USN begins CNO changeover process, with collective message of urgency in maintaining superiority at sea

Naval Academy
Admiral Michael Gilday (left) and Admiral Lisa Franchetti are pictured at Adm Gilday’s relinquishing of office ceremony at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis on 14 August. (Credit: Office of the Secretary of Defense Public Affairs)

The US Navy (USN) has begun the change of command process for the post of Chief of Naval Operations (CNO).

Within the process, senior navy leaders have stressed the need for the service to strive urgently to maintain warfighting pre-eminence.

On 14 August – in a ceremony at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis – Admiral Michael Gilday relinquished office at the conclusion of his four-year tenure as CNO. Admiral Lisa Franchetti, currently serving as Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) and nominated in July by President Joe Biden as the next CNO, has taken the navy’s helm and will perform the duties of CNO as VCNO until an appointment is formally confirmed by the US Senate.

Adm Gilday took over as the USN’s 32nd CNO in August 2019. In a speech at the handover ceremony, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin noted that Adm Gilday had led the service through a pivotal time for the navy, the country, and the international community, with today’s national security challenges underscoring the need for naval capability.

“We rely on our navy to project American power, to protect American interests; we rely on our navy to bolster our unmatched network of allies and partners, from the South China Sea to the Caribbean; and we rely on our navy to deter conflict and keep the peace,” said Secretary Austin.

In his own remarks at the ceremony, Adm Gilday stressed the need for the navy to continue to “act with urgency and purpose” in maintaining maritime superiority, set against the backdrop of a challenging security environment.

In turn, Adm Franchetti said “As we look to the horizon and prepare for the challenges that lie ahead, I will act with a sense of urgency to ensure our sailors have everything they need to maintain our warfighting edge.”

In a press release published on 14 August, the USN said that “As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, CNO acts as an advisor to the President of the United States, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the Secretary of Defense. Under direction of the Secretary of the Navy, CNO is responsible for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of naval forces and shore activities.”

by Dr. Lee Willett