On December 6, the Naval War College Foundation (NWCF) and Center for Maritime Strategy (CMS) co-hosted America’s Future Fleet: Forging Resilience and Driving Innovation, an inaugural symposium focused on issues related to maritime strategy and national security. The program was held at the Navy League of the United States in Arlington, VA. Philip M. Bilden, NWCF Chairman, and ADM James G. Foggo, USN (Ret.), Dean of the CMS, greeted more than 100 attendees with opening remarks before introducing the Secretary of the Navy, the Honorable Carlos Del Toro.
In his speech, Secretary Del Toro noted that the program’s date fell just before the anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and stressed the importance of military preparedness. He outlined the many updates made in his tenure as Secretary, including the construction of 54 new ships, the expansion of the Navy’s amphibious fleet, and the commissioning of seven surface combatants. Secretary Del Toro noted that international threats impact economic security, in addition to national security. “Ninety percent of international trade travels over the seas. One third of that transits the South China Sea. And over 400 undersea fiber optic cables carry over a trillion dollars in transactions every day,” said Secretary Del Toro. “The seas are indeed the lifeblood of our economy, our national security, and our way of life.”
As the Secretary’s speech came to a close, he recognized the importance of continuing education and partnerships across the Joint Force and industry. “The state of our Navy is strong and resilient. If we continue to build on that strength with the right investments in our platforms, people, and partnerships, we will always prevail.”
Following Secretary Del Toro’s remarks, the program continued with a series of panel discussions. CAPT George E. Lang, Jr., USN (Ret.), NWCF CEO, introduced the moderator of the first panel, Dr. Sam J. Tangredi, Leidos Chair of Future Warfare Studies and Professor of National, Naval, and Maritime Strategy at the U.S. Naval War College (USNWC). The panel, Fleet Architecture: Equipping the Future Force, featured ADM Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations for the U.S. Navy, ADM Scott Swift, USN (Ret.), and Michael Petters, Executive Vice Chairman of the Board at HII.
Ahead of the second panel discussion, Dr. Steven J. Mariano, Provost of the USNWC, and ADM James G. Foggo, USN (Ret.), Dean of the Center for Maritime Strategy, shared remarks over lunch before ADM Foggo introduced the second panel’s moderator. Accelerating AI Innovation was moderated by Francis Rose, host of the Daily Scoop Podcast. The Honorable William J. Lynn, Chief Executive Officer of Leonardo DRS, and Ylli Bajraktari, Chief Executive Officer of the Special Competitive Studies Project, assessed America’s competitive edge and vulnerabilities in cyber domain and artificial intelligence.
The final panel of the day was Supply Chain Resilience: Overcoming Barriers to Fuel the Fight. Mitchell B. Waldman, NWCF Secretary, introduced moderator Mackenzie Eaglen, Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. She led the discussion with LTG Ben Hodges, USA (Ret.), Senior Advisor at Human Rights First, VADM Rick Williamson, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics for the U.S. Navy, and Dr. Steven Wills, a Navalist at the Center for Maritime Strategy.
All photography courtesy of Oscar Parra (Oskar Dap Photography).