Naval Aviation On Its Way to Achieve Readiness Goal

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By Adm. Robert Burke
Vice Chief of Naval Operations

It has been less than a year since the Navy set out to restore strike fighter readiness rates to 80 percent, and the one-year deadline of Oct. 1 is approaching. For the aviation community, the endeavor to increase the mission-capable rate of F/A-18E/F Super Hornets posed a challenge that Naval Aviation leadership attacked with fervor.


PACIFIC OCEAN (March 12, 2019) F/A-18E Super Hornets from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 136 “Knighthawks” fly in formation during a photo exercise over the California coast. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon Renfroe)

It is with good reason that the Naval Aviation community has risen to this challenge. For over 100 years, carrier aviation has led the way in power projection and bringing the fight to our adversaries. In WWII, the aircraft carrier replaced the battleship as the most powerful offensive naval weapons system as the battles between fleets were increasingly fought outside of the ships’ gun ranges. The Battle of Coral Sea was the first air-sea battle in history, and the lessons learned by the Naval Aviators during that battle helped form new tactics and techniques that led to a decisive victory and the turning point of the War in the Pacific during the Battle of Midway.

Today, U.S. Navy carriers routinely deploy worldwide, in harm’s way, providing our national leadership credible options ranging from deterrence to major combat operations, without the need to consult another host nation.

I recently completed an informative trip to Commander, Strike Fighter Wing Atlantic at NAS Oceana in Virginia Beach to get a first-hand look at the changes to aviation maintenance practices and to gain insight on the challenges and priorities of aviators and maintainers.


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Aug. 7, 2019) Cmdr. Brandon M. Scott, commanding officer of the “Gladiators” of Strike Fighter Wing (VFA) 106, right, discusses hangar condition with Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Robert P. Burke during a hangar tour on board Naval Air Station Oceana. Burke visited VFA-106 to meet with command leadership and discuss aviation readiness. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Thomas Mahmod/Released)

Under the leadership of Commander, Naval Air Forces Atlantic and CSFWL, the east coast Fleet Replacement Squadron (FRS) Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 was the most recent squadron to initiate reforms under the Naval Sustainment System (NSS), starting in April of this year. VFA-106 has the largest inventory of Super Hornets on the flight line, as they are responsible for training newly-winged aviators for the fleet.


PACIFIC OCEAN (July 12, 2019) Sailors direct an F/A-18E Super Hornet, assigned to the “Tomcatters” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 31, on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

In short, this squadron is the largest contributor to the strike fighter readiness recovery. Since VFA-106 maintenance performance impacts overall Super Hornet readiness status more than any other squadron, the recent implementation of NSS procedures had a significant impact on the overall goal. Like the pioneering naval aviators in WWII rapidly incorporated lessons learned between Coral Sea and Midway, VFA-106 learned from the FRS squadron at NAS Lemoore who completed early iterations of NSS changes. This rapid learning and improvement drove VFA-106 to reduce maintenance turnover timeframes, raise the average mission capable (MC) aircraft numbers, and return several long-term down aircraft to a flying status.

I spoke with two plane crew chiefs – both junior Sailors – to ask what they thought of the new processes. With pride, they both spoke of ownership, of learning the whole aircraft, well outside of their rating expertise, and of true teamwork. This is a great example of U.S. Navy Sailors being given tremendous responsibility – and running with it!

This effort is a testament to the adaptability and determination of the aviators and maintainers in the VFA community and VFA-106. The squadron is reaching the point where lack of MC aircraft is no longer a limiting factor to pilot production, even when supporting operations in multiple locations or underway on the aircraft carrier. These are powerful results that will ensure we have enough instructors and pilots in the future.


LEMOORE, Calif. (Feb. 12, 2019) Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Joshua Norris, center, a Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Lemoore instructor, observes student Aviation Electronics Technician 1st Class Jamie Kenney as she troubleshoots simulated issues on the F/A-18 aircraft ALR-67 system. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate Alvin Zuilan)

Success at VFA-106 is one example of how the Naval Aviation Enterprise is working together to achieve our 80 percent readiness goal. Because NSS addresses all elements of aviation maintenance – people, parts and processes – to make permanent changes that increase aviation readiness and lethality, we are seeing improvements that are sustainable for the future. Through collaboration and a whole-of-aviation approach, the Naval Aviation Enterprise is on its way to achieve and sustain its readiness goal.

