Your Navy Operating Forward – Guam, Japan, Portugal

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PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Bruni, from Kingston, Mass., signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a vertical replenishment with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


PHILIPPINE SEA: Ships attached to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group transit the Philippine Sea during dual carrier operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

YOKOSUKA, Japan: The U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) crew, family, friends and honored guests attend the ship’s change of command ceremony onboard Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Japan. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Marvin Thompson/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Brian Bruni, from Kingston, Mass., signals an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 14, from the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Spruance (DDG 111) during a vertical replenishment with the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan D. McLearnon/Re
leased)

ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) flies the battle ensign and the flag of France during a three week integration of the French navy La Fayette-class frigate FS Courbet (F 712) with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: An F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 14, prepares to land on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Equipment Operator 3rd Class Alvis Fredereck, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3, uses a front-end loader with a sweeper attachment to dump displaced sand that he swept up from a path that was rendered unusable onboard White Beach Naval Facility in Okinawa, Japan, as a result of a recent typhoon that impacted the island. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Lopez/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Ships attached to the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group and John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group transit the Philippine Sea during dual carrier operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

TURBO, Colombia: The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) anchors off the coast of Colombia on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors prepare an F/A-18 Super Hornet, attached to Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115, for take-off from the flight deck of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during dual carrier operations with USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Jason N. Tarleton/Released)

GUAM: Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class Jose Garcia signals Landing Craft, Utility (LCU) 1634 to approach the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) with heavy equipment to transfer to the island of Saipan for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) transits the Philippine Sea. John C. Stennis is underway and conducting operations in international waters as part of a dual carrier strike force exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Connor D. Loessin/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), right, steams alongside the French navy La Fayette-class frigate FS Courbet (F 712) during a 3-week integration of the Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Intelligence Speciliast Matt Bodenner/Released)

LISBON, Portugal: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman prepares to get underway following a scheduled port visit in Lisbon, Portugal. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Victoria Sutton/Released)

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By Rear Adm. Dee Mewbourne Commander, Military Sealift Command As dawn broke over Machias Bay, …

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Your Navy Operating Forward – Guam, Japan, Portugal

Under Secretary Modly’s Remarks at USS Sioux City Commissioning

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Below are Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s remarks at the commissioning of USS Sioux City (LCS 11) at the U.S. Naval Academy, Nov. 17.

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Nov. 17, 2018) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly delivers his speech to over 5,000 people during the commissioning ceremony of USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo by Stacy Godfrey/Released)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Nov. 17, 2018) Under Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly delivers his speech to over 5,000 people during the commissioning ceremony of USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo by Stacy Godfrey/Released)

Thank you, XO for that kind introduction.

Sen. Ernst, Adm. Richardson, Mrs. Winnefeld, Mayor Pro Tempore Don Moore and Sioux City Council members, Annapolis Mayor Buckley, Vice Adm. Carter, Rear Adm. Thorp, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan, Cmdr. Malone and Cmdr. O’Brien, officers and crew of the soon to be United States Ship Sioux City.

The great citizens of Sioux City and the broader Siouxland region; as well as our Annapolis hosts, distinguished guests, families and friends:

Good morning, and welcome to Annapolis!

On behalf of the 76th Secretary of our Navy, Richard V. Spencer, I am privileged to welcome you to this historic event, the commissioning of a major warship at the United States Naval Academy.

This beautiful piece of American history, known as the “Yard,” is where naval service began for me, and for so many others who are with us today.

It is a perfect setting to renew the cycle of service once more, when soon, a new, courageous, ready and able crew will sally forth to all corners of the world, defending our nation from those who would threaten us, and deterring all others from even thinking about it.

This bold new crew will ensure freedom of navigation and freedom of trade for our citizenry, and offer ready partnership for all who believe in their hearts, as we have since the American Revolution; that individual liberty is at the core of human progress and prosperity – and that it must be protected by people willing to fight for it.

This ship, and this crew, will go from this place, just as so many of us have, to serve the nation in places far, far away from here.

During that process, they will build relationships with partners and allies who have a common goal in mind: Peace.

As I look back on my own career, I can anticipate that journey for Sioux City, and I am excited by it because you never know where those relationships will lead.

In my own case, through the Navy, I have connected with, and developed friendships, with Sailors from countries all over the world. It is one of the great satisfactions of service in the United States Navy.

And today, it is brought to light in a particularly personal way for me as one of my flight school classmates from Pensacola, a former helicopter pilot like me, and former Italian naval officer by the name of Dario Deste, is president and CEO of Fincantieri USA, who I know wishes he could witness this historic event in person.

