VCNO Adm. Moran’s Keynote Remarks at Tailhook Association Reunion

The following are Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Bill Moran’s prepared remarks for his keynote address at the Tailhook Association Reunion on Sept. 8, 2018.

It is an honor to be here with you tonight. So many heroes in the audience, too many to single out.

[I] think you’d all agree that Tailhook, if nothing else, is a wonderful collection of patriotic generations who come together in the interest of national defense and to renew old friendships and to make new ones. There is nothing more American, so thank you for allowing me to join you tonight.

I know you all want to hear about what the future looks like, especially for naval aviation, and I’ll get to that, but let’s first take a look at where we are as a joint force, and where the future fight might be taking us. Thanks to Secretary [James] Mattis , we finally have the first real National Defense Strategy in quite some time. And if you look closely at the words and the important themes – words like maneuver, unpredictability, and lethality – it all sounds very much like a maritime strategy, because that’s exactly what it is.

For the cold warriors in the room, it also sounds and feels an awful lot like how we used to employ carrier strike groups in the North Atlantic to keep our adversary guessing and reacting to us. For Tom Hayward – a naval aviator, who will always be my first CNO – it was his idea to take the offensive, or in his words “lean into the Soviets in the northwest Pacific.” Adm. Thomas Hayward This was the first step of the Maritime Strategy back then that helped to win the Cold War.

Makes complete sense that a naval aviator would be the one to make us think offensively again – back when we needed it the most.

And makes equal sense that another combat-proven naval officer, a Marine general, is doing it for us today when the stakes loom just as large for our nation.

There are two important warnings in this strategy:

> That we had better innovate, and quickly, in order to win.

And that we have no pre-ordained right to victory.

So, if you haven’t heard, our Secretary of the Navy and CNO have challenged all of us to pick up our pace, to establish a greater sense of urgency and to think differently about solving platform, capability and conceptual gaps across our force.

Their message, and mine, is clear – it’s going to take learning. Quickly. Shared and honed throughout the institution. Something aviators are pretty good at, and have been for a long time. Pretty good, but we can get better.

And I gotta tell you, the panel discussions, especially the one led by Satan, Rear Adm. Conn , this morning on the future of the carrier air wing have been terrific. We are fortunate to have leaders like them throughout the enterprise, and it should give all of you great confidence for our […]