Video: U.S. CNO Gilday's First Message to the Fleet

Adm. Gilday relieves Adm. John Richardson, seated right, as Chief of Naval Operations, Aug. 22 (USN)

Published Aug 23, 2019 6:26 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Friday, the U.S. Navy's new top officer, Adm. Mike Gilday, sent his first message to the fleet with a warning that it is time to prepare for near-peer, high end warfare on the high seas. 

"For decades, we took for granted that no other blue-water navy would dare take us on. That’s no longer true  . . . there are other nations who would use their maritime forces to threaten the freedom of the seas to intimidate their neighbors or to coerce others in violation of international law. Those maritime forces are growing in numbers and in strength," he said. "We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now, and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future."

This will take technological development and investment, he said, but he emphasized the importance of sailors, the Navy's "most important weapons system."

Gilday also noted that some potential opponents seek to exploit cyber weaknesses rather than taking the Navy on in open conflict. As the previous head of Fleet Cyber Command (10th Fleet), he has experience with the military's attempts to prevent intrusion - an important consideration in the wake of revelations about the pervasive, long-running Chinese hacking of Navy research contractors.

Gilday's full address may be viewed below.