0 Speaker List

News

Oklahoman learning quickly as No. 2 civilian in U.S. Navy

Secretary Gregory Slavonic

Oklahoman Greg Slavonic spent 34 years in the Navy, entering as an enlistee and retiring from the Reserves as a rear admiral.

None of those 34 years, he said, have been quite like his last four months as the Navy’s second-ranked civilian.

“The things I’m learning now, acclimating to now, and being brought up to speed on are far beyond anything I was involved in in the Navy,” said Slavonic, who became acting undersecretary of the Navy in June. I’m being briefed on things that, when I leave this job, I’ll never be able able to talk about for the rest of my life.”

Slavonic, 71, spent most of his naval and civilian career in communications and public affairs. He later served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. and then Sen. James Lankford before becoming assistant secretary of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in 2018.

The past four months, he said, have been a crash course in all aspects of naval operations, from weapons systems to ships and other platforms to strategy.

Slavonic was appointed by current Navy Secretary Kenneth Braithwaite — the fourth Navy secretary in Slavonic’s 27 months at the Pentagon.

Slavonic said he and Braithwaite have known each other for 25 years.

In his new role, Slavonic may also have a somewhat closer working relationship with U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Although a staunch military advocate, Inhofe has criticized Navy leadership because of difficulties with some systems, including the Gerald R. Ford supercarrier.

Of course, all of that depends on the outcome of next month’s elections. As a political appointee, Slavonic is not likely to be retained if President Donald Trump is not re-elected.

Slavonic had planned to be in Tulsa last week for observation of Navy Week, but his presence was reduced to a virtual one because of COVID-19 concerns.

Navy Weeks are annual events held throughout the country to promote the Navy to communities that normally have little contact with it.

“Our footprint is small in Oklahoma, unlike the Air Force and the Army,” said Slavonic. “In landlocked states such as Oklahoma, we have to make sure we get out and tell the Navy’s story.”

Get A Quote For: