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October Meeting Speaker Recap: The Hon. Ray Mabus, 75th U.S. Secretary of the Navy

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Speaking to a breakfast crowd of 400 on October 21, Secretary of the Navy, Ray Mabus, said, “I do think this is as good a partnership, as good a working relationship, as the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps have anywhere in the world.”

Mabus continued, “I get asked from time to time ’Why do we need a Navy? Why do we need a Marine Corps?’ The answer is really easy. We are a maritime country. Ninety percent of all trade in the world goes over the seas and, in this day of cell phones and satellites, 95% of all of our communication goes under the sea.”

Mabus stressed three factors that would be crucial in keeping the Navy at the forefront of military expertise and technology. The three priorities were controlling shipbuilding costs, committing to unmanned vehicle technology, and moving away from fossil fuel dependence. Mabus indicated the Navy planned to use renewable energy sources for 50% of its energy use by 2020. Said Mabus, “We are going to cut our fuel use in half. If the Navy has a demand for it, the technology will come.”

Mabus mentioned that the Naval Weapons Station China Lake produces about twenty times more power than it uses due to a geothermal plant that had been constructed there.

The Secretary of the Navy told the large gathered crowd that energy efficient defense contractors will gain an advantage over their non-green counterparts. He indicated that we need to be better stewards of the Earth.

Mabus pointed out that naval aviation consumes enormous fuel quantities; however, the Navy is developing a plan to create biofuels from algae, which is plentiful in the ocean and can be easily produced.

The Navy recently tested an engine for the F/A-18 Hornet that was powered by biofuels. That plane will become part of a carrier’s air wing within three years and will be deployed on a wider scale by 2016, Mabus said. Additionally, the Navy would like to deploy a green strike group of nuclear vessels by 2016.

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