CNO Testifies Before HASC on Global Maritime Strategy

Monday, December 17, 2007
During a two-hour session before the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) Dec. 13, the nation's top Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard leaders testified before members of Congress for the first time since releasing their unified maritime strategy, "The Cooperative Maritime Strategy for 21st Century Seapower."

Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Gary Roughead, Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway and Commandant of the Coast Guard Adm. Thad W. Allen began the session by first thanking Congress and the nation for their support. They also stressed that together the nation's sea services will focus on remaining a balanced maritime force while promoting greater collective security, stability and trust. In his written statement to the committee, Roughead said the new approach represents "unprecedented collaboration between our Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard, both in the formulation of the strategy and in its implementation."

"That all three maritime Service chiefs have signed this strategy and appear before the committee today is a testament to our commitment to integrating our efforts in protecting our nation's vital interests," Roughead testified. The new maritime strategy, unveiled in October at the International Seapower Symposium held at the U.S. Naval War College, seeks to use the assets of all three of the nation's maritime services to achieve a balance of peacetime engagement and major combat operation capabilities to include forward presence, deterrence, sea control, power projection, maritime security and humanitarian assistance and disaster response.

Roughead spoke briefly at the hearing about his guidance which he described as the execution order for the Navy on the maritime strategy. "My guidance to the fleet is to execute our strategy, and my priorities to build our future Navy, to maintain our current readiness, and support our people reflect what is needed to do so," he said. "The imperative and challenge for the Navy is to remain a balanced Navy with the force structuring and capability and capacity that can apply the enduring principles of seapower in a manner that protects vital national interests while promoting greater collective security, stability, trust and prosperity."

During testimony Roughead talked about why a new strategy was needed and the premise of the strategy, which is the belief that U.S. national security interests are best served by forward deployed maritime forces capable of preventing, deterring conflict in the global maritime system. He explained that the strategy was also shaped by the American public and their ideas on what the strategy should include.

"Through our 'Conversations with the Country', I heard first hand the demand of the American people to remain strong and to also cooperate internationally to secure our national interests," he said. "This solidified my conviction that the Navy needed a new strategy that would address the changing and increasingly integrated global environment while securing our prosperity through the seas and protecting our homeland."

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