Jon White – From the President’s Office: 9-6-2016

2016-09-07T09:34:13+00:00 September 6, 2016|

Jon White, President of Ocean Leadership

Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of attending my first “Retired” Navy Flag Officer Symposium. The event was convened by Admiral John Richardson, Chief of Naval Operations and graduate of the Navy sponsored MIT-WHOI (both COL members) joint master’s degree program in ocean science, technology, and engineering.  There was excellent, spirited discussion among the 150 retired admirals in attendance (and numerous active duty flag officers and senior executives) about the Navy’s commitment to maritime security. Much of the discussion centered around implementation of “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,” Admiral Richardson’s strategic plan to ensure the Navy continues to be a cornerstone of our nation’s security and prosperity.

At the heart of this design are steps the Navy needs to take to maintain our maritime security and supremacy, and it was well recognized by all in attendance that upholding our superior knowledge of the ocean is one of the key steps. The late Admiral James Watkins, whose distinguished career includes time as Chief of Naval Operations; Secretary of Energy; Chair of the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy; and president of COL’s predecessors, the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education and the Joint Oceanographic Institutions, used to drive home the point that oceanography won the Cold War. Our superior ocean knowledge and technology gave us the advantage that led to our victory. Admiral Richardson points out that the security environment is quickly and drastically changing, and in order to remain on top, we must first understand the forces causing this change – increasing maritime traffic (which has gone up by a factor of four in the last 25 years alone), the rise of the global information system, and the increasing rate of technological creation and adaptation. We cannot be at the cutting edge of technology without a deep knowledge of the ocean, and we cannot maintain our maritime security without being at the forefront of ocean technology. An ever-improving understanding of the ocean moving forward is critical, and I am pleased that the Navy continues to see and plan for this. Our Navy is an away team, and superior ocean knowledge provides this team with “home field advantage … at the away games.” I envision a closer working relationship between COL (including our members) and the Navy to this end in the months ahead.

RADM Jonathan W. White, USN (ret.); M.S.
President and CEO
Consortium for Ocean Leadership

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