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Four Things You Need to Know About Strengthening the Culture of Operational Excellence

From U.S. Navy

Recently, we released our one-year update on the Readiness Reform Oversight Committee’s work to make our Navy a safer and more combat-effective force that places the safety, readiness and training of our people first. The update covered a lot of ground, so we’re sharing the four things that you need to know about strengthening the culture of operational excellence:

  1. Empower transparent, data-driven decision-making at every echelon of command as foundational for achieving sustainable readiness. Safety and combat readiness are never mutually exclusive – rather, they are synonymous in the unforgiving medium of the sea.
  2. Invigorate and continually reinforce our culture of mission command, preserving the commanding officer’s ability to execute with initiative, creativity and clarity, while inspiring the best ideas from every rate and rank.
  3. Continue to improve and modernize naval talent management, maintenance and all training systems – both digital and hands-on – towards their maximum potential.
  4. Place our Sailors and our Navy families at the forefront of our efforts to create a dominant naval force that produces outstanding leaders and teams, armed with the best equipment and continually able to learn and adapt faster than our rivals.
ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 21, 2019) Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) observe as the ship pulls alongside the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) before a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)
ARABIAN GULF (Feb. 21, 2019) Sailors aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) observe as the ship pulls alongside the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Alan Shepard (T-AKE 3) before a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jacob Milham/Released)

Here are examples of our ongoing efforts:

  • Armor Up (Surface Warfare Officers School Toughness Initiative): Beginning in July 2019, SWOS is adding an additional two weeks to the Surface Commander Course focusing on stress inoculation, coping skills and significant additional simulator time.
  • Updated Manning Models: An Afloat Work Week study found 4 percent fewer productive hours available than expected on ships conducting operations at sea, resulting in a requirement for an additional 1,400 billets across the fleet. A follow-up study currently underway, including Condition V watch requirements and in port work requirements, is expected to yield similar results.
  • Human Factors Expertise: Human Factors Engineers have been incorporated into TYCOM staffs in support of optimizing training/assessment processes and enhancing operational safety analysis. The presence of Embedded Mental Health (EMH) professionals is being enhanced across all fleet concentration areas; to date, 33 additional EMH billets (17 officer, nine enlisted and seven civilian) have been validated by the Bureau of Naval Medicine (BUMED) and funded across the Future Years Defense Program.
  • Integrated Industry Lessons in Support of Team Effectiveness: A new learning culture steering group, led by a Navy Reserve three-star admiral who is also a Fortune 500 executive, conducted comparative analysis spanning 30 companies, 15 Navy commands and the feedback of 25 culture experts in order to spearhead progress toward a learning culture that maximizes individual and team performance. This analysis will inform future RROC initiatives supporting a growing culture of excellence.
Quartermaster Seaman Apprentice Jacob Overturf, from Las Vegas, Nev., stands watch in the bridge of the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mason (DDG 87). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Lasheba James/Released)

 

One year in, it would be naïve to believe we are close to completing RROC’s work. However, due to the efforts of many professionals around the fleet, we are currently safe to operate and a more effective Navy than we were a year ago. But the hard work has only just begun. We can influence behavior in the short term through policy; we can only change the culture with sustained commitment to integrity, transparency and excellence in all that we do, at every level. This will remain, in every way, a team effort.

We owe our best to our shipmates, both the ones who we lost and the ones we serve alongside every day, around the world, in the unforgiving business of our nation’s defense.

Editor’s note: Follow related Navy Live blog content using tag RROC.

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