Fox Challenges Marines
Fox Challenges Marines, Navy to Innovate
By Nick Simeone, American Forces Press Service.
Washington D.C. – (AFPS)
– April 7, 2014 – The Navy and Marine Corps need to think about how to be more
innovative, including leveraging experiences learned from the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan, in the face of budget challenges that could become more acute,
acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox said today.
Acting Deputy Defense Secretary Christine H. Fox delivers remarks to students
at the Naval War College in Newport, R.I.
“Whether sequestration returns or not, the reality is we’re counting more
than ever on your leadership and innovation to solve problems and meet new and
often unfamiliar challenges to our nation’s security,” Fox told students at the
U.S Naval War College in Newport, R.I., in one of a series of addresses she has
delivered in recent days at war colleges around the nation.
In each, Fox’s theme has reflected warnings senior defense officials have been
making since last year’s budget sequester and the likelihood of further spending
cuts to come: that the Pentagon is going to have to re-examine priorities,
reduce overhead and shrink the force while finding ways to continue vigilance in
what officials describe as an increasingly unpredictable global environment.
“Our Marines have excelled at everything we’ve asked of them in the [counterinsurgency]
fight, … and they continue to do so in Afghanistan today,” Fox said. “So even as
we make this transition, we need to capture as much of these hard-won
experiences as possible, because we’ll undoubtedly need it again in the future.”
Fox also challenged the students to rediscover their service’s core capabilities,
“even as you build from the lessons of the immediate past to take on new
“There are now many young, battle-hardened Marines who have spent little time
inside of a ship, much less practicing to conduct an assault from sea,” she said.
“As you regain your sea legs, I also hope you will work to innovatively update
your amphibious concepts of operations.”
Regarding the Navy, Fox said, “we need to confront the reality that there’s more
demand for ships than budgets allow, and I don’t see this changing any time soon,”
emphasizing that no one is expecting the end of the Iraq war and the winding
down of the conflict in Afghanistan to yield a peace dividend.
“Our naval forces need to think creatively about how to provide presence,
getting more out of the ships we currently have,” she said. Fox challenged the
audience to determine whether to change deployment concepts and keep ships
deployed longer. “There must be some innovating approaches out there that people
like you, our future leaders, can find and adapt,” she added.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is in the Asia-Pacific region, and just announced
the addition of two ballistic missile defense ships to Japan, Fox noted. “What
other opportunities like that are out there that would help us meet the needs of
our strategy?” she asked the students.
Ultimately, Fox said, it’s not about numbers but capabilities.
“We need to make the financial and intellectual investments in technology and
modernization programs now,” she said, “before we no longer have the massive
technological advantages we’ve enjoyed over the past 60 years.”
Christine H. Fox
U.S. Naval War College
Special Report: Travels With Fox – War College Talks
Photo Essay: Fox Addresses Students at Army, Naval War Colleges