MARINETTE, Wis. (Feb. 19, 2014) Mary Winnefeld, center left, wife of Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, watches as her initials are welded into the keel of the future littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)
MARINETTE, Wis. (Feb. 19, 2014) Mary Winnefeld, center left, wife of Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., the vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, watches as her initials are welded into the keel of the future littoral combat ship USS Sioux City (LCS 11). (U.S. Navy photo courtesy of Lockheed Martin/Released)

As you all know, the great men and women of Fincantieri in Wisconsin built this fine ship and delivered it to the United States Navy.

Serving together again as we commission her into service is a scenario that neither Dario nor I would have likely imagined in 1984 in Pensacola, but it is a vivid example of how service binds us together across national boundaries – and how it must continue to do so to maintain mutual commitments to peace and security.

It is truly a great day to be an American, and a great day to celebrate a great American hometown, while being hosted by another one. To the many Siouxlanders who have traveled from the Midwest, over 500 of you, thank you so much for being here and for representing your city and your love and pride for this ship and its crew.

With the help of Rear Adm. Frank Thorp, a native of the City of Annapolis, and the sponsoring spirit of Mrs. Mary Winnefeld, a true servant leader who has led our joint forces and families for decades along with her husband, Sandy, the people of Sioux City have made this commissioning event a model for how to do it right.

As some of you may know, I recently had the honor of announcing that one of our future LCS ships would be named for my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

And I know Sandy Winnefeld was once the commanding officer of the last USS Cleveland, another personal reminder of the many deep connections that reach across the years and throughout our Navy.

In fact, there is a small delegation here from Cleveland this weekend because they wanted to be here to see how to commission a ship with all the class and dignity, and fun, that it deserves.

Sioux City has truly stepped up as a community and have demonstrated what it means to be the “proud parents” of this ship.

Just like today, the people of Siouxland have come together on countless occasions: in times of plenty, as their indomitable role as one of the nation’s leading providers of beef and pork, feeding Americans and the world.

They also lead the way in coming together in times of tragedy, as in the horrible crash landing of Flight 232 in July 1989; when Sioux Cityians showed the world how their expert care and compassion saved 185 people from an aircraft that lost primary, secondary, and tertiary means of flight control.

There is a timeless picture, placed in Dahlgren Hall today, which I know many of you have seen, for it was published in just about every national and world newspaper the next day.

In that famous photo, Iowa Air National Guard A-7 pilot Denny Nielsen is carrying a child out of the wreckage.

When asked about it, he spoke for all of Siouxland when he said, “God saved the child. I just carried him.”

Just like that day in 1989, when we launch this ship into the deeper blue waters of the Chesapeake and the farther beyond, her crew will always know who is carrying them – who is with them every nautical mile and to every corner of the ocean, whether in peace or war.

Finally, let me say something I personally know about the people of Iowa, and why they are such a fitting citizenry to have their name carried by this ship.

In 1950, my mother and grandfather escaped war ravaged Eastern Europe for the promise of a new life in the United States.

They waited for sponsorship for several years, and when it finally came, it came from a family and a Lutheran Church in the great state of Iowa, in the small city of Waverly, some 200 miles east of Sioux City.

They came here with essentially nothing, but were embraced by many Iowans who gave them respect and dignity, helped them earn their citizenship;

But more importantly, helped them earn a future for themselves – and ultimately a future for me and my own family. I am forever indebted to Iowans for this act of selfless service to others.

GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 9, 2018) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Sioux City (LCS 11) transits the Thames River for a scheduled port visit to Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Latrice Jackson/Released)
GROTON, Conn. (Nov. 9, 2018) The littoral combat ship Pre-Commissioning Unit (PCU) Sioux City (LCS 11) transits the Thames River for a scheduled port visit to Naval Submarine Base New London. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Latrice Jackson/Released)

Just as Iowans reached across a vast ocean to embrace refugees from World War II like my mother, the USS Sioux City will carry the spirit of Siouxland, and of Iowa, far beyond the banks of this river to people all over the world. In her they will see the strength and goodwill of this nation.

They will see what we see embodied every day in the warm, welcoming and gracious spirit of Iowans:

A spirit that opened its arms for my mother, and inspires the rest of us to serve others, and to serve causes greater than ourselves.

Thank you for being here today, may God bless the people of Sioux City Iowa and the magnificent crew that will breathe life into this ship. We all know that this crew and the citizens of Sioux City will never, ever give up the ship!

