peacetime, lethal combat power in times of war, and great flexibility at all times.  To ensure we maintain this national asset, we must ensure that their fighting spirit is supported with weapons systems that are capable, reliable and sustainable.

* * *

Let me close by sharing an anecdote with you.

It is common for U.S. Secretaries to have a portrait in their office of a former Secretary whom they hold in high regard.  I have a portrait of Theodore Roosevelt in my office.  I consider him an inspiration.

Theodore Roosevelt, as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and later, of course, the 26th President of the United States, was a passionate believer in the virtue of Naval power.

Roosevelt understood that no fine-sounding words, no treaty, no gathering of diplomats expressing their peaceful intentions can forge diplomatic solutions without hard power to back them up.

Words not supported by the implicit understanding of what would follow—should words fail—are empty.

He lived by the credo.  And so should we.

Successful diplomacy is made possible by the capability evidenced by Naval power.

Our strategy reflects that message, and it is bolstered by the expeditionary warfare elements of hard power that the Navy-Marine Corps team can uniquely provide.

Expeditionary warfare capability provides enormous leverage in diplomacy, and it is and always will be indispensable in the Joint fight.

As we move forward, keep your eye on the big picture.  Never forget that the purpose of the Navy and Marine Corps is to support the Joint fight, and to win our Nation’s wars.

Thank you, and may God bless America.




Posted in Navy |

Cupertino Veterans Memorial Dedication Ceremony

Remarks by Donald C. WinterSecretary of the Navy

Memorial Park Cupertino, CA Sunday, November 11, 2007


Mayor Wang, Ms. James, the Axelson and Suh families, distinguished guests, veterans, ladies and gentlemen, today the citizens of Cupertino have come together to honor and thank hometown heroes, and veterans from across the country.

It speaks very highly of the people of Cupertino to have gathered here on this day of remembrance to recognize not only the great contributions and sacrifice of local hero Matthew Axelson, but of all the Nation’s veterans.

Of all the official duties I perform and ceremonies I attend, there is nothing so humbling, so moving, and so inspiring as those which bring me in personal contact with the heroes who have made such great sacrifices on our behalf, and with the families that

have nurtured them and supported them throughout the years.

When Donna Axelson asked me if I would come here to speak at this event, no request could have left me feeling more honored, or more eager to pay public tribute to her son and his fallen teammates, and the company of heroes they have joined in God’s eternal domain.

* *  *

Remembering the fallen is our duty.

This memorial will serve as a reminder to citizens today, and to future generations, that our liberty is never free, but comes at a cost.

A very high cost.

Those who have served, and, in particular, paid the ultimate sacrifice, in the defense of the Nation, deserve to have their stories told.

Those in government responsible for the safety and welfare of the people they represent, in turn, owe the citizenry an accounting—an explanation for why the fate of

the Nation is dependent on the willingness of patriots to take up arms and defend the blessings of liberty that we enjoy.

And so today we would do well to consider the history of Veterans Day, and reflect on matters of war and peace.

* * *

In 1918, at the end of World War I, on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, an armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect.

For that reason, 11 am, November 11, 1918 was widely regarded as the final hour of “the war to end all wars.”

Armistice Day was declared, and men of goodwill among the victorious powers vowed never to go to war again.

War was a thing of the past.

Nothing could possibly be worth the horrors of the world conflict known at the time as “The Great War.”

At long last, world peace was at hand.

* * *

It was not to be.

When Hitler’s army invaded Poland in September of 1939, the two decades of disarmament, the treaties and agreements outlawing war, the goodwill of millions of peace-loving citizens, all came to naught.

Preserving the hard-won peace was not as easy or as natural as people had hoped.

Those who failed to keep the peace should not have been surprised.

Nor should we.

Over the past two centuries, the only thing more common than predictions about the end of war has been war itself.

In 1968, two prominent historians calculated that there had been only 268 years free of war in the previous three and a half millennia.

War has been a persistent part of the human condition, however much we wish it were otherwise.

Because there is evil in the world, we must confront it.

That is the theme of the German theologian Martin Niemoller 1946 speech about our moral responsibility when confronted by evil, and I quote:

“First they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

* * *

Yes, some things are worth fighting for.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech in Detroit shortly before he died, asserted that “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”

King understood the sentiment of our Founding Fathers, that God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.

The country that emerged from our war of independence with the slogan, “Don’t tread on me!” adopted certain ideas about liberty that they were willing to fight for.

And when the republic was in danger, and the call to duty was sounded, the American people were always able to count on brave patriots to step forward and take up arms in defense of the land they loved.

Those patriots stand between our freedom and those who wage war against us, those who wish to impose their will on us, and those who wish to change our way of life.

Those are the patriots we honor today.

In World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Balkans, Desert Storm, Iraq, Afghanistan, and in operations in every theatre, they took a stand in opposition to aggression, and in opposition to the threats that we face.

Today our peace is threatened by global jihadists who openly seek our destruction.

The attacks of 9/11—which killed more Americans than were lost on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor, including, by the way,

49 Californians—were not the first terrorist attacks on the United States.

They were merely the most spectacular.

Those attacks were a wake-up call to America and to the West that it was time to fight back.

This war against our terrorist enemies has been costly.

It demands great sacrifice of those who take up arms under our Nation’s banner.

It also demands that our citizenry recognize that sacrifice—and support in word and deed the patriots who fight on our behalf.

There are many ways to serve our Nation, but those who serve in the military—and their families—make a unique sacrifice.

We owe it to them and to our country to let them know that we stand with them—always.

The citizens of Cupertino, inspired by the extraordinary heroism of so many American service members, past and present, have joined together to honor those patriots, and, with this memorial, offer a clear statement of support for those who have proudly worn the uniform in our nation’s defense.

This memorial is a fitting tribute to our veterans, and to the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsman from Cupertino, from the Bay area, from the State of California, and from all across America, who have given their lives so that others might live and enjoy the blessings of liberty.

Alongside this memorial is a beautiful sculpture depicting two warriors representing those of every service—our guardians, defenders of the Republic.

It is impossible to remain unmoved by the artist’s compelling representation of these two men.

He has brilliantly captured the drama, the heroic stature, dignified devotion to duty of warriors in combat.

Inspired by extraordinary heroism of Navy SEAL’s Matthew Axelson and James Suh, the sculpture is a powerful tribute to the silent bond between two brothers in arms and all that they represent—courage in the face of danger, esprit de corps, selfless sacrifice.

