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  • Dr. Derek Reveron, U.S. Naval War College
  • RADM Jeffrey Lemmons, OPNAV Director for International Engagement

October 14, 2009

DEREK REVERON:  Well, welcome back.  Partnership is one of the themes of the conference and it wasn’t simply for alliterative purposes, though it seemed to work out quite well.  And I think in order for us to understand partnership, I think the international dimension is essential, so I’m very pleased to see a number of embassies represented here today. 

And leading at least the U.S. Navy’s effort in terms of international engagement is Rear Adm. Lemmons.  Adm. Lemmons is a 1970 naval academy graduate.  He served as a naval aviator in the maritime surveillance for the VP community.  He’s had many distinguished positions, to include vice commander of Naval Air Forces at North Island near San Diego, and currently he is the lead on the Navy staff in a new international directorate – or a new Directorate for International Engagement. 

So we have about an hour for his remarks, to include questions and answers on the important dimension of partnership.  Admiral?

ADM. JEFFREY LEMMONS:  Thank you very much.  I had some prepared remarks – and I do have prepared remarks and maybe I’ll get to them, maybe I won’t.  I got so much out of the last panel, which was just absolutely outstanding, and I have some comments that – it’s always good to make comments after the panel has moved to the audience.  You may or may not get response.

But, you know, for a guy like me to come out of a little town in the middle of Texas, who always dreamed about what the great waters were like and who ran away as quickly as he could to go out and get an education, I’m always humbled and in awe of the great work that goes on by so many nations to enable the commerce that this – the great global maritime commerce that this world depends upon.

We are all united by the sea.  I don’t care if you’re a land-locked country or if you have miles of coastline; you depend upon the sea for the health of your economy. 

The comments made earlier were very much aligned to the things I would like to discuss with you today, and first of which to comment – as an aviator, I agree very much, Adm. Ulrich; the things that happen by ATC systems and the things that allow us to move about the skies are critical because the risks are too high not to have them. 

But there are things that happen at sea where maybe there is not such a strong imperative and maybe the return is so high that enabling and putting a system in place may discourage some or disincentivize some because there is just so much money out there to be made.

So where there is such a great will in aviation, we have to help engender that will and drive that will in the maritime domain so that we can get to the place that you described, which is so critical.

Our office, the Directorate for International Engagement, was stood up by CNO Roughead, not to direct and drive international engagement or maritime safety and security but to understand all the disparate activity that goes on with Navy and to give it a matrix cause-and-effect relationship. 

In other words, the numbered fleets, the maritime component commanders that are out forward in the word and they’re working with our partners, have great relationships, and certainly they know best what partners need and do to enable maritime safety and security.  But those relationships are supposed to be supported back by the service as we man, train and equip and plan and prepare our budgets in order to enable those fleets to go out and have this engagement.

So we’re merely a strategy and policy cell that looks at our partners.  We look at the roadmap that our partners are on, and everyone is on their own path, what’s appropriate for their own nation.  And we look at those strategic linkages and areas where our partnerships need to be strong and need to be stronger. 

Now, one thing common to all those partnerships is this notion of maritime safety and security.  We have a great need to know what’s happening on the high seas, and even more so in close in the littoral.  And there are certain countries – an earlier conversation was from someone from Africa.  There are countries that just don’t know what’s happening inside even their breakwater, much less out to their EEZ.

So building relationships with these partners so that we can come in, as Adm. Ulrich alluded to with Africa Partnership Station.  We come in.  We visit with them.  We ask what their issues and their concerns are. 

And as they describe them, we work out a common strategy, where it’s appropriate, to provide training for visit, board, search and seizure, to provide training for chain of custody protection for any arrests that might be made, and then to bring the discussion ashore and discuss with our embassy and our State Department about what whole-of-government efforts are going on inside that capital, inside that nation, to work with the justice system, to work with the authorities that can then bring the bad actors to justice and perhaps stop the illicit activity offshore, and then perhaps return the wealth of nations to the books because right now it’s eroding sovereign nations.

Over-fishing.  Why are there pirates in Somalia?  It is an economic issue.  There was no capacity or capability to stop the over-fishing in the waters.  And so good heads of clans, doing what good heads of clans are supposed to do, have to find jobs and employment for the people that depend upon them.  That’s their role and their responsibility in their society.  And so piracy is a – you know, it’s a no-brainer.  It’s just a way to go about providing. 

So there are these root causes that we need to go after with our partners.  We need to figure out not the cure for the symptom, not the cure for the piracy as much as we need to find out what is driving these conditions, and how do we work together inside of our government to provide for it?

