“A terrorist organization, like any organization, they’re
going to have to prove their viability,” Brookes said.
They will have to have a leader who can prove that
the organization is viable, recruit foot soldiers, raise
funds. And there’s a deep concern about self-radicalized
terrorists here in the United States, he said.
Brookes warned that there are two enemies in the
war on terror — terrorists and complacency.
“Pakistan may be the most dangerous country in the
world today,” he said, and cooperation between the
United States and Pakistan has fallen on hard times
recently. “I’m worried that Pakistan doesn’t quite see it
the way we see it.”
Al-Qaida is not the only concern in Pakistan, the
Taliban is as well.
“Islamabad is using these groups to further its own
interests in Afghanistan,” he said, and it has an arsenal
of nuclear weapons that could fall into the wrong hands.
Another area of concern, he said, is Iran.
“If anybody has benefited from the Arab Spring, it’s
Iran,” Brookes said, noting that U.S. policy regarding
that country is in disarray. The United States, he said,
has been negotiating with Iran over nuclear weapons
since 2003, yet Iran has enough enriched uranium currently for two to three nuclear weapons.
Beyond the Middle East, Iran is making inroads into
Latin America, particularly in Venezuela.
“Hugo Chavez may be more interested in nuclear
weapons than in a nuclear power program,” Brookes
said, and that close relationship is worrisome.
There is a very large Middle Eastern diaspora in
Latin America and bad actors in the neighborhood may
very well be helping Venezuela, Brookes said.
In Asia, North Korea remains a significant threat on
and off the peninsula. That country does have a
nuclear program, he said, and U.S. intelligence believes
North Korea has the weaponry to reach the West Coast
of the United States, and will have the capability to
reach the entire United States in the coming year.
“If there’s any good reason for national missile
defense,” Brookes said, North Korea is it.
Yet another area of concern, he said, is China.
“No country or issue will shape this century more
for good or bad,” Brookes noted.
With its unprecedented military buildup and the
fastest growing peacetime defense budget, China
should be a genuine cause for concern in the United
States. It is a dominant political, economic and military
force that demands our attention, he said.
The dinner capping the Board of Directors’ meeting drew
an unprecedented number of top current and retired sea
service and civilian Navy leaders to honor the CNO. The
Adm. Arleigh A. Burke Leadership Award recognized
Roughead’s outstanding professionalism while leading the
Navy as the 29th CNO during a time of strategic mission
growth and accomplishment for the service.
During his 38 years of service, Roughead has led
Sailors and Marines in upholding vital national interests. He has significantly contributed to the modernization of the Navy to meet the challenges of the 21st
century. Roughead will step down as CNO Sept. 29.
During his keynote address, the CNO noted that
Adm. Arleigh Burke “has been a hero of mine, an
example of mine, for a very long time.”
In accepting the award and reflecting on his career,
Roughead first offered emotional words of thanks to
his wife, Ellen, who was with him, and his daughter,
Elizabeth. He also thanked those in the audience he
called “mentors,” those who helped him navigate the
waters of Washington and the business of Big Navy —
former Navy Secretaries William L. Ball, Gordon R.
England and Donald C. Winter, and retired Adm.
Vernon E. Clark, former CNO.
He also paused to “give full credit” for what has
happened in the most recent years to those who wear
“They are the ones who make it happen,” Roughead
To Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)
Rick D. West, Roughead said, “We started in the Pacific,
U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps (NSCC) Lt. Cmdr. Hollie
Brown, of the Paul Revere Division, Riverside, Calif.,
receives the Nicholas Brango Award for Inspirational
Leadership from Randy W. Hollstein, left, chairman of the
NSCC, and Navy League National President Daniel B.
Branch Jr., right. At the podium is Jim Monahan, NSCC