Many Americans do not know the story of Operation Redwing and the heroes that emerged from the tragic events that took place in Afghanistan in June 2005.

It is a story that cannot fail to leave one humbled, inspired, and moved to feel intense gratitude towards them, and towards all those who have served.

Matthew Axelson, James Suh, and all the SEAL’s and Special Operators who died so heroically and tragically in June 2005 in Afghanistan represent the best of their

generation, and they follow in the heroic footsteps of generations past.

They also join a long line of heroes from the Bay Area and from the great state of California.

The list of names of Californians who have earned the Medal of Honor, the Navy Cross, and similar awards from the other branches of military service is 37 pages long—and Santa Clara County alone is the home of eleven such heroes.

The same spirit of courage and patriotism of those who served in the past, who now serve today, and who will serve in the future, is vital to our destiny as a free Nation.

Legitimate disagreements about politics are the very essence of a free society.

But there should be no disagreement about those who serve—they have earned our respect and our gratitude.

Please allow me to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are with us today—veterans from World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Balkans, Desert Storm, ongoing operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and all of our campaigns.

I salute you for all you have done for our great country.

I speak for all patriotic Americans in saying that we deeply appreciate your service.

God bless our veterans, and may God continue to bless America.


Posted in Navy |

On the Occasion of the  100th Anniversary of the Great White Fleet Sailing USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71)

Remarks by Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Naval Station Norfolk Norfolk, VA Saturday, December 15, 2007


Admiral Roughhead, Admiral Greenert, distinguished guests, officers and crew of USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT, ladies and gentlemen, having this opportunity to pay tribute to a great president and an outstanding achievement in the history of the United States is a rare honor.

* * *

In our history, there have been moments when the hearts of the American people have been taken away in a wave of patriotic pride and joy.

Learning the news that World War II had finally ended, and that our soldiers were coming home.

Watching our television screens in awe as America made history by putting a man on the moon.

Watching fireworks in 1976, as a great nation celebrated 200 years of the most successful experiment in human liberty the world had ever known.

* * *

The awe-inspiring departure of the Great White Fleet nearly 100 years ago today was another such moment.

* * *

Patriotism—a genuine, deep feeling of attachment to and pride in America—pulled at the heartstrings of virtually every American in those days, and Teddy Roosevelt’s idea of sending 16 battleships on a cruise around the world captured the public imagination to an astonishing degree.

Theodore Roosevelt—famous today as the youngest president in U.S. history, the builder of the Panama Canal, the leader of the Rough Riders who charged up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War, and a figure of such eminence that his likeness is carved on Mount Rushmore—was even then considered a force of nature with a larger-than-life sized personality.

A man of many talents and possessed of indomitable will, he set a standard of energy and unflinching courage that still inspires admiration and awe.

He was also a thinker, a master strategist, and, of course, a passionate supporter of the Navy.

He recognized the unique role and value of the Navy.

His study of history convinced him from early on in his career that the strength of our Navy was inextricably tied to the fate of the nation.

America has been, is, and always will be a maritime nation with maritime interests.

Those interests must be and can only be defended by a strong navy, a branch of service which—by its very nature—encourages an international perspective.

Navies operate in peaceful fashion upon the high seas, and oceans have always been dominated by their international dimension.

Serving as a major medium of travel and communication, oceans connect nations wishing to engage each other, with navies serving a diplomatic function since the beginnings of recorded history.

Teddy Roosevelt built upon that tradition in proposing a cruise circumnavigating the globe of 16 U.S. battleships—the pride of our fleet.

* * *

The round-the-world tour had several purposes.

It was first and foremost a demonstration of U.S. Navy strength.

Riding high in the wake of the exploits of Admiral George Dewey in Manila Bay and our victory in the Spanish-American War, America was a nation eager to be recognized as a respected actor on the world stage.

Another important objective in TR’s mind was to rally U.S. public opinion in support of the Navy, and win over recalcitrant members of Congress who opposed his shipbuilding program.

The tour was also envisaged as a diplomatic outreach to foreign lands, particularly countries such as Australia and Japan, where U.S. Navy ships had seldom gone before.

A final rationale for the world cruise was operational, as Roosevelt, in a July 1907 2letter to Secretary of State Elihu Root, explained, and I quote:

“It is high time [that the fleet] should go on a cruise around the world.  In the first place I think it will have a pacific effect to show that it can be done; and in the next place,

. . . [it is] absolutely necessary for us to try in time of peace . . . , and not make the experiment in time of war.”

This extended, peacetime deployment set a precedent that helped define the United States Navy.

As a training exercise, it showed the value of testing and evaluating the fleet, and established a way of doing business that is still reflected in how we operate today.

Although today major fleet exercises are standard practice, we should remember that in 1907, an exercise of such magnitude was a novel idea—and even considered inordinately risky.

Roosevelt’s visionary idea took place during a period of tremendous technological change in virtually every aspect of weaponry and design.

Technological innovations in steam propulsion, the screw propeller, explosive shells, rifled canon, and armor plating changed the way ships operated and fought as the 20th century opened and the Great White Fleet prepared to set sail.

Battleships had only entered the fleet a little over a decade earlier, when the Indiana was commissioned in 1895.

Radio communications on ships were a new feature that revolutionized not only communications, but command and control.

The sixteen battleships that assembled here one hundred years ago were the product of a transformational period of modern warfare at sea.

The Great White Fleet not only is a technological milestone in American seapower, it also represents a defining moment in U.S. history in the way Americans saw their place in the world.

The world cruise fundamentally changed our defense posture from a posture dominated by a continental focus to an international perspective.

A fleet centered around battleships operating in blue water dramatically reoriented and enhanced the traditional coastal fleet that had protected our shores in the 3past, but which no longer met the challenges of a new century.

We have the irrepressible Theodore Roosevelt to thank for moving the Navy in a new, more forward-leaning direction that has served us well ever since.

* * *

From our perspective today, the fourteen-month journey of the Great White Fleet was an exceptionally notable achievement in Teddy Roosevelt’s presidency, and one that he himself considered a highlight.

Roosevelt saw an opportunity to make a bold statement—for domestic as well as foreign consumption—and he seized the moment.

His vision was clear—America as a respected world power, with a strong Navy leading the way.

The cruise was, by all accounts, a sensation, drawing rapturous, enthusiastic crowds at home and abroad, and generating boundless pride in the United States in the hearts of the American people.

The cruise also served as an early outreach effort to other nations, with port visits and diplomatic outreach wherever they sailed.

