WASHINGTON - The Surface Navy Association kicked off its annual three-day National Symposium in Arlington, Va., Jan. 15.
The theme of this year's symposium is "Answering All Bells: People, Technology and Innovation."
The 25th symposium, hosted by the Surface Navy Association, provides an opportunity for discussions on a broad range of professional and career issues for the surface community. The event also features government-contracted defense companies, suppliers and commands who exhibited the latest in surface warfare technology and share future projects and technologies.
The event's first keynote speaker was Commander, Naval Surface Forces/Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet Vice Adm. Tom Copeman. He addressed some of the challenges facing surface Sailors.
"We comprise about 73 percent of the commissioned ships in the United States Navy," Copeman said. "We're doing the job, but I will tell you that we're stretched thin. The op tempo has increased. It's getting harder and harder to look our troops in the eye and tell them to meet the standards. We have to give our Sailors and ships the resources and equipment they need."
Copeman also noted that to handle the demand, better training and billets need to be available to Sailors.
"We need to invest in resources which will improve and enrich shore tours for our Sailors" he said, adding "When a Sailor leaves their sea tour for their shore tour, they should come back a more proficient Sailor."
Other speakers on the first day included Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Mike Stevens, who spoke of his confidence in the Navy during the challenges ahead.
"I believe we're living in exciting times with unique challenges, but we should be confident knowing we have the right leaders in the right place, at the right time, with the right Sailors," he said. "I am confident that we will continue to be the most dominant and powerful maritime force in the world today and in the future."
The Surface Navy Association 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.