It is a remarkable time for Naval Aviation, and I’m proud to have seen the determination, passion and professionalism during my visit. Keep up the hard work, and I’ll see you in the fleet!


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Naval Aviation On Its Way to Achieve Readiness Goal

Grand Junction Celebrates Its First Navy Week

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Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to campers of East Camp at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center as part of Grand Junction Navy Week. T(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)



Grand Junction, Colorado might be a land-locked state and hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean, but that didn’t stop the Navy from sailing into town July 22 – 28 to celebrate the town’s first ever Navy Week. Navy Week is an outreach program that travels to cities without a significant Navy presence, giving people who might never otherwise interact with the Navy, an opportunity to learn what the U.S. Navy does.  The weeklong engagement also plays a vital role in connecting the American public with Sailors, assets and Navy equipment introducing local communities with an understanding of why having a strong Navy is so invaluable to our country. Both residents and Sailors interacted in outreach events providing the opportunity for visible awareness of the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.


Future Sailors from Navy Recruiting Division (NRD) Metropolitan took the oath of enlistment from Rear Adm. Bret Batchelder, senior executive host of Western Slope Navy Week, at the Colorado National Monument, July 24. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Holly L. Herline)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to campers of East Camp at the Lincoln Park Recreation Center as part of Grand Junction Navy Week. T(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

The U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, diamond pilots perform the “Diamond 360” maneuver in a demonstration at the Grand Junction Air Show in Grand Junction, Colo. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gordon/Released)

Capt. Fred Goldhammer, commanding officer of the San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), gives a flag flown aboard Mesa Verde to the family of Mesa County Sherriff’s Deputy Derek Greer at a memorial service for Greer during Navy Week Grand Junction. Greer, a Navy veteran, was killed after responding to 911 reports of a masked man with a gun. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Lt. j.g. Antonio Alamazan, assigned to the amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde (LPD 19), speaks with local radio station about the Navy and ship during the Western Slope Navy Week and Mesa Verde Namesake visit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brent Pyfrom/Released)

Lt. Cmdr. David Gardner, the public affairs officer assigned to the U.S. Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, interacts with fans at America’s Navy’s Virtual Reality Experience during the Grand Junction Air Show at Grand Junction, Colo. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Gordon/Released)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, takes a selfie with West Camp summer campers at West Middle School during Grand Junction Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Sailors from Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 117 meet with Army veteran Ann Reynolds, who recently turned 100 years old, during a Meals on Wheels Mesa County meal delivery, July 23, 2019. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Holly L. Herline/Released)

Rear Adm. Brett C. Batchelder, director of Maritime Operations (N04), U.S. Fleet Forces Command, speaks at a memorial service for Mesa County Sherriff’s Deputy Derek Greer during Navy Week Grand Junction. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Naval Aircrewman 2nd Class Charles Hardmon, from Egg Harbor Township, N.J., assigned to USS Constitution, gives a presentation to West Camp summer campers at West Middle School during Grand Junction Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey Scoular/Released)

Check to see if a Navy Week is coming to your community.  Scheduled cities remaining in 2019 are:

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20


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Grand Junction Celebrates Its First Navy Week

Becoming One Navy Team

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On the 71st anniversary of President Harry S. Truman’s signing of the Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, mandating equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin, Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson addresses the essential role diversity plays in helping the U.S. Navy remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force:

Team, today marks a historic day for our Navy and our military.

71 years ago, on this day in 1948, President Truman signed Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, stating for the first time that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services and federal government regardless of race, color, religion, or national origin.


John Henry Turpin

71 years ago, we took a crucial step in building the strength of our Navy team. We honored, recognized, and codified the contributions of our people of color who fought for our Independence, who fought to keep our union together, who went ashore on D-Day, who fought across the Pacific with us.

Famous units like the Buffalo Soldiers, the Navajo Code Talkers, the Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Tuskegee Airmen. Famous people like African American Chief Gunner’s Mate John Henry Turpin who enlisted in 1896, survived the explosion of USS Maine, and served with honor throughout World War I; Hispanic American David Farragut, hero of the Civil War and the Navy’s first admiral; Native American Medal of Honor recipient, Commander Ernest Evans and the millions of others who served.