One year into the cruise, an unanticipated mission in response to a crisis also established a now long-standing U.S. Navy tradition in the area of disaster relief.

When a terrible earthquake struck Messina, Italy in December 1908, two ships responded to the news by diverting to Sicily and dispatching Sailors and Marines ashore to render humanitarian assistance to the victims of that disaster.

It should be noted that today—three generations later—this traumatic event is still remembered there, with grandparents telling their children and grandchildren about what transpired so long ago, and how their families were affected.

* * *

All the Navy’s capabilities on display during the 14-month deployment announced to the world that America was a both a world power and a maritime power.

Roosevelt—like George Washington and other great leaders before him—believed in peace through strength.

The whole point of showing strength is to avoid war.

He understood that a nation must show that it is willing and able to wage war and 4win, lest aggressors take advantage and exploit the weakness of other nations, as they have throughout history.

It is one of the timeless lessons from Teddy Roosevelt’s day that we would do well to keep in mind today.

* * *

Other important lessons also come to mind.

We have a need for a strong, standing Navy.

The Navy is a very capital-intensive enterprise, requiring long lead times and ships that are in service for decades.

Thus, the Navy, more than all the other services, must maintain a long-term perspective.

Roosevelt understood this, and the need to prepare the Navy well in advance of threats is a recurring theme in his writings.

If we wait until threats are fully in view to build the ships we need, we will have waited too long.

For this reason, it is necessary to sustain strong Congressional support for funding the Navy, support that is based on an informed populace that understands the necessity of long-term investments and planning.

* * *

In his 1906 letter to the Secretary of the Navy, he is emphatic about the role of public support for the Navy in a democracy:

“In a great self-governing republic like ours the army and navy can only be so good as the mass of the people wish them to be.”

The American people have to understand why it is vital to our security and to the protection of our interests to maintain a strong Navy-Marine Corps team—not only during wartime—but in times of peace.

The future of the United States as a great nation depends on our continued maritime superiority—and a long-term perspective.

Today, let us all reflect on Theodore Roosevelt’s vision and the lessons of the Great White Fleet world tour, and let us celebrate this great day in the history of the United States and its great Navy.

I look forward to celebrating with all of you the events being planned over the next fourteen months to commemorate the historic cruise conceived and brought to fruition by this ship’s namesake.

Thank you, God bless our Navy, and God bless America.



Posted in Navy |

Surface Navy Association National Symposium

Remarks by  Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Hyatt Regency Crystal City Hotel Arlington, VA Thursday, January 17, 2008


Admiral Green, thank you for that kind introduction.

It is a pleasure to be back here, surrounded by those who devote their lives to defending a great Nation, and those whose labors have produced the most powerful Navy the world has ever known.

This year’s symposium comes at a time when the United States Navy is celebrating a great milestone in our history—the round-the-world cruise of the Great White Fleet that departed Hampton Roads in December 1907 under the admiring gaze of its mastermind:  President Theodore Roosevelt.

I am a great admirer of Theodore Roosevelt, as anyone who has seen his portrait hanging in my office can attest.

I am an admirer of his not only for his many colorful maxims about speaking softly . . . ; for his legendary courage as leader of the Rough Riders at San Juan Hill as part of . . . well, let’s just say “another service” . . . ; but also for his record as a passionate advocate in support of building a stronger Navy—both as assistant secretary of the Navy and again as president.

When TR faced a Congress that was hostile to his ambitious shipbuilding plans, and members of Congress who opposed his astonishing idea to send 16 battleships—painted white—around the world, he was, as always, relentless, tireless, and passionate in making his case for the Navy.

He prevailed.

President Roosevelt’s audacious idea of sending the fleet around the world was conceived in order to accomplish two major goals:

First of all, send a message to the world that America had arrived as a world power with global reach; and secondly,

Test and evaluate the fleet.

1There is a legend that his admirals had repeatedly assured him that the circumnavigation could be done.

The former assistant secretary of the Navy—who always loved to verify things with his own eyes since the time he was a child—finally said to them:  “Prove it.”

They did, and the surface Navy has been operating around the world ever since.

* * *

This experience from 100 years ago is still relevant to today because it provides us with three timeless lessons.

One, peace is achieved and preserved through strength.

Two, the Navy—more than any other service—must adopt a long-term perspective.

And three it is necessary to maintain public support for a strong Navy during peacetime.

When the Navy gets the call, it is too late to think about building the fleet.

The time to build is when peace reigns, and threats are but dimly perceived.

Maintaining a position of maritime dominance—which has been a cornerstone of

U.S. military strategy since World War II—remains vital to our national security, to our position in the world, and to our ability to defend our interests.

* * *

Assembled in this room is an impressive gathering of those playing a leading role in maintaining the Navy’s readiness for the Joint fight.

Providing combat airpower, carrying out land attack missions, providing amphibious assault capability, providing military logistics, and executing strike missions at sea continue to be your raison d’etre.

As you are all well aware, we face variety of threats that range across the spectrum—from pirates to transnational threats to rogue nations to countries that may aspire to achieve peer competitor status.

Moreover, we face an uncertain future in terms of both geography and the nature of the threat we are likely to confront.

Such uncertainty necessitates the maintenance of a broad spectrum of both highend and low-end capabilities that encompass blue, green, and brown water missions.

Some missions—counter-piracy, for example—can be satisfied with low-end capabilities.

But with 70 percent of the earth’s surface covered by water, 80 percent of the world’s population living near the world’s coastlines, and 90 percent of the world’s international commerce transported by sea, presence is more critical than ever.

Presence matters, and for low-end capability missions such as counter-piracy and many other maritime security missions, it may be the dominant consideration.

At the same time, some potential threats necessitate high-end capabilities that must match constant improvements in technology, as we have seen, for example, in Chinese submarines and missiles.

In the fleet of the future, we will need Ford class carriers with their global reach.

We will need Virginia class submarines, San Antonio class amphibious platforms, and other combatants with high-end capabilities.

And, we must balance capabilities and presence.

To achieve this balance, we will need more affordable ships such as Littoral Combat Ships that can be tailored to the variety of missions we must be ready to carry out in the vast littoral regions.

These diverse requirements call for more ships, but also the right ships to ensure that we have a proper balance between mission, platform capability, and presence.

Our shipbuilding plans for the future provide the balance we need.

They reflect a trade-off between operational needs, cost, and the need to maintain the industrial base over the long-term.

The health of the industrial base is a vital security interest to the Navy, which revolves around capital-intensive investments with long lead times.

