Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO), Adm. Mark Ferguson recently completed a trip across the U.S. Pacific Fleet to meet with regional partners and U.S. personnel in Australia, Singapore, and Guam to discuss U.S. Navy Pacific engagement. To prepare for engagements with foreign navies, Ferguson began the trip with a visit U.S. Pacific Fleet (PACFLT) headquarters in Hawaii, where he met with Adm. Cecil Haney and members of PACFLT staff. The ten-day trip was an outstanding opportunity for the VCNO to further solidify navy-to-navy relationships in this important region, as well as meet first hand with U.S. Sailors operating forward to enhance his understanding of their concerns and see supporting infrastructure.[youtube 1jfhNGSfiCc nolink]
– Traveled on behalf of the Secretary of the Navy and Chief of Naval Operations to discuss our enduring presence and engagement in the Pacific.
– The U.S. is a Pacific maritime nation committed to an enduring presence–we are here to stay.
– The long-term economic and security interests of the United States are linked to developments in the Asia-Pacific–we place a high premium on our presence and support to allies and partners in the region.
– The Navy remains critical to security and prosperity. We are uniquely positioned to rapidly respond to any crisis that threatens national interest, or our allies and partners.
– Meetings with U.S. Ambassador Hon. Jeffrey L. Bleich and Chief of the Australian Navy Vice Adm. Ray Griggs focused on the new U.S. defense strategy, the status of our respective navies and plans for continued military to military exercises and engagement.
– Ferguson also took the time to speak to the Australian Defense College in Canberra, highlighting the U.S. Navy’s longstanding presence in the Pacific, the importance of maritime security specifically the free flow of commerce, and the U.S. defense strategy.
– Prior to departing Australia, Ferguson also stopped in Darwin to visit HMAS Coonawarra and tour the commercial and civilian port by boat to get a first hand view of available support facilities for the planned rotational deployment of U.S. Marines.
– Meetings with the Chief of the Republic of Singapore Navy, Admiral Ng Chee Peng and his staff focused on the recent U.S. defense strategy, the status of the two respective navies and plans to forward deploy Littoral Combat ships to Singapore.
– VCNO visited Changi Naval Base, toured the information fusion center, fleet headquarters and the Singapore Navy Frigate RSS Stalwart.
– At Logistics Group, Western Pacific (COMLOG WESTPAC), Ferguson met with Rdml. Tom Carney and conducted an all hands call. During the call he discussed the new defense strategy, the role of naval forces in the Western Pacific and thanked Sailors for the important work they do supporting the fleet.
– Met with Rear. Adm. Paul Bushong, Commander, Joint Region Marianas to tour island infrastructure and support facilities and discussed the strategic role that Guam plays in sustaining Navy forward presence and engagement.
-Flew with HSC-25 to take a helicopter tour of Navy facilities and infrastructure.
-At an all hands call, Ferguson discussed the Navy’s role in the new strategy, and recent force balancing initiatives.