Navy Adm. Michael Gilday said that as the new chief of naval operations, he will continue to emphasize the Navy's commitment to partnerships and alliances worldwide, as well as to the Defense Department's modernization and readiness efforts.
"We will question our assumptions. We will think differently about the competition we are now in. We will be the Navy the nation needs now, and we will build the Navy the nation needs to fight and win in the future, always guided by our core values," he said.
Gilday also thanked the 600,000 naval personnel serving around the globe, many in harm's way, and said the Navy will continue "taking care of our most important weapons system, our sailors and their families."
Gilday, who received his fourth star before the Washington Navy Yard ceremony, became the 32nd chief of naval operations, succeeding Navy Adm. John M. Richardson, who is retiring.
Gilday assumes two responsibilities. Besides being the Navy's top uniformed officer, he now serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
"Admiral Gilday has already played a critical role in restoring readiness, and he's well positioned to take over our integrated naval force as we march into the future," said Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer.
Spencer noted that Gilday's career has included distinguished operations at sea and cooperation with NATO allies to confront the great power competition with Russia and China, as well as innovative leadership as commander of the Navy's Fleet Cyber Command.
The admiral's most recent assignment as director of the Joint Staff "has given him visibility into the challenges that he will now face," Spencer said.
The Navy secretary also praised Richardson, with whom he had a two-year working relationship, as an officer who "pays attention to details."
"I could not have asked for a better business partner," Spencer said. "He's done more for this Navy to put us in a ready, lethal position than many before. No effort was too great, no detail was too small, as he really did help us navigate the rocks and shoals to deliver the Navy the nation needs."
Spencer awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal to Richardson and the Navy Distinguished Public Service Award to Richardson's wife, Dana.
"Dana has been the strongest advocate for military families," Richardson said. "She understands that a stronger family means a stronger fleet."
Spencer cited the adage that being a Navy wife is the toughest job in the Navy. "There's a lot of truth to that," he said.
Besides having a strong, supportive family, Spencer said, Richardson emphasized that his faith in God has been a strength and comfort to him and his family.
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford and other military leaders from the United States, its allies and its partner nations attended the ceremony.