The Norman Transcript

September 8, 2012

Call them America’s ‘Away Team’

By Rear Admiral Sean A. Pybus
The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — America’s Navy is our Nation’s Global Force, operating on, above and in the oceans of the world. Think of the Navy as America’s “Away Team,” defending our Nation’s interests every day, everywhere.

This year marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812. Many of the qualities that shaped and helped the Navy fight 200 years ago still hold true today: the fighting spirit and boldness of the Navy’s Sailors, the Navy’s innovation and technological supremacy, the direct link between a strong Navy and a prosperous America through free world trade, and the Navy’s key role in preserving American sovereignty.

During the War of 1812, America called on the Navy and its warfighting Sailors to preserve our country’s security and prosperity on the Atlantic Coast and the Great Lakes. 200 years later, that tradition continues as we rely on our Navy to protect our global strategic interests around the world.

Consider a few facts. Water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface. 80 percent of the world’s population lives near the sea. 90 percent of all world trade by volume travels by sea. In other words, what happens on the sea matters. It matters to our national defense. It matters to world peace. It matters to our economy and prosperity. The United States is a maritime nation, and a strong Navy is necessary to preserve the American way of life.

The demand for U.S. naval forces is extremely high today. Our national security strategy emphasizes our commitments in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East. Elsewhere in the world, we face a terrorist network that has attacked our country before, and vows to do so again. Unstable regimes are developing nuclear weapons. Rising powers have begun military buildups to match their economic growth. Weak and failed states create havens for violent extremists. Climate change is creating new tension, as Arctic melting foments disputes over shipping lanes and oil supplies previously locked in ice.

The United States Navy is fast, flexible and ready. Our ships, submarines and aircraft can be anywhere on the sea on short notice, and can operate far inland. Navy SEAL teams operating from the sea, air and land carry out special operations worldwide. In response to humanitarian crises, the Navy delivers relief supplies and provides medical care. On any given day, the Navy may be called upon to attack a terrorist camp, capture a pirate vessel, and deliver emergency relief, simultaneously and in different parts of the world.

We also need to be smart about the way we power our ships, aircraft and submarines. The Navy is leading the way in applying innovations in energy to our warfighting capability. By 2016, the Navy will employ a carrier strike group composed of nuclear-powered warships, energy efficient hybrid electric ships, and aircraft flying on biofuels. We have incorporated energy efficiency in the design of all new ship classes.

In today’s world, U.S. Sea Power must be strong and ready. This requires warfighting Sailors who are highly trained, highly motivated, and courageous; Sailors who are capable of meeting any challenge. It requires the best Sailors in the world— the men and women of the United States Navy.

Rear Admiral Pybus, a native of Oklahoma, is Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command. He will visit Norman this week.