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Keeping smaller U.S. Navy ready
Navy of the future will be smaller, but must be able to maintain its global reach, retired admiral tells local military affairs council

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Date published: 11/21/2012


The Navy of the future will be smaller, but through technology and innovation must maintain its global reach to protect U.S. interests overseas.

Retired Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. gave that assessment, among other views, Monday night in a speech before the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce Military Affairs Council.

Harvey, 60, who headed up the Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk until his retirement in October, also said that how the Navy evolves will impact not only military bases, civilian contractors, and sailors and their families, but also communities, such as those in the Fredericksburg area, that support them.

"Your Navy today is still a ready force, a relevant force and a responsive force in a world where our nation's dependence on access to global maritime commons is as great as it has ever been in our nation's history," he said.

Still, "With all this said, and all that is going on today, there is a sign of cracks appearing in the foundation of our Navy."

Given its current size and structure, it is overextended "at a time when demand for naval forces across the globe is unceasing and increasing."

At this point, the length of deployments has increased, along with stress on service members and their families, "as has the price tag that goes along with sustaining this global effort," he said.

"Very difficult choices confront us, and you in this community. Are we ready to make them?"

Harvey said the nation must come to an understanding of its role in the world.

With wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Navy and other U.S. forces were pushed to the limit of their logistical range, he said, at a cost of billions of dollars and the blood of those killed and wounded.

"Does that represent our role in the world in the future, and if not, how do we redefine it? What we have to do is get to balance--the ends, ways and means. A strategy that requires money and resources, ad infinitum, is not a strategy."

The future Navy, he said, "won't be determined just by what we think is good for the Navy. You cannot define the Navy without defining what we want out of the Marine Corps" and other service branches.

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The Military Affairs Council of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce on Monday presented its first-ever Military Friendly Business of the Year award to Reality Realty Professionals. The firm, owned by Sam Cachola, is a Virginia affiliate of Homes for Heroes.