May God continue to bless the United States Navy and the Sailors and Marines who go into harm’s way every day to keep us safe and free.

Go Navy. Go Sioux City. And of course, as always, beat Army. Thank you very much.


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Under Secretary Modly’s Remarks at USS Sioux City Commissioning

Your Navy Operating Forward – East China Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea

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ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), front, is underway alongside the French navy frigate FS Courbet (F712) and a French AS-565 Panther helicopter during a three-week integration of Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


PHILIPPINE SEA: An E-2D Hawkeye launches off the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyleigh Williams/Released)

SOUDA BAY, Greece: Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) pose for a command photo during the ship’s port visit to Naval Station Souda Bay, Greece, Nov. 8, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 5, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Released)

MANAMA, Bahrain: Salvage operations specialists from Naval Sea Systems Command deploy a Class-V ocean skimmer onboard Naval Support Activity (NSA) Bahrain during an emergency spill response demonstration. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Eric S. Garst/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109), front, is underway alongside the French navy frigate FS Courbet (F712) and a French AS-565 Panther helicopter during a three-week integration of Courbet with Task Force 55. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kaila V. Peters/Released)

SOUDA BAY, Greece: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) departs Naval Station Souda Bay, Greece, following a scheduled port visit, Nov. 8, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: An AH–1Z Viper helicopter, attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 166 (Reinforced), flies above the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) in the Mediterranean Sea, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ryan M. Breeden/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Decatur (DDG 73), left, and the U.S. Coast Guard Island-class patrol cutter USCGC Monomoy (WPB 1326) transit the Arabian Gulf during exercise Eastern Sailor 19. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Samantha P. Montenegro/Released)

EAST CHINA SEA: The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) prepares to come alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Sarah Myers/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)

CARIBBEAN SEA: The dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS William McLean (T-AKE 12) conducts a replenishment-at-sea with the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) to bring on fuel. Comfort is on an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of the U.S. Southern Command Enduring Promise initiative. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Benjamin T. Liston/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Brandon Taylor, left, fires a .50-caliber machine gun under the instruction of Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Griffin Vancil during a live-fire exercise aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

WATERS OFF THE COAST OF SAIPAN: The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) heads to Saipan for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) relief efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur (DDG 54) cruises in formation with other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

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Your Navy Operating Forward – East China Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Caribbean Sea

A Keen Eye on Keen Sword

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By Rear. Adm. Karl Thomas
Commander, Task Force 70

This week, we wrapped up Keen Sword 2019, the biennial exercise with the Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force, (JMSDF) or Kaijo Jieitai as they are known in Japan. This exercise is designed to strengthen and demonstrate our commitment to the U.S. – Japan alliance and ultimately increase the interoperability of our forces.

As we prepared for the final maritime strike, I had the opportunity to assist in the targeting of the enemy forces in the exercise from the back end of a VAW-125 Tigertail E-2D Advanced Hawkeye. With nearly 3,000 hours in the back of an E-2C, this was my first opportunity to experience the impressive capability of an E-2D. Hawkeyes have always been the fleet’s eye in the sky, but with the advancements in the new E-2D that eye is much more focused. I watched this radar develop throughout my career from its beginnings on a mountain-top in Hawaii, through a transition to the back of a C-130 test platform, and finally as it became reality in the fleet. It is simply a game changer.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 7, 2018) Rear Adm. Karl Thomas, commander, Task Force 70, departs an E-2D Hawkeye on the flight deck of the Navy's forward deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 7, 2018) Rear Adm. Karl Thomas, commander, Task Force 70, departs an E-2D Hawkeye on the flight deck of the Navy’s forward deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 7, 2018) An E-2D Hawkeye launches off the flight deck of the Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyleigh Williams/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 7, 2018) An E-2D Hawkeye launches off the flight deck of the Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kyleigh Williams/Released)

As we walked to the aircraft in preparation for our flight, it dawned on me that I had more years of service than all four young Tigertail aviators combined. To fly with this next generation of warfighters who have the same drive and energy I possessed at their age is exactly why I continue to serve. It seemed like just yesterday I was the young aviator walking to the plane, showing the old guy how the system worked. The young Tigertail aviators manipulated the numerous systems in the back of the aircraft with ease as they fired up one system after another. A talented young E-2D naval flight officer, Lt. Cmdr. Mike “Hansel” Boyle, walked me through the radar functionality, explaining the differences of the APY-9 radar and how it transmits, receives and processes energy. I was like a kid in a candy store as I witnessed on my radar scope what I had only seen in simulators. This system is already making a huge impact on Keen Sword 19 and I couldn’t help but think of the capability and capacity that the recently acquired Japanese E-2Ds would add to future Keen Sword exercises. It all comes down to interoperability; the U.S. Navy and Kaijo Jieitai are an extremely effective team because of the common tactics, procedures and equipment we employ.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), left, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force helicopter destroyer JS Hyuga (DDH 181), right, are underway in formation with 16 other ships from the U.S. Navy and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) as aircraft from the U.S. Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force fly overhead in formation during Keen Sword 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)

