Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited with Sailors and their families during a two-week fleet engagement in Hawaii, Guam, and Japan.
During his trip, MCPON toured numerous commands and met with more than 5,300 Sailors, civilian Sailors, and their families during a series of 19 all-hands calls. MCPON discussed topics such as the proposed DOD budget, pay and compensation, sexual assault prevention, alcohol abuse, and the morale of the Force.
"I am not here to sell you on the proposed DoD budget," Stevens said. "I am here to explain the slowing of growth that may occur if the proposed defense budget gets approved." We have to look at areas that we can slow growth in order to maintain the readiness of the Navy."
MCPON stated some areas that the budget could potentially slow growth would be a five percent reduction in Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates, a raise in the commissary surcharge, and only a one percent raise in Sailors base pay.
"Let me be clear, no one is excited about these proposals," said Stevens. "It's important for me to travel and meet our Sailors and families, so that you can better understand it."
MCPON explained how, regardless of any proposed budgetary changes, Sailors paychecks would be larger next year than they are today. He acknowledged that if the budget proposal is approved, a Sailor's buying power might be slightly less than the previous years due to inflation.
Throughout MCPON's visits with the forward deployed Navy Sailors, he surveyed them about the morale of the Navy. Through a series of hand-raising polls, he asked Sailors if they felt the morale was poor, good, excellent, or outstanding.
"I want you to tell me how you feel about the morale of the Force. Consider your quality of work, quality of life, and your overall quality of service," said Stevens.
During the polls, more than 95 percent of the Sailors considered the morale of the force to be 'good'. MCPON stated that he recognizes there is always room for improvement, but by-and-large, Sailors are satisfied.
Another topic that was on the minds the Sailors was the issue of sexual assault prevention response. Stevens asked Sailors how they felt the Navy is doing in regards to sexual assault prevention.
"During my conversations with our sexual assault coordinators and victim advocates, with the empirical data that they see, they believe the number of sexual assaults is coming down," said Stevens.
While in Japan, MCPON met with the Japanese Master Chief Petty Officer of the Maritime Self Defense Force (MCPOM) Toshiaki Miyamae about topics such as sexual assault, suicide, communication amongst Sailors, and leadership development.
"In my three decades of service, I have never seen the Navy put so much time and effort into an issue as we have done with sexual assault prevention and response," said Stevens. "As I have surveyed our Sailors throughout the fleet, more Sailors say they know how to report incidents and feel as though the Navy will fully investigate each reported case."
Miyamae asked Stevens about the Senior Enlisted Academy.
"As a Navy, we owe our senior chiefs the opportunity to attend the Senior Enlisted Academy in order to continue their professional development," said Stevens. "And soon it will be mandatory for senior chiefs to attend in order to be eligible for promotion."
The two Naval leaders also discussed the possibility of some of their Sailors attending each other's Navy leadership course in the future.
Before departing from his final all-hands call of the trip, MCPON imparted a few words of advice for the Sailors.
"Often I'm asked 'MCPON, what do I need to do to be successful?' I share with them my 'Foundations to Success'. There are three aspects to it and they are one - work hard, two - stay out of trouble, and three - be a good and decent person," Stevens said. "If you can do all three of these things each and every day, I am sure that you will be successful with anything you do."
MCPON concluded his trip by thanking the Sailors and their families for their hard work and dedication to service.
"On behalf of my wife Theresa and I, we want to tell you that we love you and care about each one of you deeply, I mean that from the bottom of my heart. You are all a part of my family. Thank you all for what you do each and every day to make this
This article was originally published at: http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=80760
- PACOM: (posted May 2, 2014) -