By April Beldo
Fleet Master Chief for Manning, Personnel, Training and Education
As the Chief of Naval Personnel and I travel around the fleet, a frequent question we receive is how chapters of the Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions (CSADD) can become self-sufficient.
CSADD chapters have been doing an outstanding job since their inception in 2008, particularly in helping young Sailors on their first enlistment find positive ways to enjoy their Navy life while avoiding the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Today there are more than 350 chapters organizing movie nights, liberty trips and other alternatives to help Sailors help one another make smart decisions.
However, as an official command organization, there are legal limits on what they can do to raise funds or purchase promotional items.
I consulted widely with the CSADD chapters, Leadership Mess and the Board of Advisors where I found a consensus in favor of canceling the instruction that currently governs CSADD as an official command program.
Canceling the instruction (OPNAVINST 1500.80) does not in any way mean a lessening of the Navy’s support for the goals and good work of CSADD. To be clear, CSADD IS NOT GOING AWAY. Chapters will now be able to purchase promotional items, such as t-shirts, coins and key chains, to help become more visible in their commands, and recruit more members. Resources such as Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR), Liberty Centers, Safety Center and Fleet and Family Support Centers will continue to be available to the chapters for requested support.
OPNAV will no longer be the governing authority of the CSADD Program, though I and other Fleet and Force Master Chiefs will remain in the mentor role. Commanding officers along with their command master chiefs will now have the ability to set the course for their independent chapters. All official websites, NAVADMINs, required training and reading and reporting criteria via the regional commanders will dissolve as of Oct. 1, 2014. The official CSADD Facebook page will continue to be managed by MPT&E FLTCM.
Turning CSADD into a Non-Federal Entity (NFE) also has the benefit of reducing administrative burdens from commands and commanding officers. There will now be one fewer program that has to be audited at each change of command, and participants in this program will be 100% voluntary as they receive no funding from the Navy. This valuable program may have needed support at its inception, but it is more than strong enough to stand on its own two feet now.
The challenge I am putting on command triads is to continue to build on what is already an outstanding program. CSADD is one of the most important Sailor programs we have in the fleet, and that is why I am empowering the triads to unleash the creativity that may have been handcuffed by the restrictions of an official instruction. This is aligned with the Chief of Naval Personnel’s theme of giving commands more authority to do what they do best, “Lead their Sailors.” This major shift in the program requires our continued support to our chapters. Top-down leadership support and encouragement can provide the tipping point that the program needs to recruit targeted Sailors.
I look forward to seeing how CSADDs use this greater freedom to increase the size and impact of the program going forward.