Secretary of Defense Ash Carter spoke to Sailors about the impact of the proposed fiscal year 2017 defense budget, during a visit to Naval Base San Diego Feb. 3.
After touring Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) and guided-missile cruiser USS Princeton (CG 59), and meeting with Navy senior leadership, Carter addressed a crowd of more than 150 Sailors and local and national media about how the Department of Defense is investing in long-term naval power.
Excerpts from Secretary Carter's Remarks
I'm sure you've heard this phrase -- of "distributed lethality." Lethality is the key word here…
…The phrase I like from your chief of naval operations, is always to make sure— to ensure that if it floats, it fights. And of course, it's critical that all of these ships have to be as lethal as possible, have the best possible weapons.
…Some of the new investments we're making as we build the overall number of ships in the Navy; 308 from about 280 today, so increasing the ship number. But the important thing I want to emphasize today is the capabilities and lethality of those ships.
Let me say something about our investments in munitions. Yesterday I was talking about Tomahawks, I was talking about long-range anti-ship missile. I want to talk to you today about the SM-6, with which we are going to create a brand-new capability.
We're modifying the SM-6, so that in addition to missile defense, it can also target enemy ships at sea at very long ranges. This is a new anti-ship mode. It makes the SM-6 basically a two-fer. Can shoot down airborne threats. And now you can attack and destroy a ship at long range with the very same missile.
By taking the defensive speed and maneuverability that's already in our Aegis destroyers' vertical launch cells, and leveraging them for offensive surface warfare lethality, that makes it a potent new capability for you, surface warfare professionals. It's also a good deal for the taxpayer, because they're getting two capabilities in one missile.
We know this works. We actually tested it secretly last month, and it worked. And so we have invested in our budget that we'll be submitting— the president will be submitting to the Congress— in a couple weeks. We put it in our budget. That budget maximizes the production of the SM-6…
So with this budget, just in sum, our fleet will be larger, it will be much more effective, potent and lethal than it is today, because it'll be equipped with the weapons and the advanced capabilities that it will need to deter any aggressor, and to make any aggressor, who isn't deterred, very much regret their decision to take us on. That's your job for the future. That's the job of the Navy in the future. We need to invest in that. And you, right here, right now, are at the cutting edge of those investments.