Rating Modernization: Advancement Process

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By Rear Adm. John Nowell

Rating Modernization is the future of the growing workforce in the Navy. In August we released NAVADMIN 196/18 which provided an update on those four lines of effort and this is the fourth of a total of five blog posts that will talk about the updates to Rating Modernization. We also have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that mirror the blogs we will be sharing with you.

In 2017 we gave commands the ability to reinstate an E3 Sailor to E4 who had been awarded NJP, after a six month waiting period. We also eliminated E4 advancement exams for 20 ratings where Sailors auto-advance, which helps to reduce administrative burden.


BELL GARDENS, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2019) Reserve component Sailors assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Los Angeles take advancement exams in the drill hall at NOSC Los Angeles.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

Then, late in 2017, Navy senior enlisted leaders completed the first phase of the Advancement Exam Readiness Review (AERR) testing bank improvement plan by drafting advancement exam questions that match current and relevant rating-specific technical requirements with the hands-on, real-world knowledge and experience needed in the fleet.

The establishment of the Professional Military Knowledge Eligibility Exam (PMK-EE) focuses the Navy Wide Advancement Exam (NWAE) on occupational knowledge and will serve as an eligibility requirement for advancement to pay grades E4/5/6/7. PMK-EE is delivered electronically and is available via the MyNavyPortal (MNP) website.


PEARL HARBOR (Jan. 16, 2019) Sailors review promotional materials for the MyNavy Career Development Symposium at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Riggs/Released)

The online Enlisted Advancement Worksheet (EAW), will automate the manual advancement processes and enable Sailors to review their worksheets before the exam and take charge of their advancement records. An EAW pilot, is available through the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), for the Active Duty and Reserve spring 2019 advancement cycles.

The Senior Enlisted Advancement to Vacancy (A2V) pilot was announced in June and will fill senior chief petty officer and master chief petty officer priority billets using a spot advancement incentive, and will lead enlisted advancement modernization for exceptional Sailors in all pay grades with critical NECs in the future.

Don’t forget to check out our podcasts! We have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that accompany this blog series.

Editor’s note: Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the force of tomorrow. It consists of approximately 45 living, breathing initiatives and is built on a framework of three pillars – a modern personnel system, a career learning continuum and career readiness.


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Rating Modernization: Advancement Process

Four Things You Need to Know About Strengthening the Culture of Operational Excellence

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From U.S. Navy

Recently, we released our one-year update on the Readiness Reform Oversight Committee’s work to make our Navy a safer and more combat-effective force that places the safety, readiness and training of our people first. The update covered a lot of ground, so we’re sharing the four things that you need to know about strengthening the culture of operational excellence:

  1. Empower transparent, data-driven decision-making at every echelon of command as foundational for achieving sustainable readiness. Safety and combat readiness are never mutually exclusive – rather, they are synonymous in the unforgiving medium of the sea.
  2. Invigorate and continually reinforce our culture of mission command, preserving the commanding officer’s ability to execute with initiative, creativity and clarity, while inspiring the best ideas from every rate and rank.
  3. Continue to improve and modernize naval talent management, maintenance and all training systems – both digital and hands-on – towards their maximum potential.
  4. Place our Sailors and our Navy families at the forefront of our efforts to create a dominant naval force that produces outstanding leaders and teams, armed with the best equipment and continually able to learn and adapt faster than our rivals.
ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 21, 2019) Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) observe as the ship pulls alongside the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) before a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)
ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 21, 2019) Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) observe as the ship pulls alongside the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) before a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

Here are examples of our ongoing efforts:

  • Armor Up (Surface Warfare Officers School Toughness Initiative): Beginning in July 2019, SWOS is adding an additional two weeks to the Surface Commander Course focusing on stress inoculation, coping skills and significant additional simulator time.
  • Updated Manning Models: An Afloat Work Week study found 4 percent fewer productive hours available than expected on ships conducting operations at sea, resulting in a requirement for an additional 1,400 billets across the fleet. A follow-up study currently underway, including Condition V watch requirements and in port work requirements, is expected to yield similar results.
  • Human Factors Expertise: Human Factors Engineers have been incorporated into TYCOM staffs in support of optimizing training/assessment processes and enhancing operational safety analysis. The presence of Embedded Mental Health (EMH) professionals is being enhanced across all fleet concentration areas; to date, 33 additional EMH billets (17 officer, nine enlisted and seven civilian) have been validated by the Bureau of Naval Medicine (BUMED) and funded across the Future Years Defense Program.
  • Integrated Industry Lessons in Support of Team Effectiveness: A new learning culture steering group, led by a Navy Reserve three-star admiral who is also a Fortune 500 executive, conducted comparative analysis spanning 30 companies, 15 Navy commands and the feedback of 25 culture experts in order to spearhead progress toward a learning culture that maximizes individual and team performance. This analysis will inform future RROC initiatives supporting a growing culture of excellence.

