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U.S. Navy Priorities Issued by SECNAV

U.S. Navy Priorities Issued by SECNAV

In guidance issued to the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps today, the Secretary of the Navy established three top-level priorities--maintaining maritime dominance; empowering people; and strengthening strategic partnerships.

Issued earlier today, One Navy-Marine Corps Team: Strategic Guidance from the Secretary of the Navy, identifies the priorities the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV), established for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps. SECNAV continues to emphasize

“the long-term challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China is the most significant for the Department. The People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has radically expanded both its size and capabilities, growing to become the world’s largest fleet. Complementing its modern surface combatants are hundreds of coast guard and maritime militia vessels that Beijing employs to compete in the “gray zone,” the contested arena between routine statecraft and conflict. For the first time in at least a generation, we have a strategic competitor who possesses naval capabilities that rival our own, and who seeks to aggressively employ its forces to challenge U.S. principles, partnerships, and prosperity. (SECNAV, 2021, p. 1)

The Guidance outlines three top-level priorities: maintaining maritime dominance; empowering people; and strengthening strategic partnerships. Additionally, the Guidance establishes specific focus areas for each top-level priority.

Maintaining Maritime Dominance in Defense of Our Nation

  1. Expand Forward Presence. “We will prioritize strategic competitive advantage over China and Russia by expanding our global posture to ensure the presence of naval forces with the right mix of platforms, capability, and capacity to maintain freedom of the seas, support international law and norms, stand by our allies and continue to fly, sail, and operate wherever international law allow." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 3)
  2. Enhance Warfighting Readiness. "To reduce the time our platforms are offline for maintenance and repairs, we will invest in sustainment, critical readiness infrastructure, and the industrial workforce, while adopting the best practices of private industry to increase overall efficiency and reduce preventable mishaps. … We will redirect savings towards transformative modernization wherever possible to enhance future and long term readiness. We will also enhance the readiness of our warriors through targeted investments in advanced training methods, ranges, and facilities on naval installations." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 3)
  3. Innovate and Modernize. "Our Department will make targeted investments in key emerging technologies and capabilities to enhance and sustain amphibious battlefield maneuverability, dominance at sea, and information superiority. We will treat information as a strategic asset and make cybersecurity a top priority, increasing our lethality, improving readiness, and sustaining resilience in cyberspace." (SECNAV, 2021, pp. 3-4)
  4. Combat Climate Change. "We will develop a climate-cognizant force that considers climate elements through all aspects of training and equipping the force and planning and executing the mission. … We will responsibly invest in sustainable fuels, alternative energy sources, conservation, working towards reducing our carbon footprint and our reliance on fossil fuels." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 4)

Empowering Our People

  1. Eliminate Harmful Behaviors. "The Department of the Navy will relentlessly pursue a force that keeps faith with all who serve, and where no one ever has to feel unsafe." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 4)
  2. Leverage Naval Education as a Critical Warfighting Enabler. "Our mission demands leaders who possess the highest intellectual and warfighting capabilities in order to confront the many dangers of a complex world. … We will invest in the Naval War College, the Naval Post Graduate [sic] School, and the Naval Academy, and build on the creation of the U.S. Naval Community College to expand access for all personnel, ensuring all naval learning institutions provide world-class curricula, research opportunities, and partnerships, tailored and prioritized to meet our most pressing warfighting requirements." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 5)
  3. Cultivate Talent and Teamwork. "We will build the strongest possible warfighting force by recruiting, retaining, and promoting the best that America has to offer. … We will continuously identify opportunities for all Sailors, Marines, and Civilians to develop warfighting and leadership skills throughout the ranks, emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in every aspect of our force." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 5)
  4. Take Care of Our People. "We will review and reform operating procedures and promotion practices to reward leadership, warfighting skills, initiative, applied problem solving, and innovative strategic thinking at every level. We will continuously evaluate personnel practices with the needs and challenges of military families in mind. … We will prioritize mental health readiness with the same intent that we prioritize physical readiness." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 5)

Strengthening Strategic Partnerships

  1. Build Trust and Collaboration. "Leaders at all levels across the Secretariat and the Services will work together to build a strong culture of collaboration, trust, transparency, and communication across our Department, supported by appropriate tools and processes. Across the Department of the Navy, our Sailors, Marines, and Civilian personnel will plan and execute as one team to maintain our warfighting edge." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 6)
  2. Modernize Business Systems to Enhance Performance and Affordability. "Leaders in every functional unit and discipline will take action to enforce business systems modernization on an accelerated and integrated path that is sufficiently resourced and supported. We will use data-driven decision-making to achieve tangible savings while consistently working to become more effective and more efficient as a core element of our warfighting discipline." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 6)
  3. Strengthen Alliances and Partnerships. "As strategic competitors pursue confrontation and coercion, we respond with partnership and alliances, standing alongside a global community of nations in defense of our common values. … We will build opportunities for Sailors, Marines, and Civilians to train, learn, and operate side-by- side with their counterparts in partner and allied forces, and operationally integrate our allies and partners into strategic concepts and warfighting concepts to deter those that challenge us." (SECNAV, 2021, p. 6)

Get your copy of One Navy-Marine Corps Team: Strategic Guidance from the Secretary of the Navy.

Del Toro, C. (SECNAV). (2021, October 8). One Navy-Marine Corps Team: Strategic Guidance from the Secretary of the Navy.

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