(WASHINGTON) — Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the chief of naval operations, volunteered Tuesday that the Strait of Hormuz keeps him awake at night.
“If you ask me what keeps me awake at night, it’s the Strait of Hormuz and the business going on in the Arabian Gulf,” Greenert said during a question-and-answer session following his remarks to the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).
He added that it’s been that way since his recent visit to Bahrain. “When I was over there, I rode the Strait of Hormuz, took a look around and view that as an important aspect. So the Navy won’t be taking their eye off the ball. ”
Twenty percent of the world’s oil transits through the narrow entryway into the Persian Gulf, and Iran has recently raised tensions with the United States about access to the waterway.
“Our folks that transit in and around that area, I want to make sure that they’re able to do with the things that they need to deal with, basically self-protection, counterswarm, ASW,” Greenert said. “And so the — that’s what I’m talking about in that regard.”
As far as the newly unveiled military strategy that places a focus on Asia, Greenert said it will not mean an increase in the number of Navy assets there already.
“It’s not a big naval buildup in the Far East,” he said. “We’re there, we have been there, we will continue to be there. ”
He said the new strategic guidance will help direct “the number of ships, aircraft and equipment that we need to distribute around the world, where they are, and adjust accordingly. But my first assessment is we’re in good shape in the Navy where we stand in the western Pacific.”
So it “won’t affect operations in East Asia” because the number of U.S. Navy ships in the region “is about the right proportion I see for the near term. “
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Oren Liebermann, CNN
Camille Verdier, Steve Visser and Margot Haddad, CNN
Kareem Khadder, CNN