David Glasgow Farragut

71 years ago, we decided that what bound us together were our values as Americans. What mattered was a person’s honor, courage, and commitment to serve our nation — not the color of our skins.

Today, the Navy works hard every day to become that service. That place where you belong, if you believe what America stands for and want to defend it by living a life of integrity, accountability, initiative, and toughness. By serving something bigger than ourselves.


Ernest E. Evans

Today, we are stronger because we respect each other’s different ways to contribute to the mission, and never forget what connects and unites us.

Today, we continue to recognize the dignity and contribution of all in our Navy Team. We are ready to put our lives in each other’s’ hands.

By getting the best of us all — together — the U.S. Navy will remain the world’s most decisive and lethal naval force.

Let’s get to it.


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Becoming One Navy Team

Quad Cities Celebrate Navy Week

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The eighth Navy Week of 2019 took America’s Navy to Quad Cities, Iowa, June 24-30.  Navy Weeks play a vital role in connecting the American public with Sailors, assets and Navy equipment. The weeklong engagement introduced the local communities, who do not have frequent visibility of the Navy, with an understanding of why having a strong Navy is so invaluable to our country. Both residents and Sailors interacted in outreach events providing the opportunity to meet Sailors firsthand with a visible awareness of the mission, capabilities and importance of the U.S. Navy.


Sailors assigned to guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) pose for a picture with Kelly Sullivan Loughren, the ship’s sponsor and granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, one of five brothers who are the namesake for the ship, in front of the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum during a visit to Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Taylor Ruggles, assigned to USS Constitution, discusses life aboard the ship with a member of Lindsay Park Yacht Club during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Nathan Roth/Released)

Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians assigned to EOD Group One suit up a member of the Quad Cities Elite FIRST Robotics Competition Team in a bomb suit at the Arconic Learning Center during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Helen Brown/Released)

Kelly Sullivan Loughren, the sponsor of guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) and granddaughter of Albert Sullivan, one of five brothers who are the namesake for the ship, explains the story behind artifacts in the Sullivan Brothers Iowa Veterans Museum to Sailors assigned to USS The Sullivans during a visit to Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, diamond pilots perform the Low Break Cross maneuver during a demonstration at the Quad City Air Show at the Davenport Municipal Airport in Davenport, Iowa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Timothy Schumaker/Released)

Members of Navy Band Great Lakes play a concert at the Family Museum during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Sailors assigned to USS Constitution parade the colors before the start of a River Bandits Minor League baseball game during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

Sailors assigned to guided-missile destroyer USS The Sullivans (DDG 68) visit the Sullivan family memorial in Calvary Cemetery in Waterloo, Iowa as part of Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Jonathan Jiang/Released)

After being suited up by Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Technicians assigned to EOD Group One, a member of the Quad Cities Elite FIRST Robotics Competition Team greets his peers at the Arconic Learning Center during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Helen Brown/Released)

Hull Technician 3rd Class Pamela Hensley, assigned to USS Constitution, discusses the ship’s hull construction with visitors at Putnam Museum during Quad Cities Navy Week. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Nathan Roth/Released)

Check to see if a Navy Week is coming to your community.  Scheduled cities in 2019 are:

– Duluth, Minn., July 15-21

– Grand Junction, Colo., July 22-28

– Boise, Idaho, Aug. 19-25

– St. Louis, Mo., Sept. 2-8

– Wichita, Kan., Sept. 9-15

– Charleston, W.V., Oct. 14-20


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Quad Cities Celebrate Navy Week

U.S. Navy Carriers Keep Freedom Safe

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This week, Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74), USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) and USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) have been conducting operations around the globe, demonstrating the inherent capacity of the aircraft carrier and embarked Carrier Air Wing.

U.S. Navy aircraft carriers maintain unmatched responsiveness, flexibility, and mobility as well as the unique ability to operate forward, far away from American shores, unconstrained by the need to refuel. The nuclear-powered ship provides extra capacity for aircraft fuel, armament, and additional warfighting capability — a growth margin for future technology in shipboard warfighting systems and advanced aircraft. This asymmetric advantage grants us access to maritime domains that no other country can influence across the full range of military options. Check more details below:

Article: Abraham Lincoln CSG and Kearsarge ARG Conduct Joint Operations in U.S. 5th Fleet (May 19, 2019)

Video: USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Kearsarge Joint Operations in the Arabian Sea (May 17, 2019)


