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In defense of the Navy

January 15, 2007

Re "The Navy is tone deaf on whales," Opinion, Jan. 6

Jean-Michel Cousteau and Michael Jasny's opinion piece misrepresents the Navy's environmental record. The Navy is working hard to meet both its responsibilities for environmental stewardship and national defense.

The Navy began taking significant and common-sense measures for environmental protection long ago. It agreed with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to employ rigorous protective measures for marine mammals well before the exercises in the Pacific Ocean began and before the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the Navy. These measures have enabled the Navy to conduct critical training exercises that enable U.S. sailors to hone skills that mean life or death in combat while minimizing the risks to marine mammals. Trained crews win wars.

Two things are true. The nation deserves a strong Navy. And the Navy has a long history of environmental stewardship.

The ocean is where our sailors and Marines live and fight for freedom. Responsible stewardship of the seas is not a rhetorical concern or an abstraction for the U.S. Navy -- it is our livelihood.

DONALD C. WINTER

Secretary of the Navy

Arlington, Va.

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