Throughout this exercise, ships and aircraft from both of our countries have focused on sailing, operating, flying together and building interoperability so that we can respond as one team if ever needed. Day after day, I watched U.S and numerous Kaijo Jieitai ships protect USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) from attacking exercise submarines, while the striking power of Air Wing Five launched from the deck several times a day to fight side-by-side with the Japanese Air Self Defense Force (JASDF) and U.S. Air Force. This ability to fight with our allies across service lines is simply awe-inspiring. The relationships we build amongst aviators, surface warriors, warfare commanders and senior leaders in exercises such as Keen Sword is the cornerstone of our alliance – an alliance that has ensured regional peace and stability for nearly 60 years.

PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Murasame-class destroyer JS Kirisame (DD 104) and the JMSDF Hatsuyuki-class destroyer JS Asayuki (DD 132) steam in formation with other ships from the U.S. Navy and JMSDF during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timothy M. Black/Released)
PHILIPPINE SEA (Nov. 8, 2018) The Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Murasame-class destroyer JS Kirisame (DD 104) and the JMSDF Hatsuyuki-class destroyer JS Asayuki (DD 132) steam in formation with other ships from the U.S. Navy and JMSDF during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Timothy M. Black/Released)

As I sat drinking a cup of coffee with Rear Adm. Egawa, commander, Escort Flotilla One, while discussing lessons from our current exercise, we reminisced on our experiences as young naval officers. We talked of the ports we had visited, agreed how we could build upon our already strong relationship, and discussed how this partnership would only grow stronger upon our return to Yokosuka, Japan. At one point, we discussed my flight and what I observed, and it dawned on me how that moment really summed up what made Keen Sword special. From the young Kaijo Jieitai and U.S. Navy officers and Sailors flying and sailing together as one to the two senior officers ending the day together over a cup of coffee; exercises like Keen Sword enable us to practice integration so that it becomes simple, routine and highly effective. We ended our meeting with a keen eye to the future, and pondered whether the young aviators who fly our two nation’s E-2D Advanced Hawkeyes would be the catalyst to take Keen Sword 2021’s interoperability to an entirely new level.

Editor’s note: Rear Adm. Thomas is a career E-2C Hawkeye naval flight officer and the commander of Task Force 70, which is based in Yokosuka, Japan.


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A Keen Eye on Keen Sword

SECNAV Spencer’s 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Message

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By Richard V. Spencer
Secretary of the Navy

To our Marines, civilians, families, and friends:

For 243 years, United States Marines have set the standard for military excellence, ready to respond at any time, in any place, whenever there is a need.

One hundred years ago, the enemy called them the Devil Dogs for the way they turned the tide at Belleau Wood. Seventy-five years ago, the shores and jungles of Tarawa shook with the determined charge of United States Marines. And fifty years ago, Marines like Gunnery Sergeant John Canley imposed order on the chaotic urban battlefield of Hue.

WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)
WASHINGTON (Oct. 18, 2018) Retired U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. John L. Canley, the 300th Marine Medal of Honor recipient, gives closing remarks at the Pentagon. From Jan. 31 to Feb. 6, 1968, in the Republic of Vietnam, Canley, the company gunnery sergeant assigned to Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 1st Marines, took command of the company, led multiple attacks against enemy-fortified positions, rushed across fire-swept terrain despite his own wounds, and carried wounded Marines into Hue City, including his commanding officer, in order to relieve friendly forces who were surrounded. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Daisha R. Johnson/Released)

It was my honor to meet now Sergeant Major Canley (retired) and to add his name to the Hall of Valor following his receipt of the Congressional Medal of Honor. It was a reminder of the service and sacrifice of the unbroken line of patriots, from its beginning in the earliest days of the revolution, through the Marines it was my honor to serve alongside, to the warriors who stand watch throughout the globe today.

Polly and I are forever grateful for all that you, your families, and your loved ones do for our nation. Because of your hard work and dedication, the foundation for restoring readiness and increasing lethality has been set. But as we enter our 244th year of service, we must now build on that foundation with a committed sense of urgency. We are accountable for how and where we invest our time and our resources, and we must understand the readiness and lethality we gain from those investments.