ARABIAN SEA (May 17, 2019) Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group (ABECSG) and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group (KSGARG) conduct joint operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations. The ABECSG and KSGARG, with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, are prepared to respond to contingencies and to defend U.S. forces and interests in the region. (US Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Catie Coyle/Released)

Article: USS John C. Stennis Arrives in Norfolk (May 16, 2019)

Blog: John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family (May 15, 2019)

In the fall of 2018, quietly and with a purpose, USS John C. Stennis departed Bremerton, Washington, with little notice and less fanfare… Not an easy task for 100,000 tons of steel. —  Rear Adm. Roy Kelley


NORFOLK (May 16, 2019) The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) arrives at Naval Station Norfolk, May 16, 2019. John C. Stennis arrived in its new homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, following a deployment to the U.S. 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th and 7th Fleet areas of responsibility and having conducted a homeport shift from Bremerton, Washington. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Kody A. Phillips/Released)

Article: USS Theodore Roosevelt Participates in Exercise Northern Edge 2019 (May 14, 2019)

Article: Exercise Northern Edge 2019 kicks off in Alaska (May 13, 2019)


GULF OF ALASKA (May 14, 2019) An F/A-18E Super Hornet assigned to the “Blue Diamonds” of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 146 launches from the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71) while participating in Exercise Northern Edge 2019. Northern Edge is one in a series of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command exercises in 2019 that prepares joint forces to respond to crisis in the Indo-Pacific region. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Olympia O. McCoy/Released)

Article: Abraham Lincoln Transits Suez Canal (May 9, 2019)

Video: USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group Completes Southbound Suez Transit (May 9, 2019)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) and carrier strike group completes a southbound Suez Canal transit.

Video: Flight Operations Aboard USS Abraham Lincoln in the Mediterranean Sea (April 25, 2019)

U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets launch and recover aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72). The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group is currently deployed in defense of American forces and interests in the 5th and 6th fleet areas of operation.


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U.S. Navy Carriers Keep Freedom Safe

John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

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By Rear Adm. Roy Kelley
Commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic

In the fall of 2018, quietly and with a purpose, USS John C. Stennis departed Bremerton, Washington, with little notice and less fanfare… Not an easy task for 100,000 tons of steel. This is the latest example of how the Navy is supporting the National Defense Strategy through dynamic, unpredictable operations.


PACIFIC OCEAN (Feb. 22, 2019) Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Preble (DDG 88) let out the sound powered phone line during a breakaway after a replenishment-at-sea with the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Pacific Ocean, Feb. 22, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Bryan Niegel/Released)

Make no mistake, the world’s oceans are the forefront of a new great power competition. As our near-peer competitors and adversaries continue to push agendas predicated on global instability, we will do what we do best – operate as the world’s most maneuverable and lethal maritime force. And, we will do it as the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group (CSG) has done over the last seven months – anytime, anywhere.

Throughout the Third, Seventh, Fifth, Sixth and Second Fleets, the men and women of this strike group operated impeccably at the forefront, taking the fight to terror groups, securing vital international shipping lanes, and strengthening a global community of allies and partners. The strike group also flexed the Navy’s ability to conduct high-end, complex warfare, participating in the multinational exercise Intrepid Sentinel as well as integrating with the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group, the French Navy flag ship Charles De Gaulle, and the Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln CSGs.


MEDITERRANEAN SEA (April 24, 2019) The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) steams alongside the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72), background, in the Mediterranean Sea, April 24, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Grant G. Grady/Released)

Proving their ability to operate seamlessly with various platforms across international boundaries, the strike group also continued the Navy’s tradition of aviation dominance. USS John C. Stennis and embarked Carrier Air Wing NINE amassed 23,592 flight hours, including 2282 hours of combat operations that expended more than 250,000 pounds of ordnance. All this while supporting Operations Inherent Resolve and Freedom’s Sentinel.

And as much as I relish highlighting this team’s combat acumen, they also shined as diplomats.  Through five port visits with key allies and a number of multinational engagements, the strike group continued to foster partnerships that will help ensure global security and stability.