One of the wonderful relationships that I’ve grown over the last year was with Turk Maggi, who is sitting here in the front row.  Turk was a political advisor to our CNO and comes back to the State Department now, working in the counter-piracy work.  But Turk and I started talking about a year ago about the role of the United States government, the role of the Navy in partnering with the State Department specifically, to form a relationship that goes after these root causes.

Here you have a Navy that you bought to go fight and win on the high end of war.  And in our Maritime Strategy we say that our Navy should be able to do about six important things.  We ought to be able to provide maritime security.  Where conditions warrant it, we ought to provide sea control.  We could lock the water down and control what moves on and below it or above it. 

If we need to deter aggressors, we’ve got the strength to do it.  And it’s evident because we can project power.  And we have the capacity to go forward and be present.  And at all times, even though we’ve got the strong hand that’s ready to do warfare, we have the soft touch of humanitarian assistance and disaster response.  And it’s these six attributes that our maritime strategy calls us to do.

And we’re finding more and more that if that’s relevant for us it’s relevant for any nation that aspires to maritime power, and every nation is really on some version of that, to whatever degree is appropriate for their nation.

And so, as Turk and I would talk about this and talk about these root cases of instability, an we said what a wonderful thing when we’re not out there going to war – which none of us really want to do but we’re always prepared to do – why don’t we take this wonderful Navy that we’ve bought and go after these root causes of instability, which is just a segue from what you started, Adm. Ulrich, with Africa Partnership Station.

So we take this Navy, we cruise down the coastline.  We engage with the willing.  We talk about their issues and we start to develop a plan and a roadmap for building the safety and capacity.  And we take that dialogue to the embassy because at the embassy you have an ambassador who is in discussions with the combatant commander and they’re working to develop a theater security objective for the region.

And so all of this has to be netted together.  It has to have concurrence.  It has to have knowledge and purpose for it to be effective.  And so if we can start to help enable the development of basic sea control, or even just basic maritime domain awareness – if a country knows what’s happening in its water and can develop the capacity to act upon that, now you’ve got an opportunity to start to return some of the wealth that’s eroding offshore and put it back into the coffers of the nation, if you can stop it from leaking out and sifting out by other means.

And you can stop over-fishing and you can stop piracy.  First of all you stop smugglers.  A smuggler, left alone, will become emboldened, will develop a reputation, and will attract finance and eventually will start moving up and trading up in cargo, and you can move pretty quickly through counterfeit currently to narcotics to weapons and even into pushing terrorists and weapons of mass destruction.

So getting at the root cause early and stopping it as you grow safety and security is at the heart of what our partnership initiative is all about. 

So this last week I was up in Newport, Rhode Island.  I was up there with Adm. Phil Wisecup, who is – I hope that – you were referenced earlier in the discussion today.  He has done a wonderful job up there.  We sat and watched over a hundred heads of nations – over a hundred nations with over 90 heads of navies discussing this very issue and discussing what they were willing to do, and discussing the need to find the reasonable ground to advance these things that we’ve just discussed.

And so, with that in mind and giving you that as context, I would like to get into some of my remarks that speak to some of the things that nations are doing and also speak in context of the Atlantic, which I’ll try to do, based on the sign behind me.  (Laughter.) 

In that perspective, in the Atlantic – you know, obviously reaches from the Arctic to the Antarctic and has great respect not only for the great powers of the centuries before but the great powers that are emerging in countries like Brazil, countries that have vast hydrocarbon resources deep under and in its territorial Exclusive Economic Zone.

Brazil, from my way of thinking, doesn’t see itself as a South American nation.  It sees itself as an Atlantic nation, especially so regarding its maritime services.  And they have a stated interest that starts at around 16 degrees north latitude and extends all the way to the Antarctic – goes from their east coast all the way to the coast of Africa. 

And their natural affinities – and I’ll just digress to the other side of the continent for a moment.  When we talked to Peru and Chile and to some of the folks on the west side, they see themselves as Pacific nations and are much more comfortable, I believe, speaking with Pacific Command than perhaps they are sometimes with our Northern Command or perhaps even our 3rd Fleet there on the coast.

So all these things are connected but they need governance throughout the water space to expand their knowledge of and ability to act on their maritime domain, both locally and within their region. 

The Caribbean is also tied to the Atlantic through our U.S.-led efforts at the Joint Interagency Task Force, or JIATF South.  This was the best battle laboratory for maritime domain awareness that you could ever find.  Nations – over 20 nations, an interagency; folks working together to understand an interdict and stop the flow of trafficking – illicit trafficking out of South America is a real beauty to behold and if you haven’t been down there and you have the opportunity, I highly encourage you to do so.

