A Navy veteran who earned the rank of rear admiral, Rick Williams commanded Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. While leading Navy Region Hawaii, Rear Admiral Rick Williams implemented initiatives to reduce costs and improve efficiency through the use of renewable energy.
As the nation’s largest government consumer of energy, the Department of Defense (DoD) is working to increase the use of renewables across all branches of the military. Between 2011 and 2015, the U.S. armed forces nearly doubled the amount of renewable power it generates and nearly tripled the number of projects focused on renewables.
To help meet a DoD mandate that requires military facilities to draw at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable sources, the U.S. Army, Navy, and Air Force have all launched internal energy initiatives. The initiatives aim to increase the use of alternative energy sources at bases and other facilities while improving the military’s capability to use green energy in the field.
In addition to reducing operations costs, the use of renewable power in the military has the potential to save lives. It reduces the need for fuel-delivery convoys, which are common targets for enemies. Energy-efficient ships and vehicles can also travel farther with fewer stops, making them less vulnerable to attacks. Moreover, mobile solar panels give soldiers the ability to quietly power radios and other equipment while in the field.
Before beginning a career in the Navy, Rear Admiral Rick Williams attended the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1984. Rear Admiral Rick Williams also completed an MBA at the University of Maryland in College Park before attending the Naval War College, where he received a master of arts in National Security Affairs in 1996.
The Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island was established in 1884 to provide professional studies for advanced training of naval officers. The War College features a NWC Museum that is established inside “the poorhouse,” a National Historic Landmark that was once the Newport Asylum for the Poor.
The NWC Museum includes several exhibits and collections related to the history of naval warfare, along with records and documents from naval encounters. The museum is open to the public and serves as a clearing house for New England naval information.
Rear Admiral Rick Williams served as an anti-submarine warfare officer and later as a combat systems officer in several operational tours before commanding the USS McInerney between 2002 and 2004. A recipient of the Department of Homeland Security’s Golden Eagle Award, Rear Admiral Rick Williams supports the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP).
WWP runs a Student Ambassadors program that encourages students to come together in support of America’s veterans. In 2017, students from seven grades at Alcott Elementary School in Wolcott, Connecticut, spent several weeks saving their allowances for a Student Ambassadors fundraiser they named “Penny Wars.” The students presented WWP with a total of $1,340 in early March.
At the close of the fundraiser, a representative of WWP gave a special address to the school assembly, sharing the tale of her son who was hurt in a bomb explosion in Iraq. During the talk, she distributed WWP bracelets, pins, and stickers.
School Principal Shawn Simpson was impressed by the students’ act of community service. He even bestowed a special award, an extra 30 minutes of recess time, upon the school’s 4th grade students for raising the most funds.
During his military tenure, Rear Admiral Rick Williams spearheaded some of the armed forces’ most forward-thinking renewable energy projects. Active in assisting veterans, Rear Admiral Rick Williams supports Wounded Warrior Project and volunteers at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
Wounded Warrior Project recently announced its approval of a new program from the Department of Veterans Affairs to help veterans who cannot have children because of an injury in the line of duty receive reproductive services. Congress gave the VA the authority to provide new fertility services to veterans in October, and the VA finalized its move to do so in January.
Wounded veterans and their spouses now have access to in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies. With this move, the VA now provides essentially the same fertility benefits to veterans and their families that the Department of Defense offers to active-duty service members. Veterans interesting in accessing these new services, or the other fertility treatments still available through the VA, are encouraged to reach out to their local VA offices to learn more.
With five Legion of Merit medals to his name, Rear Admiral Rick Williams commanded Middle Pacific Surface Group and guided air, ship, and shore groups spanning several naval mission areas. Working within the Rebalance to the Pacific initiative, Rear Admiral Rick Williams spearheaded training and certifications within the Carrier Strike Group. These were designed to bolster operational capacities in areas such as joint warfighting and cyber warfare.
In February 2016, an independent review of the U.S. Rebalance to the Pacific program was released by the Center of Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The CSIS report, presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), recommends the forward deployment of a second U.S. Navy nuclear carrier to the Western Pacific region. This reinforces a recommendation by SASC Chair Sen. John McCain, as well as a previous independent study on the subject.
U.S. allies such as Japan are interested in the idea, as it would provide more security cooperation between U.S. Japan coalition partners at a time of China’s People’s Liberation Army expansion throughout the contested East and South China Seas. Questioned by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a report coauthor noted that a “hard recommendation” was not given due to operational complexities, as well as questions involving infrastructure and cost.