Fort Meade, Maryland - The Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus addressed Sailors and Marines during a live, global all hands call April 29.

Mabus answered questions about the budget, deployment schedules and pay and allowances among other things during the broadcast held at the Defense Media Activity.

Mabus emphasized the Navy's unique presence, citing that the Navy is where it needs to be, when it needs to be there, not just at the right time, but all the time.

"We do this by focusing on four things," said Mabus. "People, Platforms, Power and Partnerships."
During the broadcast, Mabus took questions from those gathered at DMA, from around the fleet via e-mail, from those tuned in to a live chat on the Internet, and pre-recorded video. Popular topics ranged from deployment lengths and budget requirements to female hair regulations and equipment.

One Sailor asked about weapon systems currently being tested, and when the Navy and Marine Corps may see those systems.

Mabus said the Navy and Marine Corps are already seeing these weapon systems out in the fleet. The Navy is putting a laser weapon on board USS Ponce (LPD 15) to see how it does in a maritime environment. They are also testing rail guns on high speed vessels and USS Zumwalt has a brand new gun system that is very long range and amazingly accurate.

"We're going to get out the most advanced things we've got as quickly as we can," added Mabus.

Mabus also fielded questions regarding retirement policy in regards to pay. Mabus said that the notion is that whatever policy was in place when a service member enlisted will be the policy they retire under, regardless of changes that occur while they are serving.

When asked about incentives to keep those with special certifications and clearances from exiting the Navy, Mabus talked about Selective Reenlistment Bonuses, but also focused on the service aspect and the good Sailors and Marines do for their country by choosing to stay in the military. He added that although some do move on to pursue a career outside of the military, there are currently record recruiting and retention rates in the Navy.

Unanswered questions in regard to providing the same housing and allowances for single Sailors and Marines as is provided to married Sailors and Marines, and the warrant officer program being opened to additional ratings will be researched and answered later in an article for All Hands Magazine online (www.ah.mil.)

The call will be available for viewing at the "Every Day in the Navy" gallery on www.navy.mil.