The US Navy welcomed its new Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) in a ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard on August 22, as Adm. Mike Gilday took over from Adm. John Richardson.
Gilday became the 32nd CNO, as a three-star, and became admiral upon assuming his role as the US Navy’s most senior officer. The last time sitting four-star admirals were bypassed was in 1970 when then-Vice Adm. Elmo Zumwalt was nominated to be CNO.
As a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CNO acts as an advisor to the US president, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council, and the defense secretary.
The Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer acted as the presiding officer and guest speaker at the ceremony. In his speech, Spencer focused on the navy’s accomplishments during Richardson’s tenure.
“The sailors serving this nation are constantly on Adm. Richardson’s mind and close to his heart. As much as Adm. Richardson has done for our capabilities and processes, he’s done more for our people.”
During the ceremony, Gilday spoke about the status of the navy and what he sees in the service’s future.
“I believe our navy’s strategic direction is rock solid and that our navy is in great shape,” said Gilday. “We are recruiting and retaining a high-quality force, we are providing well trained combat-ready forces forward, around the globe. We are modernizing our navy at a scope and pace not seen in decades. I can say all that, in large part, due to the leadership of our 31st CNO.”
A son of a navy sailor, Adm. Mike Gilday is a graduate of the US Naval Academy. At sea, he deployed with USS Chandler (DDG 996), USS Princeton (CG 59), and USS Gettysburg (CG 64). He commanded destroyers USS Higgins (DDG 76) and USS Benfold (DDG 65) and subsequently, commanded Destroyer Squadron 7, serving as sea combat commander for the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
As a flag officer, he served as commander Carrier Strike Group 8 embarked aboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), and as commander, US Fleet Cyber Command and US 10th Fleet.