His View: Developing the Future of Tomorrow

By the Honorable Carlos Del Toro, U.S. Secretary of the Navy

It was the honor of a lifetime to be sworn in as the 78th Secretary of the Navy. Every day, I’m proud and humbled at this opportunity to lead the world’s finest Sailors, Marines, and Civilians as they work to defend our Nation.

I understand the special meaning that my appointment has for many in the Hispanic community, particularly those with an immigrant story like mine. My family and I came to this country as refugees from an authoritarian regime in Cuba. I took the values my family taught me about hard work, dignity, respect, and the power of education, to an appointment at the United States Naval Academy. I carried those values and lessons throughout my 22-year career as a Naval officer, and later as a business owner and community leader. As Secretary, I’m determined to look out for the next generation as we build, train, and equip the Navy as the world’s preeminent maritime force.

From the Civil War’s Admiral Farragut’s to Brigadier General Salinas and those serving today, the maritime services have benefited from the leadership of Hispanic service members. I believe that building and maintaining a robust and diverse organization is strongest when leaders draw from the skills and innovative spirit of all people. Today, one in every four Marines is Hispanic while nearly 17 percent of our Navy is Hispanic, including many Latinas. They strengthen every part of our mission, and protect our Nation in every part of the world. However, we have work to do ensuring that diversity has the chance to thrive in leadership positions. Female officers in the Marine Corps make up only .13 percent of the total force, whereas female officers in the Navy make up .3 percent. I am determined to make that even better through recruiting and retention efforts.

I’m also determined to eliminate harmful behaviors like racism, sexual harassment, and sexual assault from our force, and to ensure that our Sailors and Marines feel safe, valued, and respected at all times. Our service members, including those from marginalized communities, must have the ability to develop into leaders, and to be seen and heard as we work together.

I challenged our senior leaders to be involved in the development of our people by taking a hands-on approach to leadership, mentorship, and training. To meet the challenges of a dangerous world, we must draw upon the novel thinking and problem-solving capabilities of all who are directly facing challenges in our force. To become more efficient, effective, and responsive to challenges and opportunities, we must reward initiative, and encourage our people to share and implement ideas.

Wherever I travel as Secretary, I am inspired by our Sailors and Marines. I resolve to make sure they have the equipment, training, and leadership to make sure they can complete the mission and return home safely to their families. I proudly continue to carry the values of my family and community wherever I go, putting them into practice to widen the path of success for future generations, and to ensure the success of our maritime force.

The Honorable Carlos Del Toro was sworn in as the 78th Secretary of the Navy on August 9, 2021. As Secretary, he is responsible for over 900,000 Sailors, Marines, reservists, and civilian personnel and an annual budget exceeding $210 Billion. His priorities include securing the training and equipment successful naval operations demand and addressing the most pressing challenges confronting the US Navy and Marine Corps – China’s naval ambitions, climate instability, Covid’s ongoing impact, and strengthening a naval culture of inclusiveness and respect.

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