By Vice Adm. Bill Moran
Chief of Naval Personnel
Had the opportunity last week to get out of DC and spend a few days down in Hampton Roads–visiting with Sailors on the Norfolk waterfront and the Oceana flight line. These short, but rewarding visits to fleet concentration areas go a long way in helping us get reconnected with Sailors and families, so that we keep the Fleet’s needs at the forefront of what we are working.
During all hands calls on USS Fort McHenry, at Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic and at the AUSN Career Development Seminar, Fleet Beldo and I spent time talking about Sailor career paths, the latest advancement trends and initiatives underway to further reduce gaps at sea and incentivize sea duty. We had lunch with a dozen command triads to discuss how to continue to strengthen their authority and reduce administrative burden to help improve quality of work and mission focus. I also had the opportunity to spend a few hours with more than 150 Oceana pilots and NFOs to talk about their futures — and just as importantly how their spouses viewed their service.
Many of the same topics and questions discussed at Oceana last week were raised and thoughtfully explored in the “Keep a Weather Eye on the Horizon” paper recently posted on the U.S. Naval Institute Blog and discussed, I’m sure, in wardrooms and on mess decks around the fleet.
Specific feedback, whether given in person or via the internet, on why people stay and why they may want to go is helpful and needed as my staff works through the challenge of how to aggressively retain the right Sailors for the Navy of today and tomorrow. Understanding what motivates their service is critical as we develop programs and policies intended to balance and stabilize retention.
The thousands of questions, emails, tweets, and blog comments we get each month helps us better understand your priorities and directly feeds into what topics and policies we go after and attack.
So I’m encouraged that along with the “official” polling, crowdsourcing and surveying that my staff in DC and Millington does on a regular basis, a group of interested and motivated folks are going a step further and taking their own independent look by asking their Shipmates what they think first hand.
Their website, www.dodretention.org, lays out exactly what will be asked, how the data will be crunched and what use it will go to. I won’t speak on their behalf– but I am interested in what they learn.
Experts from our detailing and community management shops have provided information and insight to help develop questions, but we are not officially encouraging Sailors to take the survey, so as not to infringe on the independence and democratic nature of the effort.
I look forward to reviewing the results, bouncing it off the feedback from all hands calls and incorporating the right lessons into the work that we are doing here at headquarters. Thank you to those who are working this information gathering effort and to all of those who thoughtfully and passionately work through and advance ideas on their own time to help make our Navy better–blog posts, social media comments, Proceedings articles and our own surveys are important.
These efforts are in the proud tradition of professional discourse and help keep our Navy sharp and relevant.
Please keep the ideas and feedback coming–see you in the Fleet.