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Command leadership met with service members and civilian staff during four All Hands Calls held at Naval Support Activity Bethesda (NSAB) last week.

“I look forward to these opportunities to talk and hear from you,” said NSAB Commanding Officer Frederick (Fritz) Kass. “We try to disseminate information out to you as quickly as possible and as soon as we can.”

The final of the All Hands Calls, held at the Warrior Café March 16, covered topics ranging from command climate and parking to a future change of command at the installation. But, Kass began the discussion with the subject that he said is currently on everyone’s mind – sequestration.

“We need to plan for the possibility that we may have some staff not reporting to work one day a week,” he said. “I am cautiously optimistic that Congress will work this out before this affects us, but if it should come here, we will scale our services appropriately. The bottom line is, we are going to see some changes, but I think most of them will be small obstacles to overcome.”

Other upcoming events mentioned during the meeting included a scheduled visit from the Navy Inspector General in May and an online command climate survey.

“It’s your chance to tell us what we are doing well, what we are doing not so well, and how we can improve,” said Kass. “I want this to be a great place to work for everyone.”

Peer accountability is an effective way to influence the climate around you, and can come from any rank or pay grade, he added.

“Peer involvement and encouragement makes a huge difference and is really valuable,” he said. “You don’t have to be in a position of leadership to influence people around you.”

Master-at-Arms Seaman Amanda Putnam of NSAB’s Security Department attended the All Hands Call on March 15 and said it was reassuring to hear directly from the commanding officer.

“I know many civilians are worried that the furlough may happen to them, so I think this Commander’s Call took a lot of worry off many people’s shoulders,” said Putnam.

One thing she learned from the open discussion was that the Navy’s tuition assistance (TA) program is currently still in place, despite the other military branches suspending their own TA programs. It was nice to hear that directly from the installation commander, she said.

“I hear many messages from my leadership every day, but it’s not every day we get the privilege to get to hear the Commanding Officer,” said Putnam.

Kass wrapped up the meeting by expressing how the command is making a difference in many people’s lives each day.

“The mission that this installation does, I think is terrifically important: we help people heal and maintain their health. We’re supporting people who carry that out every day. What you do matters, and is very important to me, and I recognize that day in and day out, you do it very well.”