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CNO: Focus on boosting fleet's 'quality of service'

Jan. 14, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Surface Navy MWM 20140114
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert addresses the Surface Navy Association symposium Jan. 14 at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, Va. (Mike Morones / Staff)
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Your leaders are determined to make the fleet a better place to live and work this year.

As fleet officials work toward a more predictable deployment plan, the Navy’s top officer said Tuesday his focus is on improving sailors’ “quality of service,” a wide-ranging category that includes everything from the condition of a sailor’s workplace to whether they like their job.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jon Greenert said the Navy has made significant strides in better pay, housing and family support in the past decade — but that it’s time to focus on improving sailors’ jobs, too.

“When they walk across the road and they’re on the pier and they go on board the ship, what’s the work environment like?” Greenert said in his keynote address Tuesday before the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium outside Washington, D.C. “What’s the quality of their work? Is the pier broken down? The ship rusty? Do they have good needle guns, if they have to do that? Do they have a proper supervisor? Has that supervisor been trained? Do they have manning gaps? Do they tools? Can they do [preventative maintenance]?”

“It’s the quality of the work that I’m not comfortable with, and I think we’ve kind of slipped in that regard,” Greenert continued. “We’ll be talking and working on this in the future.”

The fleet’s top boss, Adm. Bill Gortney, is set to unveil a new deployment model Wednesday. Greenert said he would leave the details to Gortney, but said the intent is to fix a system that has led to longer and occasionally erratic deployments, which observers and some insiders have said is out-of-whack. The new plan is designed to be more predictable, Greenert said, adding that this may come with sweeter incentives to get sailors to fill open billets, a topic of discussion in the conference’s opening speech.

“This plan is designed to give us predictability, to give us a cycle that is broad enough and, if you will, broken down enough to have the time to do the maintenance, to do the training,” Greenert said. “We’ve got to man up to do that. We’ve got to make sea duty a centerpiece of that. So we’ll look at sea pay in that regard. We’ll look at sea pay premium. We’ll look at who goes to sea the most and are they compensated right.”

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