May 25, 2018
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Brunswick woman nominated for top Navy Reserve post says she’s just ‘part of the team’

Rear Adm. Robin R. Braun of Brunswick.
By BETH BROGAN, Times Record

BRUNSWICK, Maine — A Brunswick woman has been nominated by President Barack Obama for promotion to vice admiral and chief of the Navy Reserve.

Rear Adm. Robin R. Braun, deputy director of the European Plans and Operations Center at U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany, said Tuesday while home on leave that she hopes to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate this summer.

If confirmed, Braun would be the first woman to serve as leader of the 65,000-member Navy Reserve, reporting directly to Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert.

Her new post would involve “working to shape the Navy Reserve — the policy aspects of it, authorities, the budget,” Braun said. “It’s all about the managing of the force.”

“I was tremendously honored to be nominated for this job,” Braun said. “The Navy Reserve is basically 65,000 men and women who are citizens — sailors who have full-time jobs and then also serve in the Navy Reserve as part-time sailors. Really, the tradition of the Navy Reserve is for 97 years we’ve had men and women serving their country on a part-time basis. I take a lot of pride in being able to lead that force and provide added capabilities to the Navy.”

Braun would be the first woman to hold the position, and while she said she is proud of that distinction, she doesn’t consider herself “a trailblazer.”

“In the Navy you’re taught from Day 1 [that] you’re part of the team,” she said. “For me, for 32 years I’ve been part of the team, whether I was in a supporting role or I was leading the team, it’s all about the ‘we,’ and not the ‘I.’ While I’m very proud of being a woman and being nominated for this position, it’s still all about the teamwork.”

Braun moved to Maine from Washington, D.C., in 1999, when her husband was transferred in the U.S. Navy. When he retired, they made their home and raised a family in Brunswick.

She has lived in Germany nearly full time for the past 18 months, though, and before that was based in Washington, D.C., Tennessee and New Orleans, commuting back to Brunswick, because “I consider this home,” she said.

Braun is on military leave from her civilian job as a pilot for Federal Express, but the new position would require her to return to active duty full time for four years and work from the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Braun said that if confirmed, she looks forward to the new post and “helping to determine what capabilities will reside in the reserve, recommendations on how large the force should be, and basically the strategic direction the Naval Reserve will take.”

“As the war in Afghanistan winds down and we’ve heard about significant budget cuts and force structure cuts of our military, it will be very important that we look to right-size the Navy Reserve and look to focus on missions that will provide the needed capabilities for the Navy,” she said.

The new littoral combat ship, “unmanned vehicles” and cyberdefense are among areas the Navy is now focusing on, she said, “so we’ve got to take a look at what capabilities need to reside in the Navy Reserve and where can we best support the active duty Navy.”

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