By Rear Adm. Walter “Ted” Carter
Director, 21st Century Sailor Office
NAVADMIN 153/13 announced the establishment of the 21st Century Sailor Office (OPNAV N17), which reorganized existing Navy resources to create a comprehensive, Sailor-focused resiliency effort. Below are five things you need to know about the 21st Century Sailor Office.
What is the 21st Century Sailor Office (N17) and why was it created?
The 21st Century Sailor Office was created through a realignment of existing Navy resources as part of the recommendations from Task Force Resilient. Task Force Resilient was chartered by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mark Ferguson on Jan. 22, 2013, to review Navy resiliency efforts as well as suicide related events to increase resilience and reduce suicides.
Task Force Resilient determined existing Navy resilience resources could better serve Sailors if they were aligned under one overarching and integrated organization that provided unity of effort across the Navy enterprise. Task Force Resilient recommended establishing the 21st Century Office – led by a line flag officer – to serve as the overall lead for Navy resilience efforts by focusing on outcomes and continuity of care across Navy programs.
The 21st Century Sailor Office, which was established June 1, was created through a realignment of existing Navy resources within the Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education domain. Sailors are the heart of our Navy. We must ensure that every Sailor’s total fitness needs – including physical, mental, social and spiritual – are met so they can better meet the challenges they face during their military service. The 21st Century Sailor Office will ensure that our Sailors have the tools to meet Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert’s tenets of warfighting first, operate forward and be ready.
What is resilience?
Resilience is defined as the process of preparing for, recovering from, and adjusting to life in the face of stress, adversity, trauma, or tragedy. Resilience has been a part of Navy culture for many years, but there is still much work to be done. Our Navy is deployed around the world, and our Sailors are continuously working around the clock to protect and defend America. The goal of 21st Century Sailor Office is to provide our Sailors with the support network, programs, resources, health care and skills needed to overcome adversity and thrive – both on the job and in their daily lives.
Resilience is not one program or initiative, but a comprehensive effort to build life skills that not only ensure Navy readiness, but also fully develop the personal and professional talent of our force. The 21st Century Sailor Office will drive policy and strategies that are responsive to our Sailor and their families – our most important assets.
Why does Navy need a new office?
It is essential to our mission success that our people and their families are taken care of. Task Force Resilient determined Navy resilience resources could better serve Sailors if aligned under one overarching and integrated organization. As recommended by Task Force Resilient, the 21st Century Sailor Office captures all of these programs under one umbrella and provides top level attention and support to ensure Navy’s critical resilience programs continue to grow and better serve our Sailors and their families.
What policies and programs will be run by the 21st Century Sailor Office?
The 21st Century Sailor Office will include five individual policy branches residing under a new code, OPNAV N17. The 21st Century Sailor Office will include Total Sailor Fitness (N170), Suicide Prevention (N171), Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (N172), Sexual Harassment Prevention and Equal Opportunity (N173), and Office of Hazing Prevention (N174). The office will be responsible for the integration of Navy’s objectives for equal opportunity, Sailor personal and family readiness, physical readiness, substance abuse prevention, suicide prevention, sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention and response, hazing prevention, and transition assistance.
How will the 21st Century Sailor Office help Sailors?
The 21st Century Sailor Office will provide Sailors with the support network, programs, resources, health care and skills needed to meet both the mental and physical challenges of military service throughout their Navy career. From ensuring a workplace free from the negative effects of hazing and harassment to aggressively targeting alcohol abuse, 21st Century Sailor Office is committed to making sure every Sailor has the opportunity to thrive and excel, even during sustained high operational tempo. The goal isn’t just workplace resilience. However, 21st Century Sailor will also ensure our Sailors and their families have the tools and resources for resilient life skills, building a culture of total fitness empowerment that includes physical, mental, social and spiritual fitness.