MCPON letter to the enlisted force: Focus on building winning teams

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy
Russell L. Smith

The world stage is a very dynamic and challenging one, with many nations maturing their ability to efficiently operate in the maritime environment. The evolution of technology and our Navy’s growth in this new “great powers” era demand that our Navy apply resources in a far more refined and complex manner. As our Navy’s storied legacy continues, the Navy the nation needs will demand more from us. We must become stronger, run faster and effectively build teams to compete and win in high-end warfare at sea.

Institutional loyalty — “ship, shipmate, self” — as well as organizational transparency and clear messaging will continue to be a priority, as well as dignity and respect between all of our teammates. Understanding the solemn privilege we have as stewards of the public trust will be emphasized. Austerity and humility are necessary attributes to embrace as we carefully manage the resources the American public has entrusted to us.

Every Navy leader aspires to leave behind a better and more prepared Navy than the one they found when they arrived, and I am no different. The principal concern of the Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy remains first and foremost to serve as a determined advocate on behalf of our enlisted force, as well as to find ways to leverage our 3,000 master chiefs in leading 31,000 chief petty officers to build winning teams in preparation for the future fight. Together we must set a blistering pace above, on and below the sea, projecting strength so profoundly that we give pause to anyone who would dare challenge us.

Four great strengths of the Mess are technical competence, innovative thinking, communication and networking. These skills give us the ability to be a force multiplier in both peace and war, enabling us to solve the greatest challenges by connecting our Navy horizontally. Known for using deckplate skills and experience to innovate and get results, the Mess will be absolutely essential to finding new and better ways to build muscle memory that develops toughness, which will lead to true combat readiness.

We must keep Sailors from getting sidetracked or distracted, keeping them instead laser-focused on combat at sea against a determined enemy. To that end, we are engaged in delivering tools to the fleet, to render greater efficiencies in both personnel management and how we educate and train our Sailors. Those efforts will return time and opportunity to the deckplates, allowing leaders to focus on tactical skills and warfighting readiness.

Throughout our history, our greatest advantage has never been our machinery – rather, it has been the courage of the American Sailor facing adversity around the world. Perseverance, fortitude and spirit of service that each and every one of you brings to the fight will give us the decisive edge in the fight to come.

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Category: Commentary