RED SEA (April 18, 2019) Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Handling) 2nd Class Christopher Settle, from Columbus, Indiana, directs an EA-18G Growler assigned to Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 133 toward a steam-powered catapult on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) in the Red Sea, April 18, 2019. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Skyler Okerman)

Across most of the world’s oceans and in ever-changing environments, the Sailors of the John C. Stennis CSG displayed an immense amount of courage and focus. They have truly demonstrated the intrinsic value of the Navy’s most important resource – the men and women in our ranks. This includes our dedicated family members whose strength and support are the catalyst for our success. To family and friends, I sincerely thank you for everything you do.

To the strike group Sailors, Bravo Zulu for your exceptional work. To USS John C. Stennis, welcome to your new home!


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John C. Stennis Joins the Norfolk CVN Family

National Nurses Week

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2018) Lt. Amy Moore, a Navy reserve nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Multi-Service Unit, readies an IV for use. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)



In observance of National Nurses Week, a big thank you to the dedicated U.S. Navy nurses around the world for all their hard work providing care, and the important roles they play not only for military service members and their families, but also for all people in need!


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 14, 2017) Kim Baughman, a registered nurse at the Naval Hospital Jacksonville maternal infant unit, checks a newborn’s reflexes. Nurses Week is May 6-12, celebrating nurses who lead the charge for health and wellness. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released)

MAYPORT, Fla. (Nov. 10, 2016) Capt. Mary White, a nurse practitioner at Naval Branch Health Clinic (NBHC) Mayport’s Pediatrics clinic, examines a child experiencing cold symptoms. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 9, 2019) Ensign Pauline Gachalian hands a newborn boy to his mother, Petty Officer 2nd Class Emily Smith, at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Maternal Infant Unit. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jacob Sippel/Released)

SAN FRANCISCO (Oct. 3, 2018) Lt. Allison Christ, left, an intensive care unit registered nurse at Naval Medical Center Balboa in San Diego, and Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Brittanie Haring right,, a native of Massillon, Ohio, place a chest tube in a simulated patient using augmented reality glasses as part of a tele-medical training exercise. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2018) Ensign Michelle Araya, a registered nurse, checks on Cpl. Nicholas Digregorio and his wife as they hold their newborn twin girls at Naval Hospital Jacksonville. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (April 17, 2018) Lt. Amy Moore, a Navy reserve nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Multi-Service Unit, readies an IV for use. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (March 29, 2018) Lt. j.g. Wesley Limberg, a registered nurse at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Labor and Delivery unit, asks Carolina Wilson questions about her pregnancy. (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel/Released)

PACIFIC OCEAN (April 23, 2018) Nurses assigned to the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) give reports on incoming patients during a mass casualty drill. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kelsey L. Adams/Released)


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National Nurses Week

Rating Modernization: Advancement Process

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By Rear Adm. John Nowell

Rating Modernization is the future of the growing workforce in the Navy. In August we released NAVADMIN 196/18 which provided an update on those four lines of effort and this is the fourth of a total of five blog posts that will talk about the updates to Rating Modernization. We also have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that mirror the blogs we will be sharing with you.

In 2017 we gave commands the ability to reinstate an E3 Sailor to E4 who had been awarded NJP, after a six month waiting period. We also eliminated E4 advancement exams for 20 ratings where Sailors auto-advance, which helps to reduce administrative burden.


BELL GARDENS, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2019) Reserve component Sailors assigned to Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Los Angeles take advancement exams in the drill hall at NOSC Los Angeles.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Pyoung K. Yi/Released)

Then, late in 2017, Navy senior enlisted leaders completed the first phase of the Advancement Exam Readiness Review (AERR) testing bank improvement plan by drafting advancement exam questions that match current and relevant rating-specific technical requirements with the hands-on, real-world knowledge and experience needed in the fleet.

The establishment of the Professional Military Knowledge Eligibility Exam (PMK-EE) focuses the Navy Wide Advancement Exam (NWAE) on occupational knowledge and will serve as an eligibility requirement for advancement to pay grades E4/5/6/7. PMK-EE is delivered electronically and is available via the MyNavyPortal (MNP) website.


PEARL HARBOR (Jan. 16, 2019) Sailors review promotional materials for the MyNavy Career Development Symposium at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Riggs/Released)

The online Enlisted Advancement Worksheet (EAW), will automate the manual advancement processes and enable Sailors to review their worksheets before the exam and take charge of their advancement records. An EAW pilot, is available through the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), for the Active Duty and Reserve spring 2019 advancement cycles.