And these drug trade – they’re becoming so successful that – of course you’ve read about semi-submersibles and other types of platforms – they’re having to evolve their tactics and methods because of the success of JIATF South.  They’re having to look for new routes to push their traffic, even across the top of South America instead of pushing up through the U.S., going straight to Africa and trying to work the European markets through Africa – a very big problem, a growing problem in narcotic trafficking in the Atlantic.

And I said earlier that left unchallenged, these smugglers will develop other methods and perhaps even link themselves to terrorists.  I heard the gentleman from Somalia earlier and I’m sorry that he’s gone.  I was going to ask him to define a little bit and clarify his comment about the connection between piracy and Al-Shabaab.  I haven’t seen that today but it’s not a far stretch.  You know, it’s not unnatural to believe that relationships, especially monetary relationships, don’t evolve and mature. 

So in light of these, much work needs to be done to increase the capacity and the willingness of maritime nations to work together to counter all these challenges.  Some are more advanced, some have greater technology, but all are on a path to provide the maritime security in the waters and especially in their own nation but to the partners within their region as is appropriate.

And we, as the United States and the United States Navy, do not have all the resources to do this alone.  This is a – it’s called out in our strategy as well.  It’s the willing banding together to take on the burdens that are disrupting the global economy through its maritime commerce.

It doesn’t surprise any of us that some of the regional powers are stepping up their activity and where it’s appropriate we need to support that activity and even to the point where we pass the baton.  I’ve mentioned Brazil earlier.  She’s got a logical and geographic affinity to partners in Africa.  In fact, on the last Africa Partnership Station there were a couple of ship-riders on our ship from Brazil, and we’re seeing increasing desire to do so.  And this is all very good.

There are networks that are growing around the world, and these networks are becoming interconnected.  Over in Italy there is the Virtual Regional Maritime Traffic Center, or VRMTC.  It’s grown now to include over two dozen nations in the wider Mediterranean area, and we’re very close to – I believe Adm. La Rosa is trying to get about 24 nations to sign up to this convention where we will have information sharing that allows the network of partners to pass data on the traffic that was described by the earlier panel.

And this really shouldn’t be such a far stretch.  When you think of the things that happen in the finance world – I can take my ATM card, I can go to just about any country in the world, never speak to anybody, not even speak the language; I can take this piece of plastic out of my pocket, walk up to a box and stick it in there and pretty soon I’m getting currency out.

Now, that’s a lot of information that’s flowing through networks that’s checked my bank, my bank all the way back in that little town in Texas.  A lot of risk perhaps, but the return and the reward is worth it to somebody or they wouldn’t have enabled this great system.

So it’s this type of advanced thinking, this maturity in our thinking, that needs to evolve into our discussion on maritime domain awareness and the desire – again, there’s great risks in not having an ATC system in the air, and there’s great rewards in not having maritime domain awareness at sea.  So how do we get this conversation right-sided so that we can discuss the return and the reward for sharing the information just the same way that the financial system has done by letting me use my ATM card anywhere in the world?

And that reminds me of another comment I wanted to make:  burden-sharing, cost-sharing in the civilian maritime field of the safety and security, if you took the fully burdened costs of the task force.  If I went up to that ATM machine and as I was getting money the Brinks car pulls up with bags of money and they didn’t have the guards there, I might be able to get a whole lot more than the limit on my card. 

But it’s in their best interest to have a couple of guys with pistols standing by as they reloaded that box.  And they know very quickly that if they don’t have those two guys standing there, that the banking system is probably going to – that particular bank is going to fail.  So there is a burden and a cost-sharing that goes along with this.  That’s one more analogy I wanted to throw to you. 

Besides the system in Italy that I talked about, VRMTC, another system of networks is going on in the Baltic.  It’s called SUCBAS.  It’s an effort in Scandinavia.  In South America there’s SISTRAM.  It’s a Spanish acronym but it stands for Maritime Traffic Information System.  And there is an America’s version of VRMTC that’s dubbed VRMTC-A that’s out there. 

So all of these regional systems – you have nations that are growing their own capability.  They’re linking and sharing information within the region.  Eventually this is going to end up in a netting across regions, and when there’s trust and cooperation and information can flow freely across those, then we set the grid, we set the network and the ability to achieve the things that the previous panel discussed.

But there’s got to be a reward.  There’s got to be an incentive.  There’s got to be a reason that motivates us to do this just besides wanting to have the knowledge and the awareness.  And we believe it’s returning the wealth back to the nations.  Those nations can then continue uninterrupted trade, and in the uninterrupted trade of the global economy, we all benefit.

