Program Executive Office Aircraft Carriers Holds Change-of-office Ceremony

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WASHINGTON – Rear Adm. Casey J. Moton relieved Rear Adm. James P. Downey as Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers (PEO CVN) during a change-of-office ceremony, July 7, at the Washington Navy Yard.   Moton assumed leadership of PEO CVN after previously serving as the Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO

WASHINGTON – Rear Adm. Casey J. Moton relieved Rear Adm. James P. Downey as Program Executive Officer for Aircraft Carriers (PEO CVN) during a change-of-office ceremony, July 7, at the Washington Navy Yard.   

Moton assumed leadership of PEO CVN after previously serving as the Program Executive Officer for Unmanned and Small Combatants (PEO USC). 

Rear Adm. Moton recognized teammates from across the PEO CVN enterprise, representing Naval Reactors; industry, especially HII Newport News Shipbuilding; NAVSEA headquarters, Naval Shipyards, Warfare Centers, Regional Maintenance Centers, and the Supervisor of Shipbuilding, Newport News; as well as partners at Naval Air Systems Command,  Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, and Naval Supply Systems Command.

“The people of PEO Aircraft Carriers have accomplished a long list of important milestones during [Downey’s] tenure,” said Moton.  “The PEO team and our partners accomplished these things in a time of immense challenge, especially the COVID-19 pandemic, and the subsequent challenges to labor and supply chains.  You’ve accomplished this with a sense of urgency driven by Strategic Competition.  Admiral Downey’s steady hand has guided this team to these successes.”

A native of Woodbridge, Virginia, Moton is a 1991 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Over the course of his 34-year career, Moton has served across all phases of surface ship design and shipbuilding.  In his most recent assignment as PEO USC, he was responsible for acquisition and sustainment of the Navy’s expanding family of unmanned maritime systems, mine warfare systems, and small surface combatants.

Earlier in his career, Moton led two major defense acquisition programs—first, as Major Program Manager for Littoral Combat Ship Mission Modules, leading development and testing of mission packages for surface warfare, mine countermeasures, and anti-submarine warfare; and later as Major Program Manager for the DDG 51 Program, where his team delivered the first five ships after the restart of DDG-51 production; and placed an additional 12 ships under contract, including the first Flight III Destroyers. 

Downey has been nominated to assume the role of Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command and the rank of Vice Admiral.  He will transition to a temporary position as Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Research, Development, and Acquisition (ASN RDA) while awaiting confirmation. 

A Focus on Collaboration

Rear Adm. John F. Meier, U.S. Navy, Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic, delivered the ceremony’s keynote address.  As the type commander responsible for manning, training, and equipping all aircraft carriers based on the east coast, Meier spoke about the close and collaborative relationship he shared with Downey during his tenure as PEO CVN—a partnership that Meier and Moton intend to continue.

During his remarks, Meier stressed the importance of collaboration among the operators who fight the ships and fly the missions and the acquisition professionals who deliver the platforms and capabilities. 

“When Rear Adm. Downey relieved Rear Adm. Antonio as PEO Aircraft Carriers in June 2019, I had just taken command of Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic,” Meier recalled.  “Since then, we’ve collaborated on many initiatives to accelerate readiness.”

“Rear Adm. Downey’s efforts over the past four years will realize dividends for years to come,” Meier said.  “Our nation and Navy are more prepared because of his service and dedication.” 

The Honorable Fredrick J. “Jay” Stefany, acting ASN RDA, served as presiding officer for the ceremony.  During his remarks, Stefany underscored the critical role Rear Adm. Downey played in strengthening the partnerships among Navy and Industry leaders, program managers, planners, and deckplate shipbuilders.

“Admiral Downey was instrumental in keeping stakeholders focused on ensuring Gerald R. Ford would be ready for her current global deployment, as the centerpiece of Carrier Strike Group 12,” said Stefany.

Stefany also reiterated his confidence in Moton as the right leader to carry PEO CVN’s momentum forward.

“The Navy is very lucky to have you moving your pennant from PEO USC to PEO Aircraft Carriers … a portfolio that is absolutely critical to America’s maritime dominance,” said Stefany.

“I look forward to seeing PEO CVN continue to flourish under your watch, hitting key milestones, and providing much-needed capability to our Fleet,” Stefany added.

Downey thanked his team of more than 200 professionals in the program office and praised the staff’s passion and ability to collaborate, enabling the PEO to overcome one challenge after the next and “get the hard work done.” 

“When things get tough on the geo-political landscape, the front-loaded question is always, ‘Where are the Carriers?’” said Downey, adding, “The work of delivering carriers and readiness to the fleet—with a sense of urgency—feeds our most immediate national security objectives.” 

Downey celebrated the significant milestones the PEO CVN team achieved during his tenure, which included: 

  • Delivering 16 of 21 aircraft carriers out of major CNO Availabilities successfully, with a reduction in average days of maintenance delay from 55 days to 15 days 
  • Christening the future USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) 
  • Celebrating the Keel Laying for the future USS Enterprise (CVN 80) and First Cut of Steel for the future USS Doris Miller (CVN 81) 
  • Introducing innovations in Integrated Digital Shipbuilding and partnering with the shipyards to empower performance, from deck-plate workers to senior management 
  • Completing decommissioning work on the Navy’s Surface Ship Support Barge , which served as primary platform supporting complex refueling, defueling, and maintenance operations for used reactor components at Newport News Shipbuilding, from 1964 to 2016
  • Completing USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) Full ship shock trials and enabling her first full deployment 
  • Redelivering USS George Washington (CVN 73) from a very challenging Refueling and Complex Overhaul

In closing, Downey welcomed Moton to the PEO Aircraft Carriers Family.  “You’re about to embark on one of the most remarkable assignments across the DOD,” Downey said, “Leading the team of acquisition and sustainment professionals building the most formidable and complex weapon system in the world.” 

Source: Navy Mil