Adm. Harry Harris
Commander, U.S. Pacific Command
USS Zumwalt (DDG 1000) Commissioning Ceremony
October 15, 2016
I know there’s a lot of speakers for this ceremony, so I’ll get on with it so you can get on with it. But let me quickly recognize:
Congressman Ruppersberger, and federal, state, city and industry leaders
Secretary Mabus, and Navy leaders
CNO Admiral Richardson, and fellow Flag and General Officers, active and retired
Family members of the legendary Admiral Bud Zumwalt
Distinguished guests… and most importantly, Captain James Kirk and the crew of USS Zumwalt.
Ladies and gentlemen, I can’t think of a better place to commission this ship than the port of Baltimore. Thank you, Mayor Rawlings-Blake. We’re only a few miles from the Naval Academy and within sight of Fort McHenry… where the rockets' red glare of history blazed over a nation barely 3 decades old.
This is an epic venue – and in my opinion, we’re adding a page to its storied past with the commissioning of this revolutionary platform.
Make no mistake about it. While this is a Navy ceremony, and this is a Navy day, we now live in a world where we must think, learn, and fight jointly – and rightfully so. It’s important to take note of the degree to which our military – your military – has evolved into the most powerful joint fighting force the world has ever seen. So today, we go back to our roots and take special note of what lies at the very core of the Joint Force – the continuing recognition – indeed, celebration – of who we are and what we value as joint military leaders… the absolute nature of accountability, the exercise of command, and the art of leadership.
Before I went to flight school, 100 years ago, I was stashed in Maine and lived in Bath.
I learned then what I know now – a ‘Bath-built ship’ is a ship built for war. After I visited DDG 1000 while she was being built, I said: ’if Batman had a ship, it would be the USS Zumwalt.’
Now folks, I’m no Bruce Wayne… but like Batman’s alter-ego, I’ve been accused of having an insatiable appetite for cutting-edge technology to fight the forces of darkness in my neighborhood. To that, I’ll simply say ‘guilty as charged.’ As long as our President and you – the American people – have an insatiable appetite for security, then I have an insatiable appetite for the stuff to underwrite that security. Stuff like this magnificent machine behind me.
I’ve been a provider of readiness, and now I’m a consumer of readiness. I assure you: the latter is a lot more fun than the former… and I intend to consume all the readiness that this ship can provide. I have big plans for USS Zumwalt and her 2 sister ships.
Thanks to our strategic Rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific, everything that’s new and cool in your military arsenal is debuting in PACOM. We can’t get this technological marvel to the Pacific fast enough. And it couldn’t come at a more pivotal moment in our nation's history.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has rightly called the Indo-Asia-Pacific the single most consequential region for America’s future. He's named 5 challenges that confront the United States… and 4 of these challenges – North Korea, China, Russia and ISIL – are in the PACOM area of responsibility. There’s no more immediate threat than North Korea, which is on a quest for nuclear weapons, a means to miniaturize them, and the means to deliver them intercontinentally.
Zumwalt will play a heavy role in giving us the clear edge in these challenges. We must continue to develop and field combat power like this ship to defend the U.S. homeland and the homelands of our allies.
Indeed, it’s fitting that Zumwalt’s motto is ‘Pax Propter Vim’… Latin for ‘Peace Through Power.’ As the PACOM commander, I’ve adopted the motto ‘Vim, Vim, Vim.’ That’s Tennessee Latin for ‘there’s no such thing as too much power.’
The technology in Zumwalt’s unique hull and the ingenuity of her stalwart crew are powerful guarantors of peace. They are the embodiment of America’s determined will.
As our newest class of destroyer enters active service, I can’t imagine a ship more like its namesake. Admiral Zumwalt was an innovative visionary – and the groundbreaking DDG 1000 delivers not just credible combat power, but INcredible combat power. Zumwalt will ensure our Navy and our entire Joint Force remain ready to ‘fight tonight.’
I'm told that Admiral Zumwalt was guided by Edmund Burke's warning: ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’
If he were here today, I’m sure the Admiral would tell us that with this ship, evil will not triumph. That’s been the mission of PACOM since the end of World War II – cooperating with our regional allies and partners while confronting threats to peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
As our Nation’s oldest Combatant Command, PACOM will mark our 70th birthday this January 1st. I can't think of a better birthday gift than USS Zumwalt; thank you, Secretary and CNO.
I truly look forward to seeing this ship and her outstanding crew on-station in the Indo-Asia-Pacific.
May God bless the USS Zumwalt and the Sailors who man her. May God bless the United States of America, which will always be the land of the free, and the home of the brave.
Thank you very much.