The Senior Enlisted Advancement to Vacancy (A2V) pilot was announced in June and will fill senior chief petty officer and master chief petty officer priority billets using a spot advancement incentive, and will lead enlisted advancement modernization for exceptional Sailors in all pay grades with critical NECs in the future.

Don’t forget to check out our podcasts! We have a series of six Rating Modernization podcasts that accompany this blog series.

Editor’s note: Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward and retain the force of tomorrow. It consists of approximately 45 living, breathing initiatives and is built on a framework of three pillars – a modern personnel system, a career learning continuum and career readiness.


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Rating Modernization: Advancement Process

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

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

Maintaining Trust of Our Sailors and Families Residing in Public Private Venture and Government Housing

Image Housing1-1024x531.jpg

From Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

Trust and confidence are the foundational bedrock upon which effective command rests. These principles are directly tied to our mission; if we lose the trust of our Sailors, Marines and their families, if they are disconnected or distracted, the entire team suffers. The Sailors and Marines in our care must be confident that when they bring a problem to their chain of command – preferably to their division officer and their division chief – their command leadership will advocate tirelessly on their behalf.

We are facing an urgent issue affecting not only the trust and confidence of our Sailors and their families, but also their health, safety and well-being. As we have discovered, in some cases the condition of our government and public private venture family housing aboard our installations is not where it should be. Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families. To that end, we are prioritizing efforts to better understand our Sailors’ living conditions in on-base government family and PPV housing, to ensure that as residents, they are provided with the quality of life they have earned and deserve.Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families.

What went wrong? The government role in the privatized partnership arrangement has become too passive, leaving the day-to-day operation of the housing program to the residents and the private partners. We need to re-engage, especially at the command level, to advocate for our Sailors. CNIC, with support from OPNAV and NAVFAC, is on the job, already engaged in actions that will increase oversight of the partners, introduce improved quality assurance of the housing operations, follow-up on issues, add feedback mechanisms after trouble calls are closed out, focus on improved customer service, and begin a robust series of resident engagements ranging from email and social media outreach, town halls, and home visits by invitation. These efforts will be supplemented by command action on behalf of our Sailors and their families: 100 percent contact with all of your Sailors to invite them to specifically share their housing situation, experiences and unresolved issues. They may choose to decline these conversations, and they must not be pushed or pressured. During these conversations, for those in PPV or government housing, commands will offer to visit their residence if they desire. But visit or not, 100 percent of PPV residents will be engaged by their chain of command to ensure we understand their situation.

No later than April 15, 2019, every Sailor residing in PPV or government housing will be afforded an opportunity for a visit from their command at their residence. The purpose of these visits is threefold:

  • to raise our Navy awareness of family living conditions
  • to personally observe any issues affecting the home and to understand any actions being taken to address them
  • if a problem is found, to help your Sailor and their family get the problem resolved. In short, the purpose of the visit is to be their advocate.

This is not an inspection program; visits are to be strictly voluntary, by invitation only, and executed in accordance with the process set forth below.

Every Sailor with a PPV or government residence will be personally asked by their division officer if they would like to schedule a time for a visit from leaders in their command, ideally their division chief and division officer, to put eyes on any problems that the Sailor and their family are experiencing. It will be made clear to the Sailor that allowing the visit is purely voluntary and there will be no negative ramifications should either the Sailor or the Sailor’s family member decline a visit. Sailors and families will have an opportunity to ask any questions about the visit. If Sailors and families agree to a visit, a two-person team, ideally the Sailor’s division officer and division chief, will conduct the home visit. During the visit, command leadership will discuss how any problems are being resolved. The discussion should include the Sailor and all other adult family members living in the residence, provided the family member desires to participate.

For officers in PPV or government housing desiring a visit, use a similar approach, with at least one of the visiting team being senior to that of the officer whose residence will be visited (e.g., the respective department head for a division officer).

Finally, the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed, using existing procedures. If the Sailor declines a visit, the division officer will offer to discuss any housing issues with the Sailor or their family members by phone. In taking these steps, we will enhance understanding between the command and each Sailor and their family.

... the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed ...

Each team will consist of officers and/or chief petty officers only. In general, the most appropriate approach will be visits conducted by division officers and divisional leading chief petty officers. The uniform for the visit will be determined by the unit commanding officer. A minimum of one day prior to the scheduled visit, the senior member of the visit team will call or meet with the Sailor (or adult family member, if deployed) to be visited in order to confirm the time and date of the home visit.

