Mabus called the heavy reliance on oil imported
from unstable and sometimes unfriendly suppliers a
“national security vulnerability,” and rejected as
“absolutely false” the congressional charge that he was
forcing the Navy to make a choice between buying
expensive alternative fuel and building more ships.
He was openly irritated by the criticism from some
senior members of the House Armed Services
Committee of his insistence on substituting biofuels
for standard aircraft and ship fuel, despite the much
higher current cost for the alternative energy sources.
“It would be completely irresponsible to look at a
national security vulnerability without acting,” he said.
“Lack of action would increase our vulnerability.”
Mabus said the nation would never buy its warships
from the nations that supply much of its oil and he
rejected the critics’ claim that the solution to imported
oil was more domestic production.
“Drilling more oil will never solve our energy problems,” he said, adding that even if the nation produced
100 percent of its oil needs it still would be subject to
“price shock” because the price of oil is determined by
the global market.
During the Sea-Air-Space Luncheon April 17,
Greenert took the opportunity “to talk about what
Navy is doing, where it is doing it and what our plan is
for the fleet of the future,” while also imploring industry to help the Navy move swiftly in delivering work
under contract and in progress while also helping to
“We need to turn the corner on assessing the condition of the fleet we have today,” Greenert told several
hundred industry and military representatives. “We’ve
got to balance our cost with our need. I think we need to
have some frank conversations with each other, and you
all — industry — need to ask us some hard questions.”
Greenert noted that in the seven months since
becoming CNO, he has seen eight ships be put under
contract and 32 go into construction. With that, he
urged industry to move faster in terms of efficiently
delivering new vessels, while managing expenses.
“The cost as we’ve come in with these great new ideas
has to pretty much be a key performance parameter.
We’ve got to get out of the large change orders,” Greenert
said. “We need to get the ships and the aircraft that are
under contract built and out to the fleet. I would submit,
let’s get together and get those moving.
“The sooner we get those out to fleet, the sooner
they relieve those older ships that are carrying older
systems that we are trying to keep forward and rele-
vant, and we could use that help.”
He said that to improve the Navy’s capability, the
service needs “to have some different approaches to
how we define what the Navy needs.”
Dunmire and Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, stand with Patricia
McMahon, military aircraft systems vice president and general manager at Northrop Grumman Corp., after presenting
her with the Navy League’s 2012 Fleet Adm. Chester W.
Nimitz Award during the Sea Services Luncheon April 18.
He discussed a shift to common hulls, modular payloads and discussed better, more cost-effective technology approaches.
“In my opinion, we are going to have to de-cup a lit-
tle bit the payload from the platform,” Greenert said.
While the payload is the weaponry, or, for example, a
small unmanned system, the platform — usually a ship
or aircraft — that carries it is integral, but ”hard to
change and hard to update.”
The rise of asymmetric warfare does not eliminate
the need for the U.S. Marine Corps’ expeditionary role,
Dunford said during his Sea Services Luncheon
address April 18.
In recent years, proponents of the concept of anti-access/area denial have suggested that a smaller opponent like Iran or North Korea — equipped with anti-ship
missiles or nuclear weapons — can keep an amphibious
force from getting close to shore in a contested theater.
By the same token, they say irregular forces’ armed cyber-attack capabilities or improvised explosive devices can
stymie an invasion force once it’s ashore.
“I reject that anti-access/area denial will preclude us
from going where we want to go, when we want to go
there,” Dunford said. “We need to take the capabilities
we have and employ them differently.”
The key is “leveraging the asymmetric advantages
we have” in functions like intelligence, surveillance,
reconnaissance, artillery fires and sea basing.
“The challenge is to use the sea as maneuver space
in the context of the modern trend,” Dunford said.
Another challenge facing the Marines is the shortage
of amphibious Navy ships needed to get their troops,
tanks and other vehicles and supplies ashore. Marine
Corps doctrine calls for being able to field two Marine