We need government and industry to work together to achieve our shipbuilding plan in a transparent and deliberate fashion.

The Navy is making changes in the requirements process—trying to better define early in the process what we need.

But we also need industry to develop investment strategies that optimize support to the Navy’s shipbuilding plan.

We understand within the Department—and we are making the case on the Hill—3that we must provide industry with the proper incentives to make the long-term investments we need.

We must improve Navy and industry alignment over the long-term—for the health of both.

That alignment must also include a much greater focus on quality.

We need cost-effective, quality ships, produced in a timely manner.

To maintain our critical presence worldwide, we need ships that are available when needed and that are able to perform with high reliability over lengthy deployments, without requiring extensive maintenance periods.

We must do better, and the future of the Navy is dependant on our ability to meet this challenge.

* * *

In closing, the fleet of the future must respond to a spectrum of challenges such as providing maritime security in the Northern Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Guinea, projecting power 8,000 miles from our shores, and taking advantage of the unique capabilities and leverage provided by embarked Marines.

It is a great time to be in the Navy.

With so many new platforms in development and production, with the increasing attention being paid to maritime security among nations, and with the ever-increasing rise of seaborne global commerce, the need for a more capable Navy is greater than ever.

Today, the Navy is key to our destiny as a world power—just as it was in Theodore Roosevelt’s day.

The surface warfare community—because of the diverse roles and missions it is assigned—understands this profoundly.

Every day at sea and every deployment overseas is a demonstration of the unique value of the Navy in defending our Nation’s interests.

Thank you for all you do, and may God bless America.



Posted in Navy |

National Society of Black Physicists and  National Society of Hispanic Physicists Joint Annual Conference

Remarks by Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of Navy

Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington, DC Friday, February 22, 2008


Dr. Williams, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for inviting me to speak to you today.

It is always a pleasure to spend time with fellow physicists, both because it is a reminder of my younger days, and because, at last, I can tell physics jokes that will be sincerely appreciated.

Back when I was a graduate student in physics at the University of Michigan, we did use to joke about how quickly science advanced, and how that could pose potential problems.

For example, we used to say that if you are a graduate student working on quantum optics, then the field would be dead by the time you got your Ph.D.

Even worse, if you were to start over with a new thesis topic, the new field would also be dead by the time you get your Ph.D. . . .

There is some truth to that anecdote, and from the Navy’s perspective, rapid changes in technology can have a huge impact on the capabilities of our ships, which take up to a decade to build and design, and which are expected to remain in service for several decades.

So physics, in that sense, was an excellent preparation for this job, as I am frequently reminded that technological obsolescence is a danger that can afflict not only graduate students in physics, but Navy programs as well.

* * *

Today, I would like to talk to you about the physics-trained mind, and how much the physics-trained mind is needed in the Navy and Marine Corps.

Now, I understand that many of you here today are still graduate students of physics, with varying degrees of ambition to obtain the PhD.

Your status as students reminds me of the predicament that Nobel Prize-winning physicist Murray Gell-Mann once found himself in.

Faced with a choice between going to MIT or committing suicide, Gell-Mann pondered these divergent paths.

In his words, “A little reflection convinced me that I could try MIT and then commit suicide later if I wanted to, but not the other way around.”

The process, a student of mathematics or physics might say, is not commutative.

Now here is the physics-trained mind at work.

As a card-carrying physicist, I know that physicists have a particular way—an approach—of dealing with society’s problems.

It is often said of a lawyer that he “thinks like a lawyer.”

The same can be said of an engineer, a businessman, or an economist.

It is worth noting that economics is known—perhaps unfairly—as the “dismal science.”

After all, human wants are unlimited, whereas resources are characterized by scarcity.

The physics-trained mind, on the other hand, is driven by the urge to solve seemingly impossible problems.

It also gives one a keen appreciation for the role—and value—of failure.

As Freeman Dyson, one of the more celebrated physicists of the 20th century, observed:

“You can’t possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures.  It’s a universal rule.  If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found one that really worked.  You could never design a bicycle theoretically.  Even now, after we’ve been building them for 100 years, it’s very difficult to understand why a bicycle works—it’s even difficult to formulate it as a mathematical problem.  But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and error was essential.”

Physics provides a person with a mechanism of thinking, and physics training provides one with an ability to adapt.

Once you have mastered the fundamentals of physics, you have a better perspective on the technology of the moment, which may be critical today, but of little value in the future.

This lesson has been applied to my own career, which has taken me into a wide range of areas.

My doctoral dissertation was in the field of coherent optics.

But my professional focus since then has shifted into areas as disparate as analyzing re-entry vehicles for ICBM’s, to developing sonar processors for sonobuoys, to building satellites for surveillance and reconnaissance missions.

Needs and technologies change.

But the fundamentals of the discipline do not.

Well, most of the time.

Notwithstanding the discoveries of an Einstein, a Neils Bohr, or a Murray GellMan that fundamentally change our understanding of physics from time to time, the fundamentals of the science will always serve you well in tackling complex problems.

I have not done physics, per se, in a long time.

But I have been able to use the thought processes and perspective of physics training in the jobs I have held.

One of the most valuable, I have found, is that it gives you the ability to immediately raise the—this is a family venue so I will use the G-rated euphemism—“BS flag” in meetings when someone is not making scientific sense.

This can come in quite handy, and save a lot of time as well.

The physics-trained mind also provides you with an appreciation for the difficulty of various technological challenges, such as the anti-satellite test that the Chinese conducted in January 2007.

The layman may not fully realize the significance of such events, how to evaluate that technology relative to other technological breakthroughs, or what the success of such a test portends.

Deep scientific understanding is acquired by relatively few people, and intellectual rigor is a valuable commodity.

The Navy is a science and technology-intensive organization, and physics is central to almost everything we do.

The challenge is to find great minds that are captivated by the beauty and power of physics, and lure them into careers that benefit the Navy, either in government service or in the private sector.

As you all know, it takes great discipline and a long time to earn a PhD in physics.

The opportunity cost of another year in graduate school—living on student loans and living a Spartan, and perhaps solitary existence—rises with each passing year, as the siren song of well-paying jobs in industry beckons.

The temptation to abandon one’s studies and earning one’s keep is difficult to resist.

The statistics compiled by the National Science Foundation bear that out.

In 2004, the number of doctoral degrees in physics in the United States was only 1,186.

Less than half of those were earned by U.S. citizens—559.

This is significant, as non-U.S. citizens are generally not eligible for security clearances, and are thus not part of the talent pool that the Navy can recruit from for the physicists we need.