So beyond the Atlantic and beyond Italy and beyond Brazil and some of the issues that we just discussed, this information sharing is just the first step.  These partners have to have the capacity and they have to have the authorities to act.  We’ve talked about the things that are happening in the Gulf of Aden and the counter-piracy work. 

While counter-piracy may be an economic issue, it has provided a great opportunity for us to work with navies that we never could exercise with before.  We steam around out together now.  There’s Pakistanis, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, nations that we would never have been able to achieve a multilateral operation like this.

If we’re ever going to build that grid and build that network, and if we’re ever going to share the burden and responsibility of acting together, this – in another battle lab experiment laboratory, this opportunity to do things together at sea has been invaluable.

Will it ever fix piracy?  I don’t think until you fix the root causes, but are we getting some residual benefit out of it that helps overall partner development and maritime domain awareness?  Absolutely.  And we’ll continue to leverage those things.

So what we’ve talked about so far is fixing something that – I heard the First Sea Lord say last week, Adm. Stanhope, fix something he called sea blindness.  There is a blindness out there in the sea.  It’s robbing us of our ability to act and act in a timely way to stop this illicit activity.

So if we build this network and can cure our sea blindness, we’re in a step in the right direction.  But there’s another form of sea blindness that happens inside of our own nations and in our partner nations, and that’s the transparency with which we do things at sea.  And it’s often not fully understood, the investment it takes and the cost that it takes to enable navies and Coast Guards and coalitions to act in such a way to deliver maritime security.

And so having this public debate and this public discussion, bringing this into the public domain is a great enabler for curing sea blindness at the national level as well.  It’s the old saying of, no bucks, no Buck Rogers.  It’s an important thing for us to also discuss.

So it takes time, working together, and the places that we are is building partnerships that are becoming instinctive and second nature.  We’re finding things that we agree on and moving out and doing something about it. 

While there was a discussion earlier, a desire for more things to be done, I would say that your United States Navy, working with the State Department in various countries and partners in working with the embassies, we’re trying to do something.  We’re doing something not just in the Atlantic but we’re doing something over in the Gulf of Aden, and we’re doing something in our global maritime partnerships, continuing promise in this hemisphere, South America, and Pacific Partnership and Africa Partnership.

So the more we do, the more we learn, the more partners we develop, and over time we have measurable success, but again, it takes the coalition of the willing and it takes the long-term dedication of all to bring to bear the things that we’ve discussed earlier today.

So with that said, I thank you for allowing my little segues.  I’d be interested in hearing your views on what challenges you see that face not just the Atlantic but the wider global community, and questions or concerns you have about partnership or the role of the United States Navy in those partnerships.

MR. REVERON:  Thank you, Adm. Lemmons, for reminding us that maritime safety and security is not simply piracy but it’s also illegal fishing, it’s also protecting the environment, preventing dumping, which is a significant problem in East Africa as well, and also reminding us that we are all united by the sea.  I think that’s a good phrase.

We do have an opportunity for questions and answers, and so as a reminder, please use the microphone and your name and organization, please.

Q:  Justin De Rise, the Nixon Center.  You mentioned the importance of emerging powers, and I guess you went into specifics on Brazil, but I was wondering if you could go into India.  They’re obviously the emerging power in the Indian Ocean.  They’ve been increasing their naval capacity and also their naval cooperation with the United States.

And I was just wondering if you could highlight the role that they play I guess today in combating – or in dealing with maritime security issues, and also perhaps a future role that they would have to play.  Thank you.

ADM. LEMMONS:  Well, obviously India is a great nation, a great maritime nation, and they are growing in their capability and capacity daily.  They have contributed to the coalition work off of their coastline, off of the Gulf of Aden, and they also are very much linked in exercises as far away as Japan, working in the Malabar exercises.  They have great partnerships that they’re growing around the Pacific Rim and they watch with concern activity that happens on both sides of the peninsula. 

I see a lot of corporate folks in the room, and I know a lot of initiatives that are ongoing with India as they wrestle with their own defense spending, which has continued to grow as a result of the growth of their own economy, the economy which is fueled by, in large part, by maritime growth.  I would say that you called that one clearly and you will see increasing both resolve and capability from India in the coming years. 


Q:  Thank you.  Jon Glassman, Northrop Grumman.  When you speak about maritime domain awareness, of course you’re talking about acquiring sensors – airborne, seaborne, ground – and also means of communication networks.  Given the fact that there is obviously budgetary stringency everywhere in the world, the U.S. Ex-Im Bank of course will not finance the export of military goods.  They will, however, finance dual use. 

