The U.S. Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. Bill Moran and Fleet Master Chief April Beldo spoke with Sailors onboard USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) during an All Hands Call, April 23.
During his visit, Vice Adm. Moran discussed USS Fort McHenry’s upcoming homeport shift to Mayport, Fla., efforts to stabilize manning across the force and the importance of rewarding sea duty.
His emphasis centered on giving Sailors more predictability with regard to advancements since the Navy has spent the past 10 years optimizing fleet manning. Now, leaders are shifting focus to provide the right incentives to sustain a properly balanced force.
For example, he explained the number of over-manned and undermanned ratings today, compared to three to five years ago, have been cut in half.
“It’s a big challenge at sea where we have lots of people rotating in and out of crews,” said Moran. “We have to put the right people in the right job at the right time.”
To aid in the effort, beginning in May, Sailors assigned to sea duty billets will receive a 25 percent increase in sea duty pay. In addition, Sailors who have served more than 36 consecutive months at sea will receive an additional premium.
“We’re trying to demonstrate to you that sea duty is important and we ought to pay you appropriately for it,” said Moran. “We haven’t had an increase in sea duty pay in 12 years and that’s why it’s a big bump.”
Another plan still being finalized is an allowance for those who have been deployed for longer periods of time. Under this new plan, Sailors who deploy more than 190 days will be paid an additional monthly allowance for subsequent time.
“It was a great opportunity to address some issues that I had about my rate, said Information Systems Technician 1st Class Tamekia Brookins. “It seems like he is really concerned about our issues and that he cares about the personnel of the fleet and willing to tackle any questions that we have.”
Admiral Moran also addressed the crew’s concerns during a call for questions.
Regarding the future of reenlistment bonuses, Moran said, “It is purely based on the needs of the Navy and the retention behavior in each rate.”
He added that retention rates are currently reviewed annually but a plan is in works to increase the frequency of retention rate reviews to two or three times per year.
“I really appreciated that they [Vice Adm. Moran and Master Chief Beldo] came out to Fort McHenry to address our concerns about the homeport shift to Mayport in the midst of our hectic schedule,” said Religious Program Specialist 1st Class Michael Brewer. “It shows leadership is trying to make the impact on Sailors as easy as possible.”
Fort McHenry is a Harper’s Ferry class landing dock ship (LSD) homeported in Norfolk, Va., and is scheduled to shift its homeport to Mayport this summer. The platform supports a range of military operations from major combat to theater security to humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
Press Release, April 24, 2014; Image: Wikimedia