Carlos Del Toro was sworn in as the 78th Secretary of the Navy late Monday and released his first message to the fleet on Tuesday.

Del Toro was sworn in during a private ceremony at the Marine Corps Memorial, the Navy said. This came after the Senate

confirmed him on Aug. 7 (Defense Daily, Aug. 10).

In his first message to the fleet, released Aug. 10, Del Toro said he has a “bias for action. Our Navy and our nation face critical challenges on multiple fronts.”

“Like Secretary Austin, I view our most pressing challenges as the four Cs – China, Culture, Climate, and Covid, and we need the resources and capabilities to address each now,” he wrote.

Del Toro argued China aims to reduce the U.S. military superiority. “We will not let this happen. We will deter China’s aggression, protect our national security, and preserve the peace. Our determination, our skill, and our courage will demonstrate our strength and conviction.”

During his confirmation hearing, Del Toro said he agrees the Navy and Marine Corps need more resources to field the proper combat effectiveness to deal with deterring China and will argue in favor of that to the Secretary of Defense in following year budget deliberations (Defense Daily, July 14).

He noted climate change “exacerbates every challenge we face, from naval installations to frequent deployments.”

Del Toro said the challenge demands solutions to “mitigate climate damage while ensuring our operational success and competitive edge.”

He said his top priority will be ensuring service members have the tools and training needed to succeed.

“Just as I am committed to confronting our maintenance backlog, managing our operational requirements, and building our Navy of the future,” he said.

Del Toro, born in Havana, Cuba, is the second Hispanic Secretary of the Navy after Eduardo Hidalgo who served in the Carter administration.

“When I began my Navy career over 40 years ago, as a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, I looked up to then Secretary of the Navy Edward Hidalgo. Like me, he was an immigrant to this nation and, like me, his experience taught him why the world needs a strong United States Navy. Most of all, I understood that while I served our nation, he also served me. The same is true today. I am your Secretary of the Navy Marine Corps team,” he wrote.

Del Toro spent the last 17 years as the CEO and president of SBG Technology Solutions, which he founded in 2004.

Before that he served in the Navy for 22 years, including as the first commanding officer of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Bulkeley (DDG-84), Senior Executive Assistant to the Director for Program Analysis and Evaluation in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and Special Assistant to the Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.