I was wondering what you would think of an initiative championed by the Navy and Turk Maggi and so forth to have an initiative whereby we would have the means of achieving this maritime domain awareness, obviously for many of the civilian purposes we’ve already discussed, and have Ex-Im identify that as dual use and available for financing over a long-term basis.

ADM. LEMMONS:  Yeah, you’re getting off into an area that I don’t know much about.  I can speak a little bit about FMS and FMF and different types of funding, but when you get into dual-use issues, you get into a lot of scrutiny about what you’re not doing with it when you’re doing something else with it and the money and the resourcing that accompanies that.

So while you raise a very interesting point, I’m not qualified to answer that one.

MR. REVERON:  The lady with the green sweater.

Q:  Doris Haywood.  Sir, you mentioned global maritime partnerships.  And I know that a couple of years ago the State Department and Navy together rolled out this concept in terms of cooperation, not just among navies but among the entire spectrum of stakeholders in the maritime arena. 

However, it’s become clear since that time that there seems to be confusion on the part of everyone except perhaps the Navy on exactly what maritime – what global maritime partnerships are and what they’re supposed to do and how they’re supposed to operate.  Is it a coalition similar to PSI?  Is it just people cooperating on an ad hoc basis, that type of thing? 

So I was wondering if you could perhaps speak to what the vision is for global maritime partnerships.  Is it just a term or is there more to it than that?  I mean, I know there are cooperative activities but, again, there is that confusion.  Thank you.

ADM. LEMMONS:  Thank you, and that’s a very good question.  Sure, it is a term.  You have to have terms in order to have a common language and a common discussion.  In fact, in May of 2008 the State Department sent a cable out to all activities, directing all embassies and activities to write into their country plans those global maritime partnership actions desired within their country.

So yeah, it’s a term but what it describes is a relationship, and what it describes is the ability of like-minded nations to provide enough capability and capacity appropriate for the conditions in their own waters to have maritime safety and security to do the things that we’ve been discussing.

And now, those nations may or may not have all of the capability that they desire.  Their neighbors may or their partners may or their – I don’t use the word “allies” that often because it has a different connotation.  Partnerships are easily formed.  They can last for whatever appropriate duration is needed.  And these partners can come together; they can address the issues that partners share.  And then the partners can go away and do other things that they’re required to do by their own national tasking.

So this concept of global maritime partnerships describes a state or a status where people know what’s happening in their waters, they have the ability to go out and act upon that, or they have the assurances to know that the information will be passed to them by friends and partners so that together we can remove our – we can remove from the waters this illicit activity.

And it stems, everything, from not just having that architecture but the systematic planning and the processing of providing both the training, getting the equipment, getting the resourcing, getting the resolve to go out and act together. 

Does that describe it to you any better?

Q:  I think it does to me, but it’s clear from the feedback that we often get from other countries, other maritime stakeholders, that it’s not clear at all what it is that – or how it’s supposed to work; what it is that we get from those American partnerships that we aren’t already getting, that’s not already occurring, I think there really is confusion among maritime stakeholders of what, if any, additive value there is in having the label “global maritime partnership.”

MR. REVERON:  Ma’am.  Admiral, do you want to jump in on some of that?

ADM. HARRY ULRICH:  Yeah, I’ll talk to that. 

ADM. LEMMONS:  And it’s interesting, your word “stakeholders,” because in the places I’ve just come from I’ve listened to the heads of these navies and coast guards and at least they have a full and clear understanding of the value of these partnerships.

ADM. ULRICH:  I think that the confusion that exists is genuine, and it’s because of the choice of words.  We use the term “global maritime partnerships,” but what you do is global naval partnerships.  There is a difference.

When we – me – was doing global maritime partnerships down in Africa, we were working with maritime security forces write large – navies or coast guards or sometimes both – but we weren’t working with port authorities and shippers and dock crane operators, and so forth and so on, that make up the maritime dimension. 

The Navy is just one building block of maritime industry, maritime enterprise.  And so we confuse people by – when we say we’re doing maritime partnerships, they’re thinking Maritime capital “M.”  What we normally do, just because we’re the Navy is really Navy-plus-plus as opposed to the entire maritime enterprise.

I think that’s what the confusion is.  Could that possibly be it?

Q:  I think so because part of the question – one of the questions that continually comes up is, is this merely a continuation of navy-to-navy efforts –

ADM. ULRICH:  Right.

Q:  – or is it supposed to be wider than that?

ADM. LEMMONS:  Let me take it a different – let me describe to you a hypothetical.  It’s not so much hypothetical; we’re working towards making this a reality.  Let’s pick – you pick any country in your mind that needs to develop some – its maritime capability.  Say it’s got over-fishing offshore and we know we’ve got to get out there and we’ve got to stop that. 