Quartermaster Seaman Apprentice Jacob Overturf, from Las Vegas, Nev., stands watch in the bridge of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lasheba James/Released)

One year in, it would be naïve to believe we are close to completing RROC’s work. However, due to the efforts of many professionals around the fleet, we are currently safe to operate and a more effective Navy than we were a year ago. But the hard work has only just begun. We can influence behavior in the short term through policy; we can only change the culture with sustained commitment to integrity, transparency and excellence in all that we do, at every level. This will remain, in every way, a team effort.

We owe our best to our shipmates, both the ones who we lost and the ones we serve alongside every day, around the world, in the unforgiving business of our nation’s defense.

Editor’s note: Follow related Navy Live blog content using tag RROC.


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Four Things You Need to Know About Strengthening the Culture of Operational Excellence

Maintaining Trust of Our Sailors and Families Residing in Public Private Venture and Government Housing

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From Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

Trust and confidence are the foundational bedrock upon which effective command rests. These principles are directly tied to our mission; if we lose the trust of our Sailors, Marines and their families, if they are disconnected or distracted, the entire team suffers. The Sailors and Marines in our care must be confident that when they bring a problem to their chain of command – preferably to their division officer and their division chief – their command leadership will advocate tirelessly on their behalf.

We are facing an urgent issue affecting not only the trust and confidence of our Sailors and their families, but also their health, safety and well-being. As we have discovered, in some cases the condition of our government and public private venture family housing aboard our installations is not where it should be. Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families. To that end, we are prioritizing efforts to better understand our Sailors’ living conditions in on-base government family and PPV housing, to ensure that as residents, they are provided with the quality of life they have earned and deserve.Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families.

What went wrong? The government role in the privatized partnership arrangement has become too passive, leaving the day-to-day operation of the housing program to the residents and the private partners. We need to re-engage, especially at the command level, to advocate for our Sailors. CNIC, with support from OPNAV and NAVFAC, is on the job, already engaged in actions that will increase oversight of the partners, introduce improved quality assurance of the housing operations, follow-up on issues, add feedback mechanisms after trouble calls are closed out, focus on improved customer service, and begin a robust series of resident engagements ranging from email and social media outreach, town halls, and home visits by invitation. These efforts will be supplemented by command action on behalf of our Sailors and their families: 100 percent contact with all of your Sailors to invite them to specifically share their housing situation, experiences and unresolved issues. They may choose to decline these conversations, and they must not be pushed or pressured. During these conversations, for those in PPV or government housing, commands will offer to visit their residence if they desire. But visit or not, 100 percent of PPV residents will be engaged by their chain of command to ensure we understand their situation.

No later than April 15, 2019, every Sailor residing in PPV or government housing will be afforded an opportunity for a visit from their command at their residence. The purpose of these visits is threefold:

  • to raise our Navy awareness of family living conditions
  • to personally observe any issues affecting the home and to understand any actions being taken to address them
  • if a problem is found, to help your Sailor and their family get the problem resolved. In short, the purpose of the visit is to be their advocate.

This is not an inspection program; visits are to be strictly voluntary, by invitation only, and executed in accordance with the process set forth below.

Every Sailor with a PPV or government residence will be personally asked by their division officer if they would like to schedule a time for a visit from leaders in their command, ideally their division chief and division officer, to put eyes on any problems that the Sailor and their family are experiencing. It will be made clear to the Sailor that allowing the visit is purely voluntary and there will be no negative ramifications should either the Sailor or the Sailor’s family member decline a visit. Sailors and families will have an opportunity to ask any questions about the visit. If Sailors and families agree to a visit, a two-person team, ideally the Sailor’s division officer and division chief, will conduct the home visit. During the visit, command leadership will discuss how any problems are being resolved. The discussion should include the Sailor and all other adult family members living in the residence, provided the family member desires to participate.

For officers in PPV or government housing desiring a visit, use a similar approach, with at least one of the visiting team being senior to that of the officer whose residence will be visited (e.g., the respective department head for a division officer).

Finally, the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed, using existing procedures. If the Sailor declines a visit, the division officer will offer to discuss any housing issues with the Sailor or their family members by phone. In taking these steps, we will enhance understanding between the command and each Sailor and their family.

... the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed ...

Each team will consist of officers and/or chief petty officers only. In general, the most appropriate approach will be visits conducted by division officers and divisional leading chief petty officers. The uniform for the visit will be determined by the unit commanding officer. A minimum of one day prior to the scheduled visit, the senior member of the visit team will call or meet with the Sailor (or adult family member, if deployed) to be visited in order to confirm the time and date of the home visit.

