WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The top admiral and top enlisted man in the Navy released another installment Dec. 19 of the internet video series, “Conversation with a Shipmate.”
Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Mike DiMestico interviewed Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75).
The leaders recently visited the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group that is currently supporting maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet Area of Responsibility.
With USS Gettysburg (CG 64) alongside the carrier, Greenert and Stevens answered questions that are hot topics among Sailors in the fleets. The three discussed a wide berth of issues: deployment lengths, budget cuts to uniform updates and advancement exam changes.
DiMestico used CNO’s recently released Position Report as a starting point for the interview, questioning what 2014 holds for the Navy.
“We’ve heard you loud and clear when you’ve said presence is out mandate,” said DiMestico. “What is the key in 2014 in maintaining that global presence?”
Greenert said the key will be to have rotational forces forward from the east and west coasts; and then he went on to emphasis another important element, ‘places.’ Greenert explained that non-rotational forces will play a much larger role in the future. In Rota, Spain there will be four destroyers by 2016. Singapore will have four littoral combat ships operating forward out of Singapore. The Navy will also cotinine to develop forward deployed naval forces in Japan as well as the Darwin option, where the Australian government will host marines to be forward deployed.
Greenert said, “These non-rotational places are really the key to getting the most out of forward deployed forces.”
The conversation pivoted to the effects of sequestration on deployment lengths.
“After these next three carrier deployments that will take us through 2014 to 2015 we’ll probably migrate to about eight months for our carriers for OPTEMPO length,” said Greenert. Amphibious ready groups will be about seven and a half months, and submarines about six-month deployment lengths, he added.
“We’ll be stabilized in a few years,” Greenert said. “But it will take those few years to get through this of impact of sequestration.”
MCPON spoke on how increasing deployment lengths have affected Sailors and their families.
“Our Sailors and their families never cease to amaze us,” said Stevens, citing Sailors’ perseverance through increasing deployment lengths.
“We cannot fool ourselves, this has taken a toll on and it will continue to take a toll, this is why we need to take a look on how long and how hard our Sailors are being deployed,” said Stevens.
Later in the interview Greenert discussed compensation and how the Navy will deal with budget issues in the coming years.
He measures quality of service in two parts, quality of life and quality of work. Greenert explained. Quality of life being pay and benefits and quality of work being whether Sailors have adequate training and parts they need.
“Sailors say that where the Navy needs some improvement is in the quality of work,” Greenert said.
The Navy has got to do better in: having right kind of leadership in place, getting rid of gaps at sea, having spare parts and training, having a more predictable schedule, he said. He went on to explain that those needs will have to be balanced with what the Navy spends on compensation.
“We have to balance how we pay our people with what we need to operate,” Greenert said. “We’re in charge of the security of our country, we have to organize, train and equip appropriately in balance in this declining fiscal environment.”
Both MCPON and CNO had messages of gratitude to all Sailors operating forward.
“Thank you to our sailors and their families for the tremendous sacrifice they make in the service of our Navy and our nation,” said Stevens. “We think about them, we care about them and every one of them matters.”
“I’d like to say thank you to all those who are serving,” Greenert said. “These are folks who are getting it done on the front. This carrier strike group is on a nine month deployment, and you wouldn’t know it - these are some of the most motivated people I’ve come across.”