“Our impact is big business in Hampton Roads,” said Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command in his special Veterans Day address on November 9. Davidson gave the keynote address at the most recent Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce Chamber Leadership Series event. The Chamber Leadership Series, sponsored by Southern Bank, drew local business leaders to the Virginia Beach Convention center to hear the Admiral speak about the Navy’s future. His remarks covered three key areas: the Hampton Roads naval impact, concerns about the Navy’s operational future, and recent naval engagements.
Hampton Roads is home to the nation’s largest shipbuilder and ship repairing industry and the Navy provides a “multi-billion dollar enterprise,” to Hampton Roads, “we stand on the shoulders of giants in Hampton Roads,” said Davidson. Not only ships and submarines being serviced and built in Hampton Roads, but they’re also ported and manned here. Though there has been some concern about the pivot to the Pacific taking an economic toll on Hampton Roads, Davidson claimed he was not very worried, “we’re close to a balance right now, we’re going to be pretty static on air craft carriers” he said.
Davidson explained the Navy’s current approach to strategic operations, including operations that take the “four-plus-one” threat environment of Russia, China, Iran, North Korea and extremists into consideration. He took business leaders through a presentation that depicted the various missions and challenges Hampton Roads navy members have dealt with over the past few years, including the recent Yemen missile attack.
Davidson also explained how the continuing resolution provides a challenge to the Navy as they have to closely analyze the budget on a year-to-year basis. “We do things no one else on the planet does and we have to be able to train to do that,” he said. “When budgets are low we’re asked to choose between capability, capacity and readiness.” Davidson ended his presentation with a brief question and answer period where he addressed concerns about the future of the Navy as it results to the upcoming change in the government. “We’ve eliminated a lot of the redundancy,” said Davidson, “and given what we’re trying to buy we need all the waterfront and airfield space we can get. The fact of the matter is we’ll make the Navy what the nation wants it to be.”
(Pictured left to right: Bryan Stephens, President and CEO Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce; Admiral Philip Davidson, Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command; Steve Kocen, Senior Vice President at Southern Bank; Scott Miller, President of Virginia Wesleyan)
Thank you to our sponsors: Southern Bank, Series Presenting Sponsor; Sinclair Communications, Media Sponsor; Hit Play Media, AV Sponsor; and Palladium Registered Investment Advisor, Program Sponsor.