VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - The acting Secretary of the Navy in Hampton Roads addressed the challenges the Navy faces on Tuesday.
Secretary Thomas Modly spoke in front of the business community in Virginia Beach. In the midst of several recent tragedies involving the U.S. Navy, Sec. Modly said their hearts are with all of the families who lost a loved one.
"We are determined as one naval family to find the causes of these murders and to stand united for they truly are crimes committed against all of us," he said.
Sec. Modly spoke at the Hampton Roads Chamber luncheon and outlined 10 challenges the Navy is facing. "Number 10 is ships. We need more of them, and we need a lot more of them," he said.
Congress has approved increasing the number to 355, but Sec. Modly said progress is moving slower than needed. "We are having a very difficult time getting there because of the cost of the ships we have, alignment on strategy and a national will to do it," he said.
Modly took over as acting Secretary of the Navy just a few weeks ago when his predecessor, Richard Spencer, was fired over his handling of a case involving a Navy SEAL.
Modly wouldn't go into specifics on cases but said discipline issues in the special warfare community have been intensified due to long wars. "It's a hard challenge when you're this for this amount of time," he said.
Economy wise, the Navy continues to contribute more and more to the Hampton Roads economy, including a $16 billion impact in fiscal year 2018.
"It only solidifies the region and Hampton Roads as an indispensable part of our Navy and our nation and makes an immense contribution to our national security," said Rear Adm. Chip Rock, the Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic.
The partnership will continue as the Navy faces challenges here at home.