Midshipmen from the BU – MIT NROTC Battalion joined with other members of the Boston Naval community to welcome Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mark Ferguson to MIT on April 11th. Officers, ranging from newly commissioned ensigns to seasoned captains, gathered with the midshipmen in a display of the Navy presence in Boston.
Admiral Ferguson began his talk with a recap of the current state of the U.S. Navy, highlighting the vital role the Navy plays in this world where sea power is essential for global security and protection. He gave some figures to really drive home how important sea power is, saying, “The earth is seventy percent water. Eighty percent of people live next to the water, ninety percent of trade comes from the sea lanes; and ninety-five percent of information travels through underwater communication lines.”
Ferguson went on to say how the men and women currently serving in the U.S. Navy are some of the best the country has seen. With some of the highest test scores, and lowest DUI and court-martial rates ever seen in the Naval fleet, the current U.S. sailors are some of the most intelligent and best-trained people the U.S. has to offer.
The admiral explained the present and future conflict that these sailors will face in their time in the Navy. Comparing current world affairs with the inter-war period of 1919-1938, Ferguson said that the while the U.S. faces no direct world threat, the nation has become involved in conflicts around the world that call for different approaches. With an adaptable fleet of officers and enlisted personnel, and new technologies in weaponry, ships, and intelligence, the U.S. Navy is preparing itself for any situation that may arise in the future.
Discussing his recent meeting with Chinese military leaders, and U.S. – China political relations, Ferguson seemed optimistic in the relationship between the two Navies. Midshipman 3rd Class Anne Nonnamaker really enjoyed hearing about the Vice CNO’s opinion on China. “It provided great insight into future conflicts we may find ourselves in when we become officers,” says Nonnamaker.
Admiral Ferguson concluded his talk by taking questions from the group of officers and midshipmen in the room. The discussion ranged from possible future conflicts to the ways that officers and enlisted personnel can effectively work together in such a dynamic global atmosphere. Ferguson encouraged the midshipmen and officers to prepare, and constantly seek to better themselves in the Fleet, as the current state of global politics calls for personnel who are technically and tactfully efficient in all areas.
The midshipmen of the Boston NROTC were honored to have Admiral Ferguson visit and learn from his words of wisdom and encouragement. Midshipman 1st Class Michael Simpson particularly valued hearing from such an important member of the Navy, saying, “The Vice CNO’s visit was an amazing opportunity to hear about strategic planning and future naval operations directly from the top. As midshipmen, we are rarely briefed on policy-level decisions and this brief helped close that gap.”
Written by: MIDN 3/c Conner Love