SAN DIEGO (NNS) — During a visit to Southern California, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson held an all-hands call with Surface Warfare Sailors at Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 7, to discuss today's security environment and what the Navy needs to do to remain the preeminent maritime force.
The CNO gathered with approximately 1,000 Sailors for over an hour where he answered more than 25 questions and asked for feedback on the changes being made to the surface Navy.
"You took an oath, you raised your right hand time and time again. A commitment like that deserves the utmost respect, and you have my total respect," said Richardson. "Every decision I make starts with all of you in mind, what can we do to help you achieve your full potential, how can we make this the safest Navy for our Sailors, be the best partner for our friends and allies and the most lethal Navy for our enemies."
Sailors asked questions that ranged from uniforms and limited duty status to new operational standards and the training cycle of surface ships.
"There are a lot of changes going on in our surface Navy and Vice Admiral Brown has the helm, he is driving that. I could not ask for a better thinker or a better leader to help us take care of that." Richardson said.
Vice Adm. Richard Brown, commander, Naval Surface Forces, was in attendance to listen to the CNO and the feedback he received from the audience.
"It was an honor and privilege to have the CNO engage with our Surface Warriors on the waterfront," said Brown. "We are the finest Navy in the world and we are going to get better, get smarter, faster, and more lethal. I am appreciative of the CNO's support and the time he spent today with the surface Navy."
The CNO focused on training and raising the standard, saying "We want an excellence based Navy. We want to get away from just achieving the minimum standard, but instead strive for excellence in everything we do, every single day."
When asked about standardizing the surface warfare qualification process fleet wide, the CNO answered "absolutely yes" and sited both the Comprehensive Review and the Strategic Readiness Review.
"No matter what ships we bring online, how we maintain them, how many people we have, at the end of the day we have to make sure they are properly trained. We will not waiver from that," said Richardson. "We're doing a lot of thinking in terms of how we can improve training across the Navy, but particularly the surface Navy, to make sure we're getting the training we need so we can get out there to sea."
Following the all hands call, the CNO met commanding and executive officers of littoral combat ships (LCS) stationed in San Diego and toured the LCS training facility. The CNO is one of Thursday's keynote speakers at the 2018 WEST conference that was held in San Diego Feb. 6-8.
Vice Adm. Brown also spoke at WEST, participating in a panel addressing what warfare community leaders are doing to adjust to increasing near-peer threats.