North Korea poses an “unprecedented and urgent threat” to the world today, and the Navy is prepared for any contingency, the service’s top officer told Japan-based sailors during Dec. 18’s all-hands meeting aboard the carrier Ronald Reagan.
While diplomatic and economic pressure are the primary means by which the United States is pressuring Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear ambitions and increasingly effective missile tests, the military option must remain at the ready, he said.
“It’s about the most urgent thing on our plate right now,” Richardson said.
His remarks to sailors come as Richardson told Reuters that ships from the East Pacific could be sent to Asia to shore up capabilities there.
“We will continue to assure that we meet all of our missions here in the Asia Pacific area,” he said during a briefing, according to Reuters. “It could be something coming forward from Third Fleet or something like that to meet those requirements.”
In between sailor questions about high internet costs on base and whether sailors deployed in 7th Fleet should receive hazard pay, Richardson told the sailors that the west Pacific will stay busy.
“We’re always going to have a lot more missions than we have ships, and that’s just the nature of the business,” he said.
Still, Richardson said steps are being taken by the fleet to give sailors a more predictable schedule that will better allow for underway training, maintenance and other needs.
“We’ll get that schedule, we’ll stick to it…so you get the training you need to get up to that very high end of maritime warfare,” he said. “I think you’ll find life’s a little bit better that way.”
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at email@example.com.