By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Dustin Knight, Defense Media Activity
NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. (NNS) -- The 50th annual Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition began at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, with an official opening ceremony April 13.
This year's theme is "Game-Changing Technology" and opening day events included the Sea-Air-Space panel, "Service Chiefs' Update", held by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan W. Greenert, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps Gen. F. Dunford Jr., Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, and U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administrator Paul N. Jaenichen. More than 200 exhibitors, 11,500 attendees and representatives from 24 countries and U.S. government officials are attending.
"This expo is a unique and wonderful opportunity I intend to take advantage of, especially, because here with us this week are heads of navy from some of our maritime partners and allies who will take part in an ongoing international conversation about the future of our navies working together," said Greenert.
During the panel Greenert spoke on the current climate of Sailors in the Navy.
"We really need to stop the conveyor belt approach to the way we assess, bring our folks in, train them and put them out to sea," said Greenert. "It's about being diverse in our thought process toward shaping our future Navy. We need to recruit, retain and empower more women both in our leadership and throughout our Navy, whether officer and enlisted. We need to be more flexible in our year-group management moving forward. That means creating off and on ramps for people to be able to take a break if they need to, crossing into the reserves and then coming back into active duty, and we need to be able to interrupt careers for important matters for our people."
Other events included an International Naval Leadership Panel lead by Greenert and included leaders from France, United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Columbia, Singapore and Romania.
The remainder of the expo will have panels and roundtable discussions about cyber, electromagnetic war & information dominance, seabasing capabilities, amphibious ships, alternate platforms, surface connectors and the ACV, and the unmanned vehicle race.
"The Sea-Air-Space symposium is a source of valuable ideas," said Greenert. "We have challenges as we look to the future and I look forward to getting to it."
The Navy League's Sea-Air-Space Exposition was founded in 1965 as a means to bring the U.S. defense industrial base, U.S. private-sector companies and key military decision makers together for an annual innovative, educational, professional and maritime-based event located in the heart of Washington, D.C. Sea-Air-Space is the largest maritime exposition in the U.S. and continues as an invaluable extension of the Navy League's mission of maritime policy education and sea service support.
"As we celebrate 50 years of Sea, Air and Space we are grateful to continue that occasion and support those companies that have been with us from the beginning," said Navy League of the United States National President James M. Offutt. "The Navy League is grateful to our countless sponsors for not only their commitment to Sea-Air-Space, but the Navy League's mission. Each year Navy League strives to put together a schedule of speakers and events more impressive than the previous year."
Sea-Air-Space is open to active duty and reserve military, federal civilian employees, congressional members and staff, retired U.S. military and Navy League Members. There is no charge to attend the three-day exposition and professional seminars.