He said the Corps planned to use the budget-driven
force reduction to 182,000 Marines to “be a bit more
selective” in recruiting and retention.
Zukunft complained that despite the largest ship
construction program in recent history, he is operating
“a floating museum” of aged ships and needs new icebreakers to meet the expanding traffic in the Arctic due
to the receding ice cap.
Jaenichen noted that the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet
has shrunk by half, leading to a rapid increase in the
use of foreign ships to carry American cargo and reducing the Maritime Administration’s ability to support
the armed forces in overseas missions.
“If we do nothing, we will have to rely on foreign
carriers to transport our forces,” which “puts us at
risk” in a major conflict, he said.
Different Navies, Common Challenges
With the understanding that seaways around the globe
increasingly are beset with threats to stability, Greenert
and a panel of his peers from the U.S. Coast Guard and
six allied nations discussed the common ground it
takes to maintain maritime security.
The group, representing France, Japan, Australia,
Colombia, Singapore and Romania, touched upon subjects worthy of their highest priority.
“Different countries, different navies, different political backgrounds, if you will,” said Greenert, as he introduced the panel, which, along with Zukunft, included:
French Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Bernard Rogel;
Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Chief of Staff
Admiral Tomohisa Takei; Royal Australian Navy Chief
of Navy Vice Admiral T.W. Barrett; Colombian Navy
Commander Admiral Hernando Wills Velez; Republic
of Singapore Chief of Navy Rear-Admiral Lai Chung
Han; and Chief of Romanian Naval Forces Rear-Admiral Alexandra Mirsu.
Challenges bring opportunities, Greenert said,
including the fostering of new collaborative ways to
deal with such issues.
The panel’s discussion expanded on ways the representative nations came to agreements during the International
Seapower Symposium held last September.
Mirsu addressed his nation’s naval role in providing
security in the increasingly volatile Black Sea region,
spurred by Russia’s seizure of Crimea from Ukraine.
“Last year, the illegal annexation of Crimea turned
this peaceful area into a ball of instability,” he said.
Military buildup among Asian countries is “less transparent,” Takei said, with the region more closely identified with international trade. While most Asian states are
stable because of their relatively strong economies, he
said, “maritime security becomes more essential” in
ensuring that such stability is maintained.
Rogel noted that his nation now has 3,500 Sailors
deployed in the Indian Ocean alone, including crews of
10 ships ranging in size from offshore patrol vessels to
the carrier Charles de Gaulle. French sailors there have
conducted missions ranging from airstrikes against
Islamic State targets in Iraq, countermine measures,
amphibious warfare and counterterrorism, he said.
The Coast Guard offers one of the only “good news”
stories about relations with Russia, Zukunft said. The
two countries’ coast guards regularly share information
relating to international law enforcement in the waters
of the Arctic Ocean and Bering Strait.
Winnefeld: Budget Cuts
The Department of Defense is facing myriad threats, but
chief among them is budget cuts, said ADM James A.
Winnefeld Jr., vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The threats are diverse, from climate change to countries seeking weapons of mass destruction, but on the
homeland, cuts from the decade-long Budget Control
Act of 2011 and subsequent sequestration are posing
serious future problems.
“It goes without saying that we have begun to feel
its effects,” he said during his keynote address at the
Sea-Air-Space black-tie banquet April 14.
Military leaders have been maintaining that continued austerity will erode capabilities and the reach the
services can provide.
“Our top-line investments have shrunk,” he said,
noting that budget disruptions cause problems in
existing programs and operations as well as plans for
Also at the dinner, Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., helped
Offutt present the Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Award
to Irwin F. Edenzon, former corporate vice president and
president of Huntington Ingalls Industries’ Ingalls Shipbuilding division. The award honors a leader of industry
who has made a major contribution to our nation’s maritime strength and/or enhanced our national security.
DoD Striving to Become More Innovative
The Department of Defense (DoD) is facing risks, from
budget cuts to evolving technology from other countries, that it has not faced in a long time, Frank Kendall,
undersecretary of defense for Acquisition, Technology
and Logistics, said April 14.
“I think we have gotten a little complacent with our
superiority in the world,” he said during the Sea-Air-
Space Congressional Breakfast. “The change in prolif-
eration technology is what concerns me the most.”
Kendall spoke on DoD’s new Better Buying Power
(BBP) 3.0 as a means to address that concern, saying
the natural next step from 2.0 is technology expertise.