ARLINGTON, Va. (NNS) -- Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) Ray Mabus likely delivered his final address as SECNAV at the 29th annual Surface Navy Association Symposium (SNA) in Arlington, Virginia, Jan. 11.
Mabus, Wednesday's keynote speaker, addressed members of the surface warfare community, highlighting all the Navy has achieved during his more than seven years in office while emphasizing the importance of fleet growth and alternative energy usage.
"The world has gotten more complex since 2012, and the demand for naval assets has increased dramatically," Mabus said. "We've got to keep one eye on today and be ready to fight tonight. When we deploy, we have to ensure those ships are ready for what's on the horizon, but also keep an eye on the future."
The 75th SECNAV — and longest serving since World War I — Mabus has more than doubled the number of ships under contract for construction while cutting contract costs by 20 percent.
During his tenure, Mabus also oversaw a significant decrease in oil usage throughout the Navy and Marine Corps, replacing 30 percent of the fuel used by ships and aircraft with alternative energy sources.
"If you have choices with what kind of energy you use, you will have an edge," Mabus said. "Energy is a weapon. It makes us better war fighters."
Mabus said the Navy and Marine Corps have both experienced substantial growth since he assumed office in 2009.
"The Navy and Marine Corps are significantly different from when I came in eight years ago, but are undeniably much stronger," Mabus said. "The U.S. Navy — in particular the surface fleet — is on track to meet our missions and everything America expects of us without undue stress on ships and our Sailors."
Mabus concluded his address by quoting the Marine Corps' and Navy's mottos, "Semper Fidelis" and "Semper Fortis," while adding his own, "Semper Tecum." Mabus translated for the audience, telling them the last one means "I am always with you."
The annual three-day SNA symposium provides military leaders and members of the private sector the opportunity to discuss and showcase current and developing technologies and to enhance the Navy's warfighting capabilities.
SNA was incorporated in 1985 to promote greater coordination and communication among the military, business and academic communities, which share a common interest in naval surface warfare and support the activities of surface naval forces.
The SNA symposium continues through Jan. 12. View the symposium live stream on the Navy Live blog at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2017/01/09/sna-national-symposium-distributed-lethality-enabling-sea-control/, and join the social media conversation using #SNA2017.