We are finding a greater and greater percentage of seats taken by foreign students, particularly in the technical fields.

Not long ago I had an opportunity to visit the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai, which has since become somewhat famous in the U.S. as a result of the “60 Minutes” story on IIT that recently aired.

I was extremely impressed by not only the quality of the faculty at IIT, but the intensely competitive and serious environment at the school.

The average entering student there had two years of calculus which is more than most high schools in the U.S. even offer.

Many IIT graduates then move to the U.S., recruited by some of our top corporations and universities.

We encounter the same phenomenon with other foreign-trained students—from China, South Korea, and elsewhere across the globe, who then become extremely marketable in the competition for top talent in the U.S. economy.

The field of physics—and our nation—have benefited enormously from foreign students, as anyone familiar with the work of Einstein, Enrico Fermi, and Robert Oppenheimer and so many others can attest.

But we must cultivate homegrown talent as well, give American students the superb preparation that IIT and other foreign students receive, and produce our own generation of physicists who can advance the frontiers of science.

Doing so is vital to the security of the United States.

Whether in space, at sea, or in cyber-space, potential enemies and rising powers are investing heavily in technology that will challenge us in the years ahead.

If we expect to remain the preeminent military power, and if we expect to be equal to the challenge that engineers and scientists in China, India, and other rising powers will present, we will have to do a better job of finding students with the talent and the drive to become physicists.

Thomas Friedman, in “The World Is Flat,” writes at length about the extent of our decline in science and engineering relative to other nations that have made investment in the sciences a national priority.

With high tech skills increasingly transportable, and our economy increasingly knowledge-based, we would do well to heed the warnings that he and others have sounded.

One way we must do that is by expanding the pool of applicants, and reaching out to communities that have been overlooked too often in the past.

We cannot afford to ignore the potential contributions of African-Americans and Hispanics in the United States, and it is imperative that we do a better job in recruiting and nurturing top talent throughout our society.

With U.S. Census Bureau projections that the United States may be a majority minority country by 2050, it is clear that we will need to make inroads in communities under-represented in the field.

The current situation is a significant problem—to our disadvantage.

Consider again the figure 559, which is the number of American citizens who earned a PhD in physics last year.

Of those, exactly 13 were earned by black students, and 13 by Hispanic students.

We must do better.

We need you.

And you are the ones who can help.

All of you can leave here today with three ideas about how you can do your part in helping us find the people we need.

Recruit; mentor; lead by example.

As physicists you have already shown admirable commitment and courage in pursuing a challenging career path.

Go out and recruit others to join the fraternity of physicists to which all of you belong.

Engage with young students by encouraging them to go into teaching math and science, participate in science fairs in your local community, and volunteer your time to tutor students who have a thirst to learn science.

Tell your friends, your colleagues, and those whom you meet in your professional capacity about the rewards of physics, and about the opportunities that a physics background can provide.

But recruiting someone to pursue a graduate degree in physics is not enough.

You can recruit numbers, but—as you all know—that cannot get someone through.

For every proud graduate with a diploma in physics in hand, probably nine others who started the program with him did not stay with it until the end.

Those you recruit should be told that it must be driven by them.

If they do not want it, they will not get it.

But there is something that you can do to help prospective candidates that you recruit—mentor.

Sometimes encouragement can make all the difference.

Go out and recruit—and then mentor those whom you have an opportunity to help during their long journey to graduation.

Mentorship helps, and it can be one of the most personally rewarding time investments you will ever make.

Finally, after recruiting and mentoring, lead by example.

You are already serving as role models for others, particularly in minority communities in which a life in science may be far from what most students would ever imagine.

The trailblazers that have come before you—Edward Alexander Bouchet, Willie Hobbs Moore, Harry L. Morrison, Arthur BC Walker, Frances Cordova, and many others—have led the way, showing what is possible with hard work and determination.

Now it is your turn to let your personal example lead others to reach their potential in the field of physics.

Seeing your success, and knowing that others have faced the struggles that they now face, will inspire them to choose—and stick with—a similar path.

Recruit, mentor, and lead by example.

We need you—and we need others whose lives can be touched by your example. By reaching out to those who are now in your shoes, weighing the decision to continue their studies in physics, you can make a great contribution to minority communities, to the Navy, and to the Nation.

From sonar to missile defense to nuclear power, the Department of the Navy is an organization that leverages technology and physics for its success.

In today’s world of terrorist challenges, and great uncertainty regarding future threats, we need you more than ever.

Best of luck to all of you as you pursue lives in an exciting field, and may all of you have the courage to dare greatly with your physics-trained minds.

Thank you.


Posted in Navy |

Before the Senate Armed Services Committee

Opening Statement of The Honorable Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Washington, D.C.  28 February 2008


Chairman Levin, Senator Warner, members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

I am here to present the Department of the Navy’s plan to support our Sailors and Marines in their mission to defend our Nation against current and future challenges.

The President’s Fiscal Year 09 Budget will assist the Navy and Marine Corps in accomplishing their complimentary and reinforcing missions, while building capabilities necessary to meet future threats.

* * *

One of the primary responsibilities of our government is to provide for the Nation’s defense.

Those responsibilities include the critical requirement to organize, train, and equip our Naval forces.

For the vast majority of citizens the only cost imposed on us is financial.

America is able to provide for the national defense with such a minimal impact on the citizenry because we are blessed to have among us a generation of people—patriots all—who volunteer to serve.

They are the ones who bear many hardships, accept many risks, and go in harm’s way.

The pay and benefit funding levels in our 09 budget request reflect the compensation levels necessary to continue to attract and retain quality personnel in the Navy and Marine Corps.

Furthermore, although we are doing well in our overall recruiting and retention numbers, I emphasize the need for special pays and bonuses to meet critical subspecialty needs such as our requirements for nurses, physicians, and explosive ordnance disposal personnel.

1  It is because of the hard work of our Sailors and Marines that we are making progress fostering maritime security, defeating terrorist networks, progressing towards a stable Iraq, supporting the Afghan government, countering piracy and the proliferation of deadly technology, rendering humanitarian assistance, and strengthening partnerships around the world.

Our Sailors and Marines have responded when called, and superbly performed their many missions in our Nation’s defense.

It is truly an honor and privilege to work with them and support them as their Secretary.

* * *

The Department of the Navy’s FY 09 Budget meets the challenge of resourcing the Navy and Marine Corps Team across a range of missions, from partnership building to combat operations.