At the beginning of the visit, the purpose of the visit will be explained to both Sailor and family and any datasheet used to record the information gathered during the visit will be shown to both. It is important to note that these visits are not inspections; they are by invitation of the residents and specifically intended to allow residents to raise concerns. The Sailor and family may end the visit at any time and for any reason. If at any time during the visit, the team believes that the visit is unfolding in an unhelpful way, the team leader will end the visit and report back to the unit commander. Before departing the residence, the visit team will offer to address any issues raised during the visit and to commit to following up on the issue with the Sailor. For instances where a Sailor reveals issues in PPV or government housing but declines a visit, the command will assist the Sailor by contacting the installation commanding officer, executive officer, command master chief and housing director

Special considerations:

  • Be sensitive to privacy concerns. There may be Sailors and families who will feel a visit to their home is a violation of their privacy. We must respect this view. The goals and methods of home visitation must be presented in a positive manner to ensure families understand that the visits have been designed exclusively to ensure their health and safety and to promote their quality of life. Visits will only proceed with the informed consent of the Sailor (or adult family member living in the residence, if the Sailor is deployed). All commands will take measures to ensure that we build trust through this process.
  • There cannot be even the hint of retaliation or retribution. It should be the goal of every command that their Sailors bring these and other issues to their command leadership for resolution. Leadership, especially small unit leadership, should be eager to resolve these problems on behalf of their Sailors. These are often sensitive issues, often emotional, and each of us needs to adopt an attitude of seeking to understand and fix problems through frank and helpful conversations.
  • Leaders shall not attempt to be property managers, personal finance counselors or admin specialists. They need to stand side-by-side with the Sailor while engaging with the base CO and base housing office through existing processes if issues are raised.
  • For instances where a Sailor discloses issues with a private landlord not in PPV housing, you can help here too. Often, the best move is to direct the Sailor to meet with the local Region Legal Service Office who have legal assistance attorneys trained and experienced in local landlord-tenant law.

Unit commanders shall prepare implementation guidance required for visit teams from their command. Prior to beginning command visits, the cognizant staff judge advocate and/or offices of general counsel attorney shall be consulted.

No actions taken in support of this NAVADMIN shall replace business agreement manager responsibilities with regard to the ongoing execution of PPV operating agreements. Specifically, visit teams and commands shall not engage with PPV partners directly to ensure discrepancies are corrected. All necessary corrective actions shall be referred to installation commanders for action in accordance with existing approved procedures.

ISICs and TYCOMs shall ensure 100 percent of families of deployed commands are contacted and offered a visit. In all cases, visits shall be conducted no later than April 15.

Visits of residences aboard Army, Air Force and Marine Corps installations shall be recorded and issues referred from unit commanders to the respective host installation and passed as information to the appropriate regional commander area of responsibility.

CNIC and regional commands shall be available if requested to provide advice to installations and tenant commands on Family Housing policy, and associated legal concerns through April 15.

All home visitation records will be submitted to the designated representative of the unit commander, ISIC or TYCOM as appropriate.

Observations taken are not considered records for purposes of the Privacy Act, nor will the observations be made part of a system of records. However, all home visitation records will be handled and secured as if those records were personally identifiable information to protect the privacy of visited families.

All home visitation records will be destroyed no later than one year after the date of the home visit.

Observations recorded will not be used for the completion of evaluations and fitness reports.

CNIC is responsible for providing additional guidance and answering questions from commands in response to this NAVADMIN. Unit commanders shall address questions through host installations to the local regional commander prior to elevating issues and concerns to CNIC.

Unit commanders shall notify their chain of command when all Sailor-families have been contacted and when all visits are complete. Echelon Two commanders shall notify CNIC when 100 percent contact is achieved and when visits are complete. The master database for all PPV issues brought to leadership attention resides at the base housing office level, hence the importance of all issues being provided to the installation command and housing office team for tracking and resolution....it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families.

I realize this is an intrusive “ask” for a lot of folks who are already doing a lot of important work. However, it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families. Let’s get to it.

Editor’s note: This blog was adapted from NAVADMIN 043/19 that was released Feb. 23, 2019.


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Maintaining Trust of Our Sailors and Families Residing in Public Private Venture and Government Housing