By Vice Adm. Tom Copeman
Commander, Naval Surface Forces
Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
The most recent junior officer survey is complete and I thought you’d be interested in hearing the results. The good news is we know what you think about surface warfare officer life. As has been the case for years, the more junior you are the less you seem to enjoy being a SWO. As your seniority increases, the more courses you complete and more experience and responsibility you gain, the better you like what you do.
Here is a sampling of the results for consideration:
- Junior female SWOs were somewhat less inclined to remain in the community than their male counterparts.
- Married SWOs had more negative responses than their unmarried fellow SWOs.
- Deployments and regular underways stressed everyone, but married SWOs in particular had issues in terms of impact on planning, stresses on family life and added demands of an increased operating tempo.
Improvements in division officer sequencing were noted positively as were the new Weapons Tactics Instructor courses and Basic Division Officer Course.
You should know that I personally appreciate your responses and that so many of you took the time to respond honestly. In fact, the response rate we had for this survey is statistically significant, so the results really help inform us how you feel as a group.
I pay particular attention to the free text responses. Your thoughts come through honestly and clearly. You may be glad to know the results of the survey are absolutely in line with what we are working on at Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet. We are doing our best to fix what we can, given the resources we have.
An initiative that is underway now is to find ways to reduce the time consuming, burdensome, and often unnecessary, administrivia that you face.
Everything we do should be passed through the lens of CNO’s direction: Warfighting First, Operate Forward and Be Ready. If something is critical, do it, otherwise weigh where it fits in support of CNO’s priorities.
There isn’t enough time to do everything, and we are working a continuous scrub of what we do and how we do it to make sure we end up with a distillation of what is absolutely necessary to support our primary principle of “Warfighting First.”
We know the life of a SWO isn’t easy and has never been easy. Being the best at what you do takes long hours and hard work — it is that way for most professions — and with the responsibilities that you carry, your best is what our nation requires. You should know we are working hard every day to make sure you come home safe and that you return as winners.
But the oceans aren’t getting smaller and the world isn’t getting safer, so the surface Navy will always be in demand. Bottom line is that SWOs are at the heart of our Navy.
Finally, thank you for choosing to be a SWO and for taking on the hard tasks and performing admirably. We always need to be able to take a fix on the horizon and calibrate course as required. We…I…rely on you to help with that.
View the full results of the survey.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally posted Jan. 2 on iDriveWarships.