Solve the problems in front of you. Send solutions up the chain, and empower those you command to do the same. Ask yourselves and each other how can we accomplish our mission better, faster, and more efficiently. With your help, I have no doubt we will leverage every resource, leading practice, and efficiency we can find with the professionalism, integrity, and accountability the American people have come to expect from the Corps after 243 years of honor and valor.

Happy Birthday, Marines. God bless you, God bless the United States Marine Corps, and God bless the United States of America. Semper Fi.


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SECNAV Spencer’s 243rd Marine Corps Birthday Message

Your Navy Operating Forward – Genkai Sea, Norwegian Sea, Philippine Sea

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NORWEGIAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 approaches for a landing aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Oct. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


NORWEGIAN SEA: Landing craft air cushion 84, assigned to Assault Craft Unit 4 and attached to the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS New York (LPD 21), transits the Norwegian Sea, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 3rd Class Lydon Schwartz/Released)

GENKAI SEA: Sailors prepare to lower a float during a mine sweeping training evolution aboard the Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Chief (MCM 14). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jordan Crouch/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) transits the Mediterranean Sea, Oct. 30, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors assigned to Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit 5, fast rope from an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat (HSC) 12, aboard the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erwin Jacob V. Miciano/Released)

HELL, Norway: An M1A1 Abrams traverses a medium girder bridge assembled by Seabees from Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 1 and Marines from the 8th Engineer Support Battalion in Hell, Norway, during exercise Trident Juncture 2018, Oct. 21, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Jeffrey J. Pierce/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 28 approaches for a landing aboard the command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20), Oct. 27, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)

WATERS SOUTH OF JAPAN: A Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine participates in Exercise Keen Sword with Submarine Group 7 and Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Sailors and staff. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Electronics Technician (Radioman) Robert Gulini/Released)

NORTH SEA: The guided-missile destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) fires its MK 45 5-inch gun as part of a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Raymond Maddocks/Released)

PHILIPPINE SEA: Sailors perform preflight checks on an E/A-18G Growler on the flight deck of the forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) during exercise Keen Sword 19, Nov. 1, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) pulls alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)

OKINAWA, Japan: Boatswain’s Mate 3rd Class Nayyaamunhotep Stubbs signals landing craft utility 1633 to approach the well deck of the amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) to receive equipment for Defense Support to Civil Authorities (DSCA) efforts off the coast of Okinawa, Japan, Oct. 29, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Joshua Mortensen/Released)

ALVUND, Norway: Marines and Sailors offload light armored vehicles, attached to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, from a landing craft air cushion in Alvund, Norway, during an amphibious landing in support of exercise Trident Juncture 2018, Oct. 30, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Margaret Gale/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) pulls alongside the fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)

ARABIAN GULF: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) fires its M45 5-inch gun as part of a live-fire exercise, Nov. 2, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Intelligence Specialist Matt Bodenner/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) transits the Alvund Fjord, Oct. 31, 2018. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin Leitner/Released)

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Elections Present Questions, but DoD Has Answers

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By Yonca Poyraz-Dogan
Navy Office of Information

As midterm elections are at the door, some guidance on the use of social media, military support of political activities and use of government sources could help to distinguish between official business and activities of candidates. Additionally, how about what to avoid while using social media?

The Department of Defense (DoD) has the answers concerning these issues. First of all, DoD encourages all of its members to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members should not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel should avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

A DoD memorandum also indicates that commanders responsible of military post offices will ensure expeditious processing of balloting material and proper postmarking and date stamping of absentee ballots.

Regarding public commentary and endorsement, DoD guidelines state that any activity that may be reasonably viewed as directly or indirectly associating with DoD, or any component or personnel of the department, with a partisan political activity or is otherwise contrary to the spirit should be avoided.

When it comes to online activities and use of social media, DoD memorandum states that Facebook and Twitter are specifically mentioned because of their popularity but, the guidance provided applies equally to all other social media platforms, such as Tumblr, LinkedIn, etc. The following policy guidance addresses the use of social media for political purposes:

