"You know," said Admiral Vern Clark, Chief of Naval Operations, leaning forward during a mid-March 2004 interview, "our people were at the heart of everything the Navy accomplished last year. It is truly a wonderful thing; we are winning the 'battle for people'-to have the right people with the right skills and equipment, at the right place at the right time. They were the foundation for all of our successes in 2003, and they will be the critical element for achieving our 'Sea Power 21' vision.
"Our performance in Operation Iraqi Freedom as well as our continuing efforts in the global war on terrorism demonstrated more than just combat excellence," Admiral Clark confirmed. "It validated our strong emphasis on readiness and highlighted the value of naval forces able to exploit the vast maneuver space afforded by the sea. It proved the importance of having the latest technologies and systems for command and control, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, and attack. But most importantly, it reaffirmed the single greatest advantage we hold over any adversary-the genius of our people. ... It is the key element of our own asymmetric advantages."