OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. - The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), U.S. Navy Adm. John Richardson, visited Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, Aug. 24, for discussions with U.S. Navy Adm. Cecil D. Haney, U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) commander, and other senior leaders, on sustainment and modernization of the sea-based leg of the nuclear triad, associated operational plans and other areas of collaboration and mutual interest.
"The military services, in particular the Navy, provide great capabilities and people - our most important asset - for U.S. Strategic Command to do its mission," Haney said. "It's great to have Adm. Richardson out here to see first-hand how those assets are enabling our deterrence, assurance and escalation control efforts, as well as the intricacies of our nine mission areas."
Richardson said the engagement included "some of the most fascinating discussions of our current warfighting that we've had in some time" while here.
"Every subject we touched on, there was this deep connection to the maritime contribution to the joint fight," Richardson said. "From the classic strategic mission - which is anything but classic right now; it's so dynamic - to space [and] cyber, you really are combining some of the cutting edge of where we are going in operations and warfighting."
While here, Richardson also conducted a Navy all-hands call at the Offutt's 557th Weather Wing auditorium to discuss the service's design for maintaining maritime security today and into the future.
"What a unique opportunity for us to hear from [Adm. Richardson], particularly given all the things our Navy as a whole is doing throughout the world," Haney told the audience of Sailors and U.S. Navy civilians to open the forum. "It's great for me to be able to introduce him, because we've been friends for decades."
Richardson also noted the long-standing friendship between the two leaders, dating back "to our O-5 commands," referring to when he relieved Haney as commanding officer of the USS Honolulu.
In his prepared remarks, Richardson discussed the challenges facing the U.S. Navy, highlighting the increased use of trade routes, emerging technologies and the speed at which they are distributed to the public.
"For the first time in probably 25 years, we are legitimately being contested for maritime superiority in parts of the world," he said. "Since 1990, not only have the competitors of the game changed, but the rules of the game [and] the character of the game [have] changed."
He also commented on the Asia-Pacific region and recent activity in the South China Sea.
"It should be no mystery why we're rebalancing to the Pacific, the entire global economy is rebalancing to the Pacific," Richardson said. "About 30-33 percent of [maritime traffic] goes through the South China Sea, so you can see why there's a lot of interest in that body of water."
Richardson concluded the all-hands call by fielding questions from the audience on finding balance in the Navy's advancement and retirement systems, uniform modifications and the potential impact of another round of sequestration.
"With regard to sequestration writ large, I think I stand with everybody in this room, our service chiefs, Adm. Haney and other combatant commanders who said that would be a disaster," he said. "We'll do everything we can to make sure that we compel our senior leadership to avoid that at all costs."
The CNO is the senior military officer of the Department of the Navy and is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the forces of the Navy and of the Navy shore activities assigned by the secretary.
A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO is the principal naval adviser to the president and to the SECNAV on the conduct of war, and is the principal adviser and naval executive to the SECNAV on the conduct of activities of the Department of the Navy.
Adm. Richardson's bio can be viewed at http://www.navy.mil/navybio_ldr.asp?id=440.