It invests in our ability to operate, sustain and develop forces that are engaged in the Global War on Terrorism, while preparing the force for the challenges and threats of the future.

We are requesting a total of $149 billion, a seven percent increase over the FY 2008 baseline.

This increase is driven by factors such as rising oil costs and the critical, comprehensive growth of the Marine Corps.

Our FY 2009 budget reflects three key priorities, which are consistent with those of previous years.  They are:

• First of all, prevail in the Global War on Terror;

• Secondly, take care of our Sailors, Marines, their Families, and particularly our wounded; and

• Lastly, prepare for future challenges across the full spectrum of operations.

To help meet our first priority – prevail in the GWOT – we are adapting our force for current and future missions to include growing the Marine Crops; shaping the force by recruiting and retaining the right people; and addressing critical readiness needs.

2Among our most critical readiness needs is the ability to train our Sailors and Marines for the threats they may encounter.

Unfortunately, our Navy has encountered increasing encroachments in our ability to conduct critical training.

We recognize that there are, on occasion, impacts on the citizenry at large associated with such training.

But these are necessary costs that are critical to the defense of the Nation.

We take extensive precautions to minimize the impact of our training.

We owe it to the American people, and we owe it to those who serve to acknowledge that—as in all things in life—there are competing interests and trade-offs, and that we treat the risks of sonar operation at sea or the impact of jet noise the way we treat all public policy issues, balancing risks and costs against legitimate national security interests.

I greatly appreciate the support this committee provided us last year with respect to Miramar Air Station, thereby ensuring that our Naval Aviators can continue to receive vital training.

I commit to you toady that I will continue to keep you apprised of legal challenges—and their implications for readiness—that we face over the course of the coming year.

Mr. Chairman, if in the future we are unable to properly train our Sailors and Marines, we will have failed to do our duty—to them and to the American people.

Another critical issue I would like to highlight concerns doing right by those who go in harm’s way.

As Secretary of Defense Gates has stated, “Apart from the war itself, we have no higher priority [than to take care of our wounded].”

Our wounded warriors and their families deserve the highest priority care, respect and treatment for their sacrifices.

Our 09 budget honors our commitment to ensure that our Sailors and Marines receive the appropriate care, training and financial support they need.

Finally, to meet the challenges of the future, the 09 Budget provides for a balanced fleet of ships, aircraft and expeditionary capabilities with the fighting power and versatility to carry out blue, green, and brown water missions, wherever called upon.

Furthermore, I would like to note that—consistent with our commitment to ensure affordability and timely delivery of capabilities—we have launched an acquisition improvement initiative to:

• Provide better integration of requirements and acquisition decision processes,

• Improve governance and insight into the development, establishment, and execution of acquisition programs; and

• Formalize a framework to engage senior Naval leadership.

Mr. Chairman, I am grateful for the strong support this committee – and the Congress at large – has given our Navy and Marine Corps team.

I want to thank you on their behalf.

Our Navy and Marine Corps is a strong, capable and dedicated team.

I appreciate the opportunity to represent them today and look forward to your questions.



Posted in Navy |

The Navy League’s Sea Air Space Exposition

Remarks by Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of Navy

Marriott Wardman Park Hotel Washington, D.C. Thursday, March 20, 2008


Mr. McGrath, thank you for that kind introduction.  It is great to be back for my third appearance before this group.

In 2006, I spoke to you about the lack of long-term alignment between industry and the Navy.

Not to be outdone in terms of candor, last year my message of “tough love” to the Navy and the shipbuilding industry was about our need to make significant changes together.

This year, after having worked on those issues inside the Department for more than two years, I would like to give you my assessment of the changing landscape shaping the Navy-industrial partnership.

* * *

I approach the issue of acquisition with a long-term perspective.

The Navy as a service is forced to adopt a long-term horizon due to the lead times necessary to build capital ships that can take up to a decade to design and build, and which are expected to remain in service for 40 years or more.

Thus, we would do well to keep in mind that old dictum—given today’s relatively supportive budget environment—that people are tempted during favorable times to avoid thinking that there might come a change, for it is human nature when the sea is calm not to think of storms.

Mariners cannot afford to make this mistake.

We must look at our shipbuilding program now, and position the fleet for a time when, as many have said, “there might come a change.”

Everyone in this room should understand that we may soon face a growing budgetary challenge.

We cannot count on continued growth in the top line of our budget—and yet we are experiencing increasing cost pressures from many quarters.

We have to be prepared to operate in a less favorable budget environment.

The Department of Defense budget has gone from around $300 billion seven years ago, to over $500 billion today.

Some of that additional spending has gone into acquisition.

But we cannot expect to sustain the increases in acquisition account investment that we have seen in recent years.

Congress has, of late, been very supportive of shipbuilding investments.

But it is neither prudent nor wise to count on future administrations and future Congresses to continue support at ever-increasing levels.

Given the evolving budgetary environment, the challenge for us is to ensure that the Navy can continue to build the force we need in an affordable manner.

It is particularly important that the Navy—an organization that is necessarily capital-intensive—demonstrate cost effectiveness with taxpayer dollars.

We must position ourselves such that future Congresses and future administrations will support our plans to build a 313-ship Navy, deliver the next generation of Naval aircraft, and fund the full complement of Marine Corps expeditionary assault capabilities that the Navy and Marine Corps depend on for the execution of our core missions.

Our current recapitalization and modernization path will require significant improvements in efficiency if we are to reach 313 ships in a timely manner.

Business as usual will not get us there.

* * *

We know that we must come up with a cost-effective way of building the fleet.

On the Navy’s end, we are making significant changes to improve our performance in acquisition.

To achieve that, we have implemented an acquisition governance program that forces more senior leadership engagement, enhanced transparency, and greater discipline at every phase of the acquisition lifecycle.

Unprecedented collaboration, coordination, and systems engineering have been codified in a two pass, six gate review process which synchronizes both requirements and acquisition issues throughout the entire life cycle of a program—with senior leadership engagement at the highest levels, throughout.

This governance process is a good step towards achieving acquisition improvement.

The overriding objective is to implement changes that will facilitate our ability to make better decisions early in the acquisition process.

That combined with detailed design criteria, more comprehensive specifications, and better use of cost data will result in greater stability in our requirements.

Greater requirements stability is also a function of appetite suppression—we cannot have what we want, only what is needed, as the CNO aptly summed up in his remarks two days ago.

All of these changes will provide us with a basis for realizing better cost control, more timely delivery, improved system availability and improved operational utility.

