honor. Courtney, who with Rep. Rob Wittman, R-Va.,
chairs the Congressional Shipbuilding Caucus,
addressed the challenges Navy shipbuilding is facing in a
time of major budget challenges. Also in attendance was
Rear Adm. Karl L. Schultz, Coast Guard director of governmental and public affairs; Branch; personal and professional staff from Capitol Hill offices; staff from the
House and Senate Navy Liaison Offices; and members of
the Navy League’s Legislative Affairs Advisory Board.
Prior to the opening ceremonies April 11, Branch,
his wife Kathleen, and past Navy League President J.
Michael McGrath and his wife, Gloria, welcomed a delegation representing the Taiwanese Navy headed by
Vice Adm. Jiunn-Ying Liu, deputy commander. A delegation of sea service officials and Navy Leaguers from
Spain also attended the exposition.
A day before exposition kicked off, the Navy League
hosted its first Sea-Air-Space Salute to wounded warriors
pierside at Gaylord’s Potomac River dock. Navy Leaguers;
corporate sponsors; former Navy Secretary Gordon
England; Rear Adm. Karen Flaherty, deputy chief of the
Bureau of Medicine and Surgery/deputy surgeon general
of the Navy; and other sea service medical officials paid
tribute to a group of injured service members from the
Navy Safe Harbor Program and Marine Corps Wounded
The event featured a performance by the Navy Drill
Team, music by the U.S. Naval Academy Band and the presentation of colors by the USS Constitution Color Guard.
Affordability, Capability Are Focus of
Sea-Air-Space Luncheon Speeches
The balancing act of maintaining sea service capabilities and meeting mission demands while keeping a
close eye on cost and the budget bottom line was the
prevailing theme of remarks presented by Mabus,
Dunford and Stackley during their respective luncheon
speeches at Sea-Air-Space.
Mabus took stock of what the department has
accomplished during the past two years, and looked at
the challenges to come in the next five years and
beyond for maintaining what he called “the most formidable fighting force the world has ever known.
“Even in the midst of budgetary battles, Sailors and
Marines stand the watch, courageously and unfailingly
guarding democracy we all cherish,” he said during his Secretary of the Navy Luncheon address April 11. “The Navy
and Marine Corps are deployed and engaged around the
world and at the forefront of our response to every crisis.
The United States absolutely must have a strong Navy and
Marine Corps. No other force is as flexible or adaptable.”
Department-wide, Mabus noted how the operational
reach of the Navy and Marine Corps had grown over the
last two years and highlighted such technical milestones
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Todd McVay, safety officer on the USS
Nimitz, checks out Elbit Systems’ Helmet Display and
Tracker System at the company’s booth April 11.
as the first deployment of the Littoral Combat Ship and
EA-18G Growler aircraft, the launch of the “hybrid”
amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island, creation of
U.S. Tenth Fleet and its cyber security capabilities, completion of the Marine Corps’ Force Structure Review, the
commissioning of eight new ships and expansion of
unmanned system presence and reach.
On the people side of the ledger, Mabus said significant investment has been made in education and
training programs to improve career opportunities for
service members, as well medical programs and social
services to address post-traumatic-stress-related concerns and aid those wounded in combat.
“It is our goal that every wounded warrior has, not
just a job, but a fulfilling career,” he said.
Mabus noted that more work needs to be done to
combat suicide and sexual assault by developing effective training and coordinating prevention efforts and
The secretary also touted the Navy Department’s
cost-cutting and energy-use-reduction efforts, saying
that “moving forward, the efficiencies effort will con-
tinue, and we will constantly look for places to move
the support tail to warfighting tooth.”
He reiterated his support for a 313-ship fleet and
said that if Congress funds the shipbuilding program
as it now is spelled out, “we will reach a fleet of 325
ships in the early 2020s,” provided they remain afford-
able and come in within budget.
He also renewed his pledge to eliminate ineffective
and inefficient programs, such as the recently canceled
Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, which
he said “simply took too long. … It is the only example
I know of that required a life-extension program for
the test vehicles.”