The Chief of Naval Operations visited U.S. Strategic Command Aug. 8 on his first of many visits to establish and maintain contact with the Department of Defense Combatant Commanders.
Adm. Michael Mullen spoke to shipmates about issues facing today’s Navy, its Sailors and their families during the visit to the command.
More than 150 Sailors listened as the Chief of Naval Operations, or CNO, laid out his vision for the Navy’s future at an All-Hands Call in the USSTRATCOM Theater. “You are the future,” Mullen said. “Not just of the Navy, but in many ways the future of the country. ”
“This is a center for huge change,” Mullen said of the command. One of his top priorities during his tenure as CNO he said was encouraging jointness, such as working in a joint environment like USSTRATCOM.
He noted how jointness has been a key factor in recent assignments in the Balkans and Southwest Asia. Mullen stated the Navy must be able to work comfortably in a joint environment to remain relevant. “We will be a Navy that does make a difference and I believe we are a Navy that can make a huge difference in the future,” he said.
Mullen also noted how unique it is to have Sailors in Nebraska. “The Navy is in a lot of places, and will be in a lot more places,” he said. USSTRATCOM Sailors work side by side with Airmen, Soldiers, Marines and civilians to maintain that state of readiness in the missions they are assigned.
USSTRATCOM Sailors contribute to the range of missions assigned to the Combatant Commands, from network warfare and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance designed to protect U.S. assets to space and global strike missions providing the president kinetic and non-kinetic options for strikes around the globe.
Sailors at USSTRATCOM also cooperate with other agencies in the larger meaning of jointness by working in USSTRATCOM’s Joint Functional Component Commands. These commands are not only multi-service, but also work with agencies outside the DoD such as the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of State.
Petty Officer 2nd Class Edward Espree, a USSTRATCOM target selection database manager, has learned much about his brothers-in-arms during his two years serving in the joint environment. “I get to understand how they work, so when I get back to the fleet, I have a better understanding of what to expect during joint exercises,” he said.
This kind of understanding is what the CNO is seeking for his Sailors. It is a knowledge that will allow the services to work together to accomplish their common goals.
Mullen pointed out how the Navy and Marine Corps team provide assets that no other service can, “Having basing rights or over-flight rights, or just being able to go where we want to go. There is no team that can bring that in a more powerful way than the Navy and Marine Corps team. ”
After the CNO’s talk, Lt. Randy Broussard stated, “It looks like the new CNO will follow in the same program of change as Adm. Clark. ”
Many Sailors were impressed with the new CNO. “I’m real optimistic about the direction [the CNO] is going,” Espree said. “I was real satisfied with the answers he gave for some of the questions that were posed to him and the big thing for me was [the CNO’s attention to] education. ”