At the beginning of the visit, the purpose of the visit will be explained to both Sailor and family and any datasheet used to record the information gathered during the visit will be shown to both. It is important to note that these visits are not inspections; they are by invitation of the residents and specifically intended to allow residents to raise concerns. The Sailor and family may end the visit at any time and for any reason. If at any time during the visit, the team believes that the visit is unfolding in an unhelpful way, the team leader will end the visit and report back to the unit commander. Before departing the residence, the visit team will offer to address any issues raised during the visit and to commit to following up on the issue with the Sailor. For instances where a Sailor reveals issues in PPV or government housing but declines a visit, the command will assist the Sailor by contacting the installation commanding officer, executive officer, command master chief and housing director

Special considerations:

  • Be sensitive to privacy concerns. There may be Sailors and families who will feel a visit to their home is a violation of their privacy. We must respect this view. The goals and methods of home visitation must be presented in a positive manner to ensure families understand that the visits have been designed exclusively to ensure their health and safety and to promote their quality of life. Visits will only proceed with the informed consent of the Sailor (or adult family member living in the residence, if the Sailor is deployed). All commands will take measures to ensure that we build trust through this process.
  • There cannot be even the hint of retaliation or retribution. It should be the goal of every command that their Sailors bring these and other issues to their command leadership for resolution. Leadership, especially small unit leadership, should be eager to resolve these problems on behalf of their Sailors. These are often sensitive issues, often emotional, and each of us needs to adopt an attitude of seeking to understand and fix problems through frank and helpful conversations.
  • Leaders shall not attempt to be property managers, personal finance counselors or admin specialists. They need to stand side-by-side with the Sailor while engaging with the base CO and base housing office through existing processes if issues are raised.
  • For instances where a Sailor discloses issues with a private landlord not in PPV housing, you can help here too. Often, the best move is to direct the Sailor to meet with the local Region Legal Service Office who have legal assistance attorneys trained and experienced in local landlord-tenant law.

Unit commanders shall prepare implementation guidance required for visit teams from their command. Prior to beginning command visits, the cognizant staff judge advocate and/or offices of general counsel attorney shall be consulted.

No actions taken in support of this NAVADMIN shall replace business agreement manager responsibilities with regard to the ongoing execution of PPV operating agreements. Specifically, visit teams and commands shall not engage with PPV partners directly to ensure discrepancies are corrected. All necessary corrective actions shall be referred to installation commanders for action in accordance with existing approved procedures.

ISICs and TYCOMs shall ensure 100 percent of families of deployed commands are contacted and offered a visit. In all cases, visits shall be conducted no later than April 15.

Visits of residences aboard Army, Air Force and Marine Corps installations shall be recorded and issues referred from unit commanders to the respective host installation and passed as information to the appropriate regional commander area of responsibility.

CNIC and regional commands shall be available if requested to provide advice to installations and tenant commands on Family Housing policy, and associated legal concerns through April 15.

All home visitation records will be submitted to the designated representative of the unit commander, ISIC or TYCOM as appropriate.

Observations taken are not considered records for purposes of the Privacy Act, nor will the observations be made part of a system of records. However, all home visitation records will be handled and secured as if those records were personally identifiable information to protect the privacy of visited families.

All home visitation records will be destroyed no later than one year after the date of the home visit.

Observations recorded will not be used for the completion of evaluations and fitness reports.

CNIC is responsible for providing additional guidance and answering questions from commands in response to this NAVADMIN. Unit commanders shall address questions through host installations to the local regional commander prior to elevating issues and concerns to CNIC.

Unit commanders shall notify their chain of command when all Sailor-families have been contacted and when all visits are complete. Echelon Two commanders shall notify CNIC when 100 percent contact is achieved and when visits are complete. The master database for all PPV issues brought to leadership attention resides at the base housing office level, hence the importance of all issues being provided to the installation command and housing office team for tracking and resolution....it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families.

I realize this is an intrusive “ask” for a lot of folks who are already doing a lot of important work. However, it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families. Let’s get to it.

Editor’s note: This blog was adapted from NAVADMIN 043/19 that was released Feb. 23, 2019.


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Maintaining Trust of Our Sailors and Families Residing in Public Private Venture and Government Housing

National Discussion on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at America’s Colleges, Universities and Service Academies

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Sarah DeGue Sarah DeGue is senior scientist in the Research and Evaluation Branch of the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) in the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (NCIPC), and lead for CDC’s Dating Matters® teen dating violence prevention initiative. Dr. DeGue has published dozens of peer-reviewed manuscripts, government publications, book chapters, and articles and frequently serves as an invited speaker at national meetings and conferences. She has served as an advisor on evidence-based sexual violence prevention to the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, Department of Defense, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, CDC’s Rape Prevention and Education program, and more.

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National Discussion on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at America’s Colleges, Universities and Service Academies

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)

Tell us which photo best shows YOUR Navy Operating Forward !


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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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By Rear. Adm. Karl Thomas Commander, Task Force 70 This week, we wrapped up Keen …

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