We recognize that we still have a long way to go to put acquisitions on a better path.

That is why the Department is also focusing on workforce re-engineering in the areas of systems engineering, program management, and contract management.

I will also note that I am most pleased to see the extent to which CNO and the Commandant of the Marine Corps are supporting this effort, which leaves me optimistic that these changes will endure well into the future.

* * *

Now, making better decisions on our end, and improving the entirety of the acquisitions process, will help, but it is not enough.

Changes on the part of the Navy must be matched by a commitment from industry to make the investments necessary to materially improve the efficiency of its development and production processes.

Our objective is the timely delivery of mission-capable and available assets that are produced at an affordable and predictable price.

This will necessitate significant industry investments in people, processes, and facilities—not unlike what the world’s leading shipbuilders have done over the past ten years.

The Navy understands that for corporations to make these investments, we must motivate them to do their part to rebuild a viable industrial base.

I have traveled to many foreign shipyards during my tenure as Secretary, and I have learned that shipyards tackle the need for efficiency in many different ways.

One example is found in Denmark, whose shipbuilders have figured out a way to compete internationally—despite high labor costs.

Their shipbuilders use simple, but capable, structures; they design for small crews; and they build ships using highly automated processes.

Notably, they have demonstrated an ability to apply common design principles and manufacturing techniques for the construction of both commercial and military ships.

This formula has allowed them to compete successfully with Chinese and South Korean shipyards that have far lower labor costs.

Now, some have suggested that highly automated production lines are only economical for low density ships produced in high volumes.

But there are, in fact, shipyards with high levels of automation that exclusively build surface combatants.

The VT shipyard in Portsmouth, England that builds the Type 45 destroyer provides us with a compelling example.

Portsmouth shipbuilders have shown that even in a shipyard dedicated solely to military construction, they can leverage available technology in a modern controlled environment to build surface combatants based on multiple levels of modularity, with extensive outfitting.

Our yards can learn from the Danes, the British, and others that the technology is commercially available and applicable to warship production.

The US shipbuilding industry needs to adopt the best practices of the world’s shipbuilders.

I am happy to note that some of this technology is already being adopted on the later DDG 51s and is poised for utilization in DDG 1000 production.

In a day and age when most U.S. shipbuilders are owned by defense conglomerates, it is all the more important that corporate leaders understand that shipbuilding is fundamentally different from most of the defense industry in that the world-class standard is typically found overseas.

Through a careful analysis of technologies and best practices already in existence abroad, our private shipyards can identify a vision for the industrial base of the future, and their position in it.

We understand that from an industry perspective, necessary investments will only take place if a reasonable rate of return can be expected—and if those returns are competitive with alternative investment options.

Investment decisions in most defense companies are typically justified by new business opportunities enabled by those investments.

But the shipbuilding business model is quite different from that followed by much of the defense and aerospace industry.

Given a variety of factors, including physical plant limitations and workforce constraints, competition for shipbuilding contracts is very limited.

When a competition does occur, it is typically a competition on the margin, and not a full and open competition for business in the traditional sense.

For example, the follow-on DDG 1000 competition for the remaining five ships of the class will be a competition for quantity—not a winner-take-all.

Nonetheless, there is and will continue to be a competition for taxpayer investments in national security, for our ability to manage the costs of shipbuilding will determine how many ships we can build, and what our fleet will look like.

This competition for national security investments will determine how much work is contracted with our private shipyards, and how much profit will be potentially available.

Inherent in this calculus is a rationale for investment that needs to be recognized by our contractors and reinforced by the Navy.

Both the Navy and our shipbuilders have a common vested interest realizing improved shipyard efficiencies.

I am concerned that the Nation may well decide to invest elsewhere if our shipbuilding industry does not more aggressively modernize.

I do not want to see the U.S. Navy follow the lead of other nations, whose leadership has basically decided that they cannot afford a modern Navy.

The way forward is going to require a collaborative effort between industry and the Navy to develop an investment strategy that industry will be motivated to support, and that can provide the affordable fleet that our Navy so urgently needs.

Given that our FAR processes provide mechanisms that enable contractors to recapture the costs of personnel development, process improvements, and facility modernization, it is not unreasonable for the Navy to expect those contractors to make material investments in shipbuilding.

I am very supportive of finding ways to further incentivize industry to increase investments, but I do not accept the grant concept as an appropriate way to achieve this objective.

Furthermore, I would encourage industry to identify any additional investment recommendations that offer the potential of a win-win for Navy and industry.

* * *

As I have said in the past, industry will have to take the lead on its plans for improving and investing in facility and process efficiency.

Industry taking the lead in its own investment does not preclude the Navy from being a partner.

Recent examples of incentive-based investment resulting from the Navy-industry partnership have included the VIRGINIA class capital expenditure—or CAPEX—program.

Another excellent example is the proposal that General Dynamics made to the Navy for investment in its Ultra Hall facility at Bath Iron Works to achieve efficiencies on DDG production.

In lieu of providing additional funding, the Navy offered an early release of withholds from current contracts to facilitate the investment.

This case was an example of a win-win for both General Dynamics and the Navy.

And after the destruction of Hurricane Katrina, Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Gulf Coast approached First Marine International to obtain help in identifying best practices, and implement alternative processes that will help shape the rebuilt shipyard.

As another example, NASSCO is collaborating with a subsidiary of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering to build nine product carrier tankers for the Jones Act trade.

NASSCO builds auxiliary ships for the Navy, and we are encouraged by the prospect of construction learning opportunities across platforms.

We’ve seen investments in people as well.

A notable example of the kind of investment in people that I have in mind is taking place at the Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding Newport News operation, which has invested heavily in its apprenticeship school.

Its training program has set an industry standard.

We would hope to see more of these types of innovative proposals from all of our suppliers.

* * *

I will conclude by saying something that I have said before.

There is no silver bullet, no single point solution, and no single accounting change that will solve the efficiency and modernization challenges in the shipbuilding industry.

We have instituted governance changes which will more closely marry our requirements and acquisition processes, resulting in more stability in requirements in our long-term plan.

But we understand that the way forward will require dramatic improvements in our collective processes across the board.

Together, we can make this happen.

Together, we can achieve the 313 shipbuilding plan with an affordable budget and reasonable returns on investment.

And, most importantly, together, we can continue to keep our Navy the number one sea power in the world.

Thank you all for your many contributions to our Nation’s security, and may God continue to bless America.