  • In general, all federal employees and active duty members may use social media and email to express his or her own personal views on public issues or political candidates, much the same as they would be permitted to write a letter to the editor of a newspaper. If a social media site/post identifies the member as on active duty — or if the member is otherwise reasonably identifiable as an active duty member — then the entry will clearly and prominently state that the views expressed are those of the individual only and not those of the DoD. An active duty member may not, however, engage in any partisan political activity. Further, an active duty member may not post or make direct links to a political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause because such activity is the equivalent of distributing literature on behalf of those entities or individuals, which is prohibited by reference.
  • An active duty member may become a friend of or like the Facebook page, or follow the social media account of a political party or partisan candidate, campaign, group or cause. However, active duty members will refrain from engaging in activities with respect to those entities’ social media accounts that would constitute political activity. This would include, for example, suggesting that others like, friend, or follow the political party, partisan political candidate, campaign, group or cause, or forwarding an invitation or solicitation from said entities to others.
  • Active duty members are subject to additional restrictions based on the Joint Ethics Regulation, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, and service-specific rules, to include rules governing the use of government resources and governmental communications systems, such as email and internet usage.
  • Members of the armed forces not on active duty are not subject to the social media restrictions listed above so long as the member does not act in a manner that could reasonably create the perception or appearance of official sponsorship, approval or endorsement by the DoD or the member’s service.

In addition to being mindful about your political posts, tweets, snaps, etc., don’t forget about expectations for online conduct by Sailors and Department of the Navy civilians.

Do you still have questions? Then, take a look at this:

What is the DoD policy regarding political activities by members of the armed forces?
DoD encourages members of the armed forces to carry out the obligations of citizenship, including voting and encourages others to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause.

What political activities can a service member participate in and which ones are prohibited?
DoD has a longstanding policy of encouraging military personnel to carry out the obligations of citizenship, and certain political activities are permitted, such as voting and making a personal monetary donation. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities, and all military personnel will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement of a political candidate, campaign or cause. Examples of political activities that are prohibited include campaigning for a candidate, soliciting contributions, marching in a partisan parade and wearing the uniform to a partisan event. For a complete list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

Does that mean a service member can vote, but not actively support a particular candidate or cause?
Unquestionably, service members can exercise their right to vote. However, active duty members will not engage in partisan political activities and will avoid the inference that their political activities imply or appear to imply DoD sponsorship, approval or endorsement. For a list of permissible and prohibited activities, please consult DoD Directive 1344.10.

What about DoD civilians?
DoD civilians may express their opinions about a partisan group or candidate in a partisan race by posting, liking, sharing, tweeting or retweeting, but there are a few limitations. The Hatch Act prohibits federal employees from:

  • Engaging in any political activity via social media while on duty or in the workplace
  • Referring to their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity at any time (note that including an employee’s official title or position on one’s social media profile, without more, is not an improper use of official authority)
  • Suggesting or asking anyone to make political contributions at any time, including providing links to the political contribution page of any partisan group or candidate in a partisan race or liking, sharing or retweeting a solicitation from one of those entities and invitation to a political fundraising event. However, an employee may accept an invitation to a political fundraising event from such entities via social media.

Does DoD support and encourage its personnel to vote?
DoD encourages all members of the armed forces and federal civilian employees to register and vote. The department actively supports the Federal Voting Assistance Program (FVAP) to ensure its personnel have the resources, time and ability to participate in their civic duty. Additionally, department leaders and military commanders appoint voting assistance officers at every level of command and ensure they are trained and equipped to provide voting assistance.

Does DoD provide any voting assistance?
Yes, DoD provides voting assistance via the Federal Voting Assistance Program. FVAP works to ensure service members, their eligible family members and overseas citizens are aware of their right to vote and have the tools and resources to successfully do so – from anywhere in the world via FVAP.gov. The services also provide voting assistance officers at the unit level to facilitate in-person assistance when required.

Finally, the above information doesn’t cover every situation. If in doubt, consult your command’s ethics counselor.


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Elections Present Questions, but DoD Has Answers

Your Navy Operating Forward – North Sea, East China Sea, Norwegian Sea

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NORWEGIAN SEA: An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier has entered the Arctic Circle. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)



Right now your Navy is 100 percent on watch around the globe helping to preserve the American way of life. Whether it be operating and training off the coast of Spain or forward deployed to the Arabian Gulf, the flexibility and presence provided by our U.S. naval forces provides national leaders with great options for protecting and maintaining our national security and interests around the world. The imagery below highlights the Navy’s ability to provide those options by operating forward.


