No doubt you expect me to use the occasion of my retirement as Commander of the Northern Fleet to convey my reflections after 30 years in the Navy and 10 years at the Northern Fleet. I will try to do so by highlighting the dramatic changes the Navy has undergone and by acknowledging how decisions—25 years ago—made those changes possible.
We have witnessed remarkable events in the past three decades. I never look at photos of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) without recalling my first tour as an F-14 pilot. Today, her air wing consists almost entirely of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Instead of 50 manned planes, she puts ten times that many UAVs over the Indian Ocean, her permanent station.