Next to the close relationship the Navy shares with the Marine Corps, Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), Adm. Mike Mullen said he considers the Navy's continuing partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard as the "single most critical relationship we can possibly have when it comes to securing the maritime domain," during his speech at the 18th Annual Suface Navy Association National Syposium Jan. 10.
"We talk a lot about the Navy-Marine Corps Team, and we should," Mullen told the audience. "But we are also going to start talking about the Navy
-Coast Guard Team."
He said that the two services have worked well together recently, particularly on intercept and drug smuggling operations, and have improved maritime domain awareness with the establishment of the Maritime Intelligence Fusion Center in Norfolk, Va., and Alameda, Calif.
"But we must do more, the stakes are very, very high," CNO stressed. "We must bring together our multimission assets, personnel resources and shore command and control nodes to enhance security of our ports, coastal approaches, rivers and waterways - the entire maritime domain."
Mullen acknowledged that neither service desires to take over the other's missions. "Clearly there must be a line between us," he said. "But it better be a line we can look over, a soft line."
Referring to the new National Strategy for Maritime Security
, CNO stressed that teamwork and cooperation are critical.
"As far as I'm concerned, that cooperation has to start with the Navy-Marine Corps Team and," he emphasized, "the Navy-Coast Guard team."
"Teamwork is a requirement."