And if they won’t stop we’ve got to bring that catch to port.  We’ve got to fine them.  We’ve got to bring people to justice, and this is in the best interests of our nation, but we don’t have a boat.  And not only do we not have a boat, we don’t have the pier to tie the boat up to.

So we’ve got to start with the basic blocking and tackling of how we’re going to develop the rudimentary – we’ve got the will, we have the desire, we may even have the finance, but now we’ve got to have a plan where we work together.

So there’s some basics that have to be done and there’s some training that has to be done, and then you’ve got to go out there and actually do it and you’ve got to bring them in, but then that’s only partway there.

Now we’re going to do this every day, so now we’ve got to hire some people, and those people need to stay on the job.  So you know what?  We’re going to build a clinic because we need them to be healthy and we need to have them go and get their shots.  And, oh, by the way, we’re going to let their families come also because if their families are sick and they’re absent off the job, we can’t get the work done.

And then we’ve got to send them to a trade school so we’ve got to build a tech building to do small-boat motor repair, and we’ve got to have some folks come in with books and computers and teach them. 

So we’re talking about reshaping a maritime capability, and you do that with partners helping partners.  So I’m describing to you a system of relationships that take trust and time to build, and when you’re all through you turn around and you say, didn’t that global maritime partnership deliver something of value?  And the partner can move away and go do something else knowing that the capability will prevail and persist because you built it to last. 

Okay, that’s very basic.  It’s oversimplified.  There’s legal issues, there’s will of government, there’s what do you do with that money when you take it in the courts as fines, and where does it go, and does it get reinvested into the society, and do you see secondary and tertiary metrics show that this is worthwhile?  Do you see the live birth rate go up and literacy rates go up? 

So there’s a whole other dimension to this that’s much more complex, but if you look at the real statistic that says there’s going to be 1.8 billion more people on the planet by the year 2020 and only 4 percent of those people are going to be born in the developed world – so 96 percent of that 1.8 billion are going to be born in the undeveloped world, that world where people are increasingly moving to the coastline for employment.

They’re increasingly moving to the coastline for sources of sustenance.  And if there are no jobs and if there’s no meaningful work, they’re going to be drawn to illicit activity.  They’re going to go out and they’re going to smuggle, they’re going to pirate, they’re going to go to where the bucks are.  And if we don’t go and do something about that today, 20 years from now we’re going to have to go back there and maybe kill them.

That’s a rough way of saying it, but if we don’t take care of the root causes of instability today – I wish Phil Greene was here because this is where he and I like to go round and round about this notion of irregular warfare. 

To me, taking the large military that you bought, that you know you can go out and fight and win with on the high end of war, but taking it and putting it against the root causes of instability so that you stop those conditions before they become so tenuous that you have to go kinetic, that is taking a regular force and using it in irregular way to keep yourself from having to fight the wars 10, 15 years from now when those young men are of age to go out and carry a gun.

And so if you take a big step back from that, you say to yourself, a global maritime partnership is a very complicated thing but it has very, very high value and high capability to provide stability in this unstable world.  That’s my best and final answer.  (Laughter.) 

MR. REVERON:  To the gray – and maybe in the best case, the partner takes ownership of this and then becomes a regional center and then the U.S. doesn’t get involved at all. 

Q:  Admiral, Cmdr. Herb Carmen from the Center for a New American Security.  We talked about naval-to-naval engagement.  Some of the things you just mentioned are population-centric engagement.  And to do those sorts of things, you’re involving a lot of sailors that are, you know, working hand in hand with our international partners. 

And I know you have a lot to do with the Foreign Area Officer program, and there’s about 200 or so Foreign Area Officers.  Is that enough, and if it’s not enough, how do you build the regional expertise in the fleet to be able to do those missions so we can prevent the next war?

ADM. LEMMONS:  Thank you.  I am very much – Adm. Crowder, my boss, has named himself the “godfather” of the FAO program, and if he is, then I’m his capo. 

So yes, we’re trying it again in Navy.  This is our third iteration to develop our Foreign Area Officer Program.  We have about 200 today.  We have a desire to have around 420.  If we build this right – and I believe we’re on the right path – the commander will be able to turn – just as a commander turns for advice to his JAG officer for rules of engagement or to the chaplain for spiritual comfort, he ought to be able to turn for political military opinion and advice from the Foreign Area Officer.

And we’re building these Foreign Area Officers with regional expertise.  We’re trying to get them in country as quickly as we can and keep them there as long as we can so that they become of value as they grow in rank and time in the Navy.

