By Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific
People are the key to success for any organization. Not money or machines. People.
The Secretary of the Navy announced last week that the U.S. Navy will triple maternity leave from six to 18 weeks. This helps Navy families, and we believe it will also help improve retention of female Sailors.
News outlets reported the story, and at least one noted how the military is on the cutting edge of quality-of-life improvements for its people, citing outstanding child development centers as an example.
Like many of you, I have seen leadership’s commitments turn into tangible improvements in our Sailors’ quality of life aboard ships, in barracks, in family housing, in the exchanges, and in educational opportunities.
This week’s transition summit demonstrated the strong commitment by the president and Congress to improve services to our veterans. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald and Secretary of Labor Tom Perez held meetings with Air Force/Navy teams at Joint Base and with other services this week— roundtable discussions, working lunches and keynote events with employers and leaders in government and the community.
Transition summits here in Hawaii are important when we consider our relative remoteness from prospective employers on the mainland.
Our business partners recognize that our military team has a special set of skills, talents and abilities.
Men and women in uniform are disciplined, diversified and digitally oriented, with an international focus.
They are experienced in STEM—science, technology, engineering and math. Unfazed by hard work and difficult demands, they are skilled at networking, being innovative and remaining flexible.
And by the way—make no doubt—so are our families!
We are grateful to Secretary Perez and Secretary McDonald and their teams, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the many prospective employers who offered assistance to our veterans and those in transition.
Thank you to everyone who coordinated and participated in the transition events in Hawaii. And, thank you to everyone who works at our installations and leans forward to serve our people. Our Sailors, civilians and families are the critical enablers and our greatest advantage to achieve our mission if we prepare them.
For anyone who missed the opportunity to attend the transition summits and who qualifies for assistance, I urge you to work with your career counselors, command ombudsmen and the Military and Family Support Center.