Fleet Forces undergoes command change
By Brock Vergakis - The Associated Press
Posted : Friday Sep 14, 2012 17:56:55 EDT
NORFOLK, Va. — A new commander took over the Navy's Atlantic fleet on Friday, saying that his biggest challenge in preparing sailors and ships for deployments around the world will be meeting budgetary challenges.
Adm. William E. Gortney relieved Adm. John C. Harvey Jr. as commander of U.S. Fleet Forces Command during a ceremony aboard the USS Harry S. Truman at Naval Station Norfolk. Harvey had been in the post since 2009 and is retiring from the Navy.
Gorntey's new job started the same day a White House report warned that $109 billion in across-the-board spending cuts at the start of the new year could be "deeply destructive" to the military. The automatic cuts known as sequestration would require a 9 percent reduction in most Pentagon programs.
"The biggest challenge is going to be ... the budget challenges that we're going to have making sure we have every dollar we spend we get a dollar's worth of readiness out of it so that when we send our forces forward they're able to do the mission," Gortney told reporters aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Among other things, U.S. Fleet Forces Command serves as the Navy component to U.S. Northern Command. U.S. Northern Command is responsible for the U.S. defense of North America and its surrounding to about 500 nautical miles.
Part of Gortney's job is also providing trained forces to other combatant commanders around the world.
"The production of warriors and readiness to send to four deployed naval commanders is our dominant line of operation," Gortney said. "These commanders should never have to question the capabilities and effectiveness of the naval forces we send them."
U.S. Fleet Forces Command is also the chief of naval operations' designated executive agent for anti-terrorism force protection. Fleet Forces stages a nationwide anti-terrorism drill every year at Navy installations around the country.
Gortney is a 1977 graduate of Elon College in North Carolina and a former naval aviator. His most recent assignment was as director of the joint staff for the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. He also served as commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and as commander of Carrier Strike Group 10 aboard the Truman.
U.S. Fleet Forces Command is headquartered at Naval Support Activity Hampton Roads in Norfolk.http://www.navytimes.com/news/2012/09/ap-fleet-forces-gets-new-command-091412/