NORWEGIAN SEA: An F/A-18F Super Hornet, assigned to the “Red Rippers” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 11, launches from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier has entered the Arctic Circle. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Thomas Gooley/Released)

NORTH SEA: Sailors transport an E-2D Hawkeye, assigned to the “Seahawks” of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 126, on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maxwell Higgins/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64) fires its Phalanx close-in weapons system during a live-fire exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

EAST CHINA SEA: An MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “Island Knights” of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25 prepares to land on the flight deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Michael Molina/Released)

REYKJAVIK, Iceland: The amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7) docks in Faxa Bay, Reykjavik, Iceland, with U.S. Marines from the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) as part of Exercise Trident Juncture 18. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Averi Coppa/Released)

SAFAGA, Egypt: The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) performs a gunnery exercise with the Egyptian navy Descubierta-class corvette ENS El Suez (F 946). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the Sunliners of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 81 lands on the flight deck aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). For the first time in nearly 30 years, a U.S. aircraft carrier has entered the Arctic Circle. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Maxwell Higgins/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sailors refuel an MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter assigned to the “€œDeath Howlers” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72, Detachment 2, on the flight deck of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

GULF OF ADEN: The guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham (DDG 109) operates in the Gulf of Aden at night. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialists 3rd Class Jonathan Clay/Released)

NORTH SEA: The Blue Ridge-class command and control ship USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20) transits the North Sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)

ESMERALDAS, Ecuador: The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) is stationed off the coast of Ecuador for an 11-week medical support mission to Central and South America as part of U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Scott Bigley/Released)

EAST CHINA SEA: Pallets of food and supplies from the Military Sealift Command fleet replenishment oiler USNS Tippecanoe (T-AO 199) approach the amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1) during a connected replenishment. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Daniel Barker/Released)

NORWEGIAN SEA: An MH-60R Seahawk helicopter, assigned to the “Proud Warriors” of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 72, takes off from the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Joseph A.D. Phillips/Released)

MEDITERRANEAN SEA: Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Jacob Ferrantino performs conducts a dry fire of a surface-vessel torpedo tube aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)

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Getting from Vulnerable to Cyber Secure

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By George Bieber
Naval Information Forces Public Affairs

We are in the cyber fight 24/7. Ransomware attacks, identity theft and online credit card fraud can be devastating, and these are just a few of the many types of malicious software and network attacks. If you’ve never been the victim of a breach, consider yourself lucky, but don’t let your luck lead you to complacency.

Below are tips recommended by military and private sector computer experts to better protect your personal information online:

  • Install an antivirus and update it.
    Antivirus software and updates are automatically covered at our worksites by Naval Information Forces’ Information Technicians (IT) Sailors at numerous commands around the globe and Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) via Naval Network Warfare Command (NETWARCOM). For your computers at home, download antivirus software, which will help protect your computer against viruses and malware.
  • Explore security tools you install.
    Many excellent apps and settings help protect your devices and your identity, but they’re only valuable if you know how to use them properly. Ensure your antivirus is configured and working correctly.
  • Use unique passwords for each account.
    One of the easiest ways hackers steal information is by getting a batch of username and password combinations from one source and trying those same combinations elsewhere. The single best way to prevent one data breach from having a domino effect is to use strong, unique passwords for every online account, preferably featuring 14 characters that combine upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Get a VPN and use it.
    Any time you connect to the nternet using a Wi-Fi network that you don’t recognize, use a virtual private network, or VPN. A VPN hides your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic, providing enhanced online security to the user.
  • Use two-factor authentication.
    Two-factor authentication means you need to pass another layer of authentication other than a password. This could include a fingerprint, facial recognition or a text. If the data or personal information in an account is sensitive or valuable, and the account offers two-factor authentication, you should enable it.
  • Use passcodes.
    Use a passcode lock on every smart device to protect your personal data. Many smartphones offer a four-digit PIN by default. Set a strong passcode, not an obvious four-digit PIN such as 1-4, last four digits of a Social Security Number, birthday or phone number.
  • Use different email addresses for different accounts.
    Consider maintaining one email address dedicated to signing up for apps that you want to try, but which might have questionable security, or which might spam you with promotional messages. After you’ve vetted a service or app, sign up using one of your permanent email accounts. If the dedicated account starts to get spam, close it and create a new one.
  • Clear your cache.
    To better protect that information that may be lurking in your web history, be sure to delete browser cookies and clear your browser history on a regular basis. To clear your cache, simply press Ctrl+Shift+Del to bring up a dialog that lets you choose which elements of browser data you want to clear.
  • Turn off the ‘save password’ feature in browsers.
    When you install a third-party password manager, it typically offers to import your password from the browser’s storage. If password managers can do that, you can be sure some malicious software can do the same.
  • Don’t fall prey to click bait.
    Click bait doesn’t just refer to cat compilation videos and catchy headlines. It can also include links in email, messaging apps and on social media sites. Phishing links masquerade as secure websites, hoping to trick you into giving them your credentials. Drive-by download pages can cause malware to automatically download and infect your device. Don’t click links in emails or text messages unless they come from a trusted source, and even then you should exercise caution.
  • Protect your social media privacy.
    Make sure you’ve configured each social media site so that your posts aren’t public. Think twice before revealing too much in a post, since your friends might share it with others. With care, you can retain your privacy without losing the entertainment and connections of social media.