Now, do I have enough of them?  Not yet.  When we hit 420, will I have enough?  I’m not sure.  It depends on the feedback we get from the fleet.  Do we need to get them in the right jobs in the right places?  Yes, we do. 

And having the FAO come in and work in this hypothetical country that we just described, having them there ahead of time before the partnership work begins, having them do the research and the homework to help inform all the preparatory activities, having them be there in execution and coming back after the event is over to do the assessment and then come back and give that feedback to Navy so that we can reinforce behavior and sustain behavior and come back and build new behavior is a critical piece of work. 

So yeah, we’re looking at putting the FAOs very deeply into this work, and then as they mature, we’ll put them up on staffs like Adm. Ulrich ran so that they can continue to provide insight to the commander.

MR. REVERON:  Other questions?

Q:  Thanks.  It’s Ken Yates.  Admiral, what you describe is very good.  It sounds terrific, I think, from my experience abroad.  But to give a special example as just one possibility, Liberia has a problem.  Over-fishing is a big problem in Liberia.  They’re starving on the ground, and there used to be plenty of fish out there.  There are none now.  It’s empty because the big factory ships have come through.  They need a way to stop that. 

But they need more than just training, pier, ships and some money.  What they need is a package that can go in and get plugged into Liberia, of laws which can be used and regulations that can be used to apply to those services that they can implement in some way.

They’ve got a lot of people ready, willing and able to go and work on it, but they lack the wherewithal in terms of cash.  They had a – a couple years ago they had a budget of $85 million for the entire country.  That’s something we would view as small change up here, but yet they don’t have those resources and there’s no future that they have to be able to actually ever have them.

So it’s going to – either we have to provide the material or the ideas or the plug-ins or the things they can self-help and bootstrap themselves up.  And I think without that we’re still spinning our wheels here.  We can weave a nice web of interesting possibilities but unless we can get them the implementations, we’re not going to get very far, I think.

ADM. LEMMONS:  Your point is very well made, and I would never suppose that the United States Navy is going to go around and fix the ills and woes on such a scale in any nation.  It’s not our job; it’s not our charter.

But I know there is a dialogue that goes on between heads of nations and there is a respect for the national sovereignty of Liberia.  There is a dialogue that happens between our ambassador and our State Department.  And when those things reach such a level that it is of importance, that message comes down to the Navy as opportunity for us to go and go things.

So there are many barriers in the way of getting to the place that people want to go.  We could run the CNO’s entire budget down any one of those barriers – you know, down that hole, if you will, and never change a thing because you have to have a much broader view and perspective.  But in concert, if this is a tasking that comes to us – the questions are very good questions – it has to be done across several agencies and several departments in order to have the holistic effect that you describe.

Q:  Admiral, thanks. 

MR. REVERON:  It was on.

Q:  Admiral, thanks.  That was great.  I’m Robert Maggi from the State Department. 

In follow up to Mr. Yates’s question, do you have any methodology in which, as you’re picking the countries that you’re going to be going to assist, the countries that you’re going to engage with, do you have any way that you take a look and see where you have the greatest expectation of success, where you think you have the greatest opportunity to perhaps remove the barriers of success, where you can go and look for folks that you think that they can become the partners that you’re looking for fastest, and perhaps people that then can pick up their fair share of the burden of maritime security?

ADM. LEMMONS:  That’s a good question, and I appreciate that because it’s not for me to pick and it’s not for my office to pick.  And I would say that it’s really not even for CNO to pick.

We receive guidance for the employment of the force.  We receive direction from OSD, the Department of Defense, on priorities and nations that are priorities.  And the combatant commanders work to establish how they intend to go out and engage those countries.  And from that they turn to all – as you know – as you well know, they turn to all of their service components and say, show me your plan now to meet the priorities that we’ve been given. 

So this is where we get our priorities from.  These priorities come back to us from the field.  Now, we take a look at those priorities and we say, okay, the Navy in Africa or in the Pacific is working these priorities from their combatant commander.  What are we doing back here in big Navy to support the work of the fleet commander, and what are the tools and opportunities within Navy that enable the commander to meet his objectives?

And so, from that perspective, yes, we’ve got – we kind of keep a look at what they’re doing and we take a look at what progress they’re making, and we’ve taken a temperature reading and give it to CNO and say, hey, they’re needing more over here; we’ve got to really pony up and make sure they need it. 

And that may come in the form of money, it may come in the form of people, or it may become an issue that we take over to State Department and say, we’ve got a partner that is very important to the United States that’s on a path of development, and when this discussion happens in town or when the money is supposed to go in for the support of this partner, we need a lot of folks rogering up to help because this is a strategic imperative.

