Commander Praises NSWC Dahlgren's Contributions to the Fleet

Friday, June 13, 2003
From NSWC Dahlgren Division Public Affairs Shaping the Navy for the future was the theme of a recent all hands call at Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division in which the Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) praised the accomplishments of the division's workforce supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom and the War on Terrorism. "I am keenly aware of your contributions," said Vice Adm. Phillip Balisle to more than 1,000 Dahlgren Division employees. "I have seen them as your systems command commander. But, much more importantly, I have been your customer for 33 years. I've sailed the ships that you have built, developed and maintained, and I have benefited from the Sailors you've influenced." Much of his focus was on the recent success of Operation Iraqi Freedom. "On many days more than 70 percent of our naval forces were deployed," he said. "They were mobilized on the shortest of notices and it left the world in total amazement about America's resolve. A lot of the people who made that kind of resolve possible are sitting right before me." In plain-spoken language, Balisle said the nation's current Global War on Terrorism is forcing specific and fundamental change of Navy infrastructure, much of which will affect the workers of Dahlgren. "Fundamental change is change that truly alters how you do business in a major way that will be irrevocable," he said. He explained that the change is promulgated by current events. In the past, especially during the Cold War, the Navy knew just about everything it had to know about a battle group, what it needed and when and where it would be at all times. In addition, the Navy also knew a lot about the enemy and what threats our nation faced from it. "But look at today," he said. "We're in another war, with a very different enemy. We don't know when we will meet him or the terms under which we will meet him. Our job is to reshape the naval infrastructure to meet him." Balisle also pointed to Operation Iraqi Freedom to illustrate his point about the changing face of warfare. He said that we saw for the first time the shape that war will take in the 21st Century. "I believe a Russian general said it best (about Operation Iraqi Freedom): 'The Americans have rewritten the textbook on war and it has changed forever.'" Balisle said in World War II America built 15 ships a week and 300 planes a day at its peak, and that the war was won by coupling America's industrial output to the men and women who go in harm's way to fight. The United States won the Cold War the same way, he said, by out-producing what our adversary could bring to the table. "But look at this current enemy," Balisle continued. "He doesn't build anything. He buys his weapons from the commercial marketplace and his test and evaluation of them is when he uses them on us." The key to shaping the future Navy, Balisle said, is Sea Power 21. An important component of that strategy in which NAVSEA will play a major role is Sea Enterprise, streamlining processes and finding efficiencies to shape a more effective naval force. Part of Sea Enterprise is the realignment of NAVSEA, the naval shipyards and warfare centers. Balisle also fielded questions from his audience. The questions ranged from more frequent use of contractors to get jobs done at Dahlgren to the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) issues now facing Congress. "In all BRAC issues, there can be only one winner and that is the United States of America," Balisle said. "We need to make our facilities as good as they can be through realignments and subsequently eliminate our redundancies so that when the BRAC people come they see our best." Source: NAVSEA

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