Posted in Navy |

USS NORTH CAROLINA (SSN 777) Commissioning Ceremony

Remarks by the Honorable Dr. Donald C. Winter Secretary of the Navy

Port of Wilmington Wilmington, North Carolina Saturday, May 3, 2008


Congressman McIntyre, thank you for that kind introduction, and thank you for your tireless efforts to ensure that this commissioning would take place in the great city of Wilmington.

Senator Dole, Admiral and Mrs. Bowman, Admiral Donald, distinguished platform guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor to be here today, surrounded by the men who will bring USS NORTH CAROLINA to life and place her into service to the Nation.

I am very pleased to see so many retired submariners here, and I would like to extend a special welcome to the significant number of World War II vets who stand proudly alongside today’s generation of submarine Sailors.

I would also like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to all the military veterans here today for coming to show your support for the Navy and North Carolina.

As the fourth ship to carry the name North Carolina, this boat will bear an illustrious name, and follow in North Carolina’s long and honored tradition as the home of military heroes.

It is great to be here in the land of the long leaf pine, where, I was assured in the state’s official toast, the sun doth shine.

Wilmington—as the home of the battleship NORTH CAROLINA, and with a long tradition as the supplier of naval stores to the world—is a worthy host on this historic occasion.

The people of Wilmington, by virtue of their enviable location on the seacoast, have a keen appreciation for the critical importance of maritime power.

Wilmington was a key seaport from colonial times through our Nation’s most momentous events of the past two centuries.

On December 6, 1941, only a few feet from where I stand, the first of the 1Wilmington Shipyard’s 243 World War II Liberty Ships was launched.

Echoes of history also extend directly to this commissioning, for the boat we bring to life today is the sister in arms of the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, the most decorated U.S. battleship of World War II.

With the commissioning of this boat—the 4th Virginia class submarine in the fleet—the U.S. Navy’s ability to deter aggression and project power from the sea will continue to set the world standard.

On this day of celebration, it is worth taking a moment to put into perspective the significance of this event, and why the strength of America’s submarine force is vital to our Nation’s security.

We live in a dangerous world, and we have often, in our history, been surprised by events.

The attack on Pearl Harbor; the taking of American hostages in Tehran nearly 30 years ago; and the attacks of 9/11 are all events that shocked and surprised us.

They demonstrated the dangers of being caught unprepared, or being perceived as weak.

They also changed the way we looked at the world, and challenged us to re-think our assumptions.

George Washington, in his Farewell Address to the Nation in 1796, beseeched his countrymen to “Observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

As a peace-loving nation that has always endeavored to heed that advice, and extend the hand of goodwill to every nation that wishes us well in return, we are naturally tempted to become complacent, and assume that no nation will disturb our peace.

The desire to live in a world without war can have validity only if everyone else shares that desire—and believes that such a world is possible.

History argues otherwise.

We must remain vigilant, and be prepared to face the challenges that risk surprising us in the decades ahead.

Those challenges include a world in which 40 countries possess nearly 400 submarines.

2In Asia and the Middle East, rising powers are especially focused on undersea warfare—all the while engaging in operations that create uncertainty about their future path.

With 70 percent of the world’s surface covered by water, 80 percent of the world’s population living near the sea, and 90 percent of international trade transported by sea, U.S. maritime power is undeniably key to preserving our own peace and prosperity—and preserving the world’s economic lifelines.

We would do well to recall the words of Theodore Roosevelt, who stated that, “A good Navy is not a provocation to war.  It is the surest guaranty of peace.”

With USS NORTH CAROLINA, the Nation has made an investment in our safety, in our peace.

She now joins the world’s greatest Navy, and will be tasked with a wide range of missions—in support of battle groups, in reconnaissance and surveillance missions, in special operations, and as part of the submarine force that continues to deter aggression from every potential foe.

I note with dismay and astonishment that some have argued, that with the end of the Cold War, submarines are no longer vital to our national security.

This point of view reveals a serious lack of understanding of both the value of submarines in today’s global war on terror, and the value of submarines as a hedge against future threats.

The feats of the submarine community are performed in stealth, out of the headlines, far from the admiring eyes of a grateful Nation.

But those exploits are heroic nonetheless, and although we might not read about them until 50 years hence, they are no less deserving of our deepest respect and gratitude.

Even now, as we speak, in the depths of the oceans, our submariners are on missions that are critical to our Nation’s security.

They are performing superbly, and when the full story is finally told, your hearts will fill with the same pride that I feel when I learn of their many impressive achievements.

Our submarine force is the envy of the world.

When one has an opportunity to visit the submarine communities of other nations, as I have, one quickly realizes that we enjoy not only a quantitative advantage, but a qualitative advantage as well.

This qualitative advantage is evident in the boat we are about to commission, with capabilities that will enable our Navy to prevail in war against any potential foe.

NORTH CAROLINA benefits not only from the capabilities that accrue from her design, but also from the quality of the workmanship of those who labored so hard on it and who have made this day possible.

In the proud tradition of the 50,000 patriots who built Liberty Ships here on this facility to help win World War II, this boat’s builders—from welders to electricians to pipe-fitters—have produced a technological wonder that reflects one of America’s key strengths as an industrial power.

The qualitative advantage this platform affords us—as with all of our platforms—is due not only to the genius of the scientists, engineers, and highly skilled technicians that design and build our submarines, but also to the quality of the Sailors who crew them.

Our submariners receive the most rigorous and the most demanding training in the world, insisting on a level of professionalism that is far above the norm.

To you, the officers and crew of USS NORTH CAROLINA, you now have an opportunity to make history.

I commend you for taking on the enormous responsibilities associated with submarine warfare.

Your willingness to apply the years of experience and training you have received, your dedication to duty, and your professionalism will continue to deter would-be aggressors and protect Americans from harm.

It is also important to recognize the role of this crew’s support network, a network that includes the support of the families that stay at home, whose love and warm embrace, though distant in miles, will provide closely held warmth and inspiration across the miles.

The success this boat’s entire team will build on the many achievements of previous USS NORTH CAROLINAS, of the submarine community that played the leading role in ending the Cold War, and of all those who today are fighting to protect our freedoms.

Serve proudly in this magnificent vessel.

Remember what kind of nation you have the honor to defend.

Remember the words of Ronald Reagan, in his farewell address to the Nation:

“I’ve spoken of the shining city all my political life.  In my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed.”

Let each of us do our part to make that vision of America’s destiny our own vision—and our calling.

Thank you, and may God bless the Sailors of USS NORTH CAROLINA, and may God continue to bless America.



Posted in Navy |