The Navy's new top officer has no shortage of challenges to confront.

Adm. John Richardson, the chief of naval operations since September, is at the helm at a time when demand for his force is peaking, but the resources to fund it are shrinking.

Deployments in recent years have stretched to nearly The Navy is wrangling down deployment lengths that had stretched to almost 11 months. That's worsened a maintenance backlog and any sense of normalcy sailors and their families had hoped for after years of high optempo.That's a lot of wear and tear on ships and sailors. The fleet was also struggling to  dig itself out of a maintenance backlog that threatened to disrupt any remaining sense of normalcy about deployments for sailors and their families.

The Navy must make the case for buying Budget pressure makes it unclear how the service will The compressed budget also presents serious questions about how the service is going to pay for tens of billions of dollars-worth of new ballistic missile submarines, while still purchasing new fighters jets and warships -- not to mention attack submarine which are also growing in importance.

CNO Adm. John RIchardson on 7 month deployments

CNO Adm. John Richardson talks about keeping ships on 7 month deployments.

The service is working to integrate On the personnel front, sweeping changes to retirement and compensation programs were undergoing radical change and the Navy struggled to cut down on the number of uniforms it pays sailors to own and maintain. There are also questions about how the Navy will integrate women into its previously closed combat billets in the SEALs and Special Warfare Combat Crewman communities.

And on the international front, challenges from China's growing dominance of the Asia-Pacific and a resurgent Russia threaten to draw out the smallest fleet since before World War I even further.

In an exclusive interview with Navy Times, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson talked about the challenges he faces with pushing down deployments to his stated goal of seven months, handling issues in the South China Sea, shrinking the number of uniforms sailors buy and designing a fitness test that's more relevant to sailors' jobs.

Check out the stories below to find out what CNO had to say. Click the stories embedded below to find out what CNO had to say. Some quotes in the stories have been edited for brevity.



Women in the SEALs:

The South China Sea:

Navy spy case: