By Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific
What are your New Year’s resolutions? Like me, I’m sure good health, safety, security and family prosperity are at the top of your list.
Let’s consider some more resolutions we can work on together in 2016. How about: demonstrating pride, improving readiness and owning our warrior ethos—we can achieve these goals by knowing what “right” and “excellence” look like and by doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.
The vast majority of our workforce does this already, which is why we are seeing both numbers of serious incidents decrease and some readiness trends rising. But there is still room for improvement.
CNO Adm. John Richardson issued “A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority” strategy with four key attributes and values he expects of us:
• Integrity: Our behaviors as individuals and as an organization align with our values as a profession. We actively strengthen each other’s resolve to act consistently with our values. As individuals, as teams, and as a Navy, our conduct must always be upright and honorable both in public and when nobody’s looking.
• Accountability: We are a mission-focused force. We achieve and maintain high standards. Our actions support our strategy. We clearly define the problem we’re trying to solve and the proposed outcomes. In execution, we honestly assess our progress and adjust as required—we are our own toughest critic.
• Initiative: On their own, everybody strives to be the best they can be —we give 100% when on the job. Our leaders take ownership and act to the limit of their authorities. We foster a questioning attitude and look at new ideas with an open mind. Our most junior team-mate may have the best idea; we must be open to capturing that idea.
• Toughness: We can take a hit and keep going, tapping all sources of strength and resilience: rigorous training for operations and combat, the fighting spirit of our people, and the steadfast support of our families. We don’t give up the ship.
You’ll be hearing more about the CNO’s Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority in the months ahead. I encourage everyone to read it here. As the CNO says, “We are one Navy Team—comprised of a diverse mix of active duty and reserve Sailors, Navy Civilians, and our families—with a history of service, sacrifice and success. We will build on this history to create a climate of operational excellence that will keep us ready to prevail in all future challenges.”
Adm. Michelle Howard, Vice Chief of Naval Operations, writes about this on her NavyLive blogpost, #HonorOnline campaign. She challenges us to practice bystander intervention, not only in person, but also online: “When you see something wrong, do something right.”
We can prevent a vast number of problems from happening—or escalating—if we remember to apply our Core Values of honor, courage and commitment. This is true whether on or off duty, whether the issue is small or large.
For example, here are some “what right looks like” questions to ask: Why do we see people walk past each other on base without offering a greeting? Why aren’t we surprised when we see someone walk past litter without picking it up near their home or work-place? What more can we do to prevent preventable incidents like drinking and driving, sexual assaults or domestic violence?
These may seem to be unrelated, but think about it: when we acknowledge one another as part of a greater ohana and when we value our shared environment, it’s easier to become a concerned and engaged bystander.
One career-ending mistake in personal judgment is one too many. The simple fact is, we can prevent most of these mistakes, we can break the error chain, especially if someone “sees something wrong and does something right.”
Vice Adm. Bill Moran, Chief of Naval Personnel, speaks about the importance of responsibility and accountability. I’m paraphrasing, but he likes to say we are not a club; we are a profession. As professionals, we need to understand how our actions impact our other team members.
Vice Adm. Moran returns to Pearl Harbor this week and will conduct more All Hands Calls. We are grateful for all he does on behalf of Sailors and their families. He’s helping us communicate up, down and across our enterprise.
In conclusion, I’d like to see a professional commitment to excellence that starts off as a 2016 New Year’s resolution; treat each other with dignity and respect, greet people sincerely and proudly and take an extra moment in time to observe and then take positive action to improve the environment around you—even if you start with the little things. Realize we are working together for a noble cause: to defend our country, our ideals and our loved ones.
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens reminds us, “Taking the oath to protect our Nation and fellow citizens through military service is one of the most rewarding experiences anyone can have.”
Let’s resolve to do our best to have a healthy, safe, secure and prosperous year together as the next step towards a better future. Thanks for looking out for each other— shipmates, wingmen, veterans, DoD civilians and military families. Happy New Year!