Sec Def Esper Tells Sailors on USS Carl Vinson ‘Unmanned’ Will Expand Navy ‘Well Beyond 355 Ships’

Sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson received a visit from Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper who outlined the future of the Navy during a Q&A.

Esper was asked about the future of aircraft carriers and he assured the crew that they are a pivotal part of the defense strategy. He said that a more balanced force will include surface, subsurface and air unmanned vehicles.

“Unmanned will enable us to grow the United States Navy well beyond 355 ships. It will add more lethality, survivability and capability,” he said.

Currently the department has the largest research and development budget in history.
It is investing heavily in such technologies as artificial intelligence; a 5G network; unmanned ground, air, surface and undersea vehicles; and hypersonics.

“AI will be a game-changer. It will change the character of warfare,” Esper said.

Another growing concern is the military threat from China, as they continue to modernize their forces.

“We need to outcompete China and are doing just that. We are going to maintain that overmatch,” said Esper.

“We have the most advanced aircraft carriers in the world, and we have more of them than anybody else, and we will continue to maintain that overmatch,” said Esper.

Carriers carry lethal power and they along with other ships are important to show America’s presence abroad. This also reinforces our commitment to allies and partners, while deterring bad behavior from others.

While the planes and self defense systems are necessary on a carrier to perform well, it is also about the people running the show. The effectiveness of the team requires good leadership from the officers and the noncommissioned officers. Sailors that work well together can quickly turn aircraft, launch and retrieve them efficiently.

“Besides having good leaders, the Navy and Marine Corps team has the best training, readiness, operational art and doctrine of any navy,” Esper said.

The Navy is committed to boosting readiness in terms of sailors’ health and fitness, as well as taking care of their families.

In the future, the Navy will achieve a more balanced force, with the ability to deliver effects from all domains: sea, land, air, space and cyberspace.

The Navy also plays the key role of maintaining freedom of navigation and commerce around the globe, Esper shared.

The USS Carl Vinson is currently conducting flight operations in the Pacific Ocean and the crew is preparing for future operations by conducting flight deck certifications.

Flight ops on the Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, underway in the Pacific Ocean, as seen while Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper was aboard for a visit, Sept. 17, 2020. (DoD photo by Lisa Ferdinando)

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