Following these simple guidelines will help decrease your vulnerability in the cyber battlespace, and ensure that your personal data is better protected.


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MCPON Letter to the Enlisted Force: Focus on building winning teams

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Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith

The world stage is a very dynamic and challenging one, with many nations maturing their ability to efficiently operate in the maritime environment. The evolution of technology, and our Navy’s growth in this new “great powers” era demands that our Navy apply resources in a far more refined and complex manner. As our Navy’s storied legacy continues, the Navy the Nation Needs will demand more from us. We must become stronger, run faster and effectively build teams to compete and win in high-end warfare at sea.

Institutional loyalty – “ship, shipmate, self” – as well as organizational transparency and clear messaging will continue to be a priority, as well as dignity and respect between all of our teammates. Understanding the solemn privilege we have as stewards of the public trust will be emphasized. Austerity and humility are necessary attributes to embrace as we carefully manage the resources the American public has entrusted to us.

Every Navy leader aspires to leave behind a better and more prepared Navy than the one they found when they arrived, and I am no different. The principal concern of the Office of the MCPON remains first and foremost to serve as a determined advocate on behalf of our enlisted force, as well as to find ways to leverage our 3,000 master chiefs in leading 31,000 chief petty officers to build winning teams in preparation for the future fight. Together we must set a blistering pace above, on and below the sea, projecting strength so profoundly that we give pause to anyone who would dare challenge us.

Four great strengths of the Mess are technical competence, innovative thinking, communication and networking. These skills give us the ability to be a force multiplier in both peace and war, enabling us to solve the greatest challenges by connecting our Navy horizontally. Known for using deckplate skills and experience to innovate and get results, the Mess will be absolutely essential to finding new and better ways to build muscle memory that develops toughness, which will lead to true combat readiness.

ATLANTIC OCEAN (June 25, 2015) Chief Damage Controlman D. C. Coronado instructs Damage Controlman 3rd Class R. E. Berens, left, and Damage Controlman Firman D. R. Barber during a general quarters drill in the hangar bay of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman was underway conducting a tailored ship's training availability off the east coast of the United States. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class E. T. Miller/Released)
ATLANTIC OCEAN (June 25, 2015) Chief Damage Controlman D. C. Coronado instructs Damage Controlman 3rd Class R. E. Berens, left, and Damage Controlman Firman D. R. Barber during a general quarters drill in the hangar bay of aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75). Harry S. Truman was underway conducting a tailored ship’s training availability off the east coast of the United States. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class E. T. Miller/Released)

We must keep Sailors from getting sidetracked or distracted, keeping them instead laser-focused on combat at sea against a determined enemy. To that end, we are engaged in delivering tools to the fleet, to render greater efficiencies in both personnel management and how we educate and train our Sailors. Those efforts will return time and opportunity to the deckplates, allowing leaders to focus on tactical skills and warfighting readiness.

Throughout our history, our greatest advantage has never been our machinery – rather, it has been the courage of the American Sailor facing adversity around the world. Perseverance, fortitude and spirit of service that each and every one of you brings to the fight will give us the decisive edge in the fight to come.

Russell L. Smith
MCPON

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 9, 2018) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith congratulates recruits during a capping ceremony inside USS Trayer (BST 21) at Recruit Training Command. Trayer, more commonly referred to as "Battle Stations," is the crucible event that recruits must pass prior to graduation, testing their knowledge and skills in basic seamanship, damage control, firefighting and emergency response procedures. More than 30,000 recruits graduate annually from the Navy's only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Spencer Fling/Released)
GREAT LAKES, Ill. (Oct. 9, 2018) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell L. Smith congratulates recruits during a capping ceremony inside USS Trayer (BST 21) at Recruit Training Command. Trayer, more commonly referred to as “Battle Stations,” is the crucible event that recruits must pass prior to graduation, testing their knowledge and skills in basic seamanship, damage control, firefighting and emergency response procedures. More than 30,000 recruits graduate annually from the Navy’s only boot camp. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Spencer Fling/Released)


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MCPON Letter to the Enlisted Force: Focus on building winning teams