So that’s the way we talk and do business.  We don’t sit in a vacuum – and shoot me if we ever do – we don’t sit in a vacuum and try and dream up good ideas and good places to go.  That’s pretty much plotted out for us.

Q:  Sean Cotton, DRS Technologies.  We’re kind of picking on the admirals in the front row, and this is kind of a softball for two of you.  But we just had the largest gathering of navies and leaders in Newport last week.  But over to you, Phil, and maybe Jeff – headline news, takeaways, common themes, your top three?  Either one want to go first –

(Cross talk.)

ADM. LEMMONS:  Well, I had the luxury of sitting in – I’ve got a mike here – I had the luxury of sitting in on the session for the heads of navies.  Somebody had to take notes – (laughter) – when you’re in a group that high-powered.  And so I have to, you know, make sure I don’t mix my right brain and left brain together and declare anything that would not be appropriate.

But the big takeaways for me were there was a – just the fact that that many nations showed up was indicative of the will and the resolve that’s out there.  We had around – Phil, what was it?  – 106 nations and about 93 or (9)4 heads of navies or coast guards.

Yeah, I don’t think there has ever been a delegation that big assembled in one place in recorded history.  The fact that they all came together speaks volumes, you know, even if they didn’t agree on one thing, which they did.  So that’s even bigger is that they were all of like mind that if we don’t take this conversation to the next level and begin to do something, that we’re going to miss the synergy and the traction that we’ve gotten to date.

I described to you several of the regional networks that are growing in effectiveness, and as navies see the opportunity of joining this regional network and they go back and they discuss with their governments and go to work on the protocols and the internal discussions that it takes in order to sign up for this network, you’re seeing a resolve of countries to go back and get that political will inside their own governments to come and allow their navies to participate in these networks.

They also were of like mind that as these networks grow and expand, eventually they’re going to need to be netted, and there is a potential out there for bigger things.  I wouldn’t say global – I think that may be a word too big – but I would say that there are people that – these heads of navies had a great desire to take this beyond the conversation to the next level.  And when you see men that focused and empowered and resolved to go back and do something, you really get a sense that we’re on the cusp of change. 

And those were my big takeaways.

ADM. PHILIP WISECUP:  The other thing was that, you know, you had navies in regions – for example, some of the chiefs who hadn’t been in the job very long, that was their opportunity to meet with all the chiefs in the regions and come to these understandings and talk about things.

Jeff characterized it quite accurately I think in that there was a collegiality that – I had never been involved in one of these before – which I think was striking. 

MR. REVERON:  We have time for one more question. 

Q:  This last discussion begs the question – Guy Thomas, S&T advisor, OGMSA, sir.  Going back to Adm. Ulrich, I don’t believe you heard when he made the pretty strong pitch that this is not a DOD, not a Navy, not an intel or a problem to be solved, but rather needs to be solved, at least in part, in total partnership with the civil people.

And in this last discussion for the last five minutes or so I haven’t heard any mention of that.  Would you care to bridge that?

ADM. LEMMONS:  Absolutely.  I agree with Adm. Ulrich completely.  It needs to be a civil-led, and where appropriate and where needed to have the helping, shaping hand, let’s continue to use this great Navy that we have invested in to help enable this work that takes away the root causes of instability within our waters in our regions.

But absolutely.  I think it’s a responsibility, especially inside of industry, to step forward.  And as I tried to say earlier, there has to be some great value in this effort or people are not going to come do it.  And the longer I see people resist this work, I wonder what their motivation is.  I wonder.

So how do you show that there is more value in embracing this opportunity than resisting it and sticking to whatever residuals are benefiting whomever?  And this is not the work of your Navy and military to do. 

Now, we certainly are willing to help initiate a discussion, to advance an idea, to show proof of concept and demonstrate what the art of the possible is, which is the whole work of Africa Partnership Station.

I commend to you a book that’s out there called “Megacommunities.”  It talks about the role – you know, these large, netted megacommunities that we have, everyone has a role to play, and one of the critical roles in many change scenarios is the initiator.  And I would submit to you that through these global maritime partnership discussions, though these partnership station works, the Navy has attempted to act as an initiator but it needs to be picked up and led as you described.

MR. REVERON:  And I think that’s a good way to conclude our panel because the next one, that begins in 15 minutes, will be focused on confronting maritime security challenges.  The first speaker is Thomas Countryman from the State Department, and we also have Dr. Froelich, who is from the National Association of Waterfront Employers, and so we can look at the perspective from the civilian side as well.  So please take 15 minutes and we’ll start again at 2:15. 

Thank you, sir.  (Applause.)

Transcript by Federal News Service, Washington, D.C.

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