Thomas Modly had an eclectic career in the military, academia, business, and government when he answered the call to service in 2017 and returned to the Navy where his career began. His experience, as chronicled in these pages, tells the story of Secretary Modly’s quest to advance the Department of the Navy’s preparedness for the challenges of this century. As Acting Secretary of the Navy he held fast to the mantra of “acting, not pretending,” and thus advocated aggressively for the Navy and Marine Corps’ future — a future he believed would be defined by uncertainty and unpredictability. Every Friday he wrote a personal message to the entire Department regardless of rank. Those messages were called SECNAV Vectors. Each Vector was intended to clearly communicate his priorities and to establish a rapport with all levels of the organization. The subject of each Vector was inspired by real events that occurred in real time. As these events unfolded , the Secretary’s unyielding emphasis on being prepared for unpredictable events are proven to be prescient as the Navy found itself, unintentionally, in the center of COVID-19 crisis.