June 3, 2010
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), visited Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) Systems Center (SSC) Atlantic today.
The admiral spoke to SSC Atlantic employees in the main engineering center, thanking them -- and the entire center team via video teleconference -- for its various contributions to warfighter readiness. The admiral also visited the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) integration facility to congratulate the MRAP All Terrain Vehicle (M-ATV) integration team for the recent milestone of completing the 5,000th M-ATV installation.
“The reputation you have is superb,” Mullen told a group of more than 600 SSC Atlantic employees assembled in the atrium of the main engineering center on the Charleston campus. “You are delivering critical capabilities to the fleet, to Marines, and to joint customers. I just wanted to come here to tell you how much I appreciate what you do. I believe you are no different – from the standpoint of your dedication, patriotism and support to our nation – from those who wear the uniform,” the admiral added.
The admiral toured the SSC Atlantic M-ATV integration facility where command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) equipment is installed in the M-ATVs. These vehicles are then shipped to Afghanistan to aid the soldiers and Marines on their daily patrols. SSC Atlantic is responsible for the prototyping, testing, integration, installation and quality assurance of all advanced C4I equipment on the M-ATVs.
“I came here with one singular thought in mind, and that is to express my gratitude for what you do,” the admiral told the MRAP and M-ATV C4I integrators.
“Every time I have made a trip in theater, a soldier has come to me and said, ‘keep the MRAPS and MATVs coming. They save our lives. Tell them back home thank you,’ You have made an incredible difference to those in the fight, and to their families. We can always depend on people like you to meet the challenge, whatever it is, so I thank you,” Mullen said.
The M-ATV answers an urgent and compelling requirement to protect warfighters with a highly survivable, off-road capable vehicle. The M-ATV mission is for small unit combat operations in highly restricted rural, mountainous and urban environments that include mounted patrols, reconnaissance, security, convoy protection and communications.
As chairman of the JCS, Mullen is the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. armed forces and the president’s principal military advisor. As such, he presides over all meetings and coordinates the efforts of the JCS. He also advises the secretary of defense, the National Security Council and the Homeland Security Council.
Prior to this duty, Adm. Mullen served as the 28th chief of naval operations, the Navy’s top uniformed leader and representative to the JCS. The admiral is from Los Angeles, Calif., and is a 1968 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy.
Mullen is one of many high ranking Department of Defense officials to visit the MRAP integration facility. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, then-Secretary of the Navy Donald Winter, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary Roughead, and various U.S. Congressmen have visited the facility. SSC Atlantic has integrated nearly 16,000 MRAP vehicles and over 5,000 M-ATVs. More than 8,000 M-ATVs – the next generation of MRAPs – have been authorized.