CRYSTAL CITY, Va. - As Navy leaders and senior industry representatives gather during the 24th annual Surface Navy Association National Symposium in Crystal City, Va., Jan. 10-12, events around the world continue to illustrate the importance of the Surface Force.
Of great public interest in the last week was the rescue of 13 Iranian fisherman from a pirate-held boat in the north Arabian Sea by a visit, board, search and seizure team from the USS Kidd (DDG 100), an event that illustrates the need for an adaptable, flexible Surface fleet discussed in greater detail under the conference's theme of "Surface Navy: A Credible Force in Uncertain Times."
"The global environment presents complex and uncertain challenges," Vice Adm. Richard Hunt, commander, Naval Surface Forces told an audience of approximately 700 during a keynote address. "We need the right Surface fleet with the right warfighting capabilities and readiness to ensure we remain engaged with other nations, operating forward, projecting credible combat power, ensuring stability and security across the strategic crossroads. We must encourage innovation in both concepts of operation and new capabilities to develop the 'game changers' that will ensure we remain the world's most dominant navy."
Hunt outlined the role of the Surface Force as the "go to" force for making contact with partners, a message that was particularly timely. Also in the last week, the Sailors and Marines who make up the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Group (MEU) were relieved of their duties in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility (AOR) by the Makin Island ARG and the 11th MEU. The Bataan ARG deployed March 23, 2011 and during what has become the longest deployment in recent years, conducted maritime security operations, theater security cooperation actions, and joint military exercises with regional partners in both 5th and 6th fleet AORs.
"Our Sailors are the foundation of our warfighting capabilities," said Hunt. "They carry the day no matter what the challenge; we must properly resource them to be the professionals they strive to be."
The Surface Navy Association (SNA) was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination and communication among those in the military, business and academic communities who share a common interest in Naval Surface Warfare and to support the activities of Surface Naval Forces.