US Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke to sea service officers at the 42nd National Naval Officer Association (NNOA) Professional Development and Training Conference held in Quantico, Va., July 10.
During Greenert’s remarks he highlighted how Sailors underwrite what the Navy does, an update on how he sees diversity in the different communities and leadership advice.
This is Greenert’s third year addressing NNOA, an organization which promotes diversity within the Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. The conference includes educational and professional development workshops, designed to enhance the professional awareness of attendees on recruitment, mentorship and other issues affecting the sea service. Greenert spoke twice during the conference, first to a joint session and then after lunch to a Navy specific group.
“We want to nurture people, to join and stay, which are two very different goals,” said Greenert. “We’ve got to have role models, like Adm. Michelle Howard.”
The first female four star admiral, Adm. Michelle Howard assumed office as Greenert’s Vice Chief of Naval Operations last week. Greenert has long been an advocate of diversity in the Navy. During his tenure as CNO there have been radical changes to the opportunities for women.
Speaking about diversity across the Navy, Greenert said the overall numbers are good but the Navy should not declare victory. He highlighted how well the different occupational communities are doing and also provided statistics to back up progress.
“We’re making progress but can do better to bring forward a diverse officer corps that can lead and develop a diverse Navy,” said Greenert.
Greenert also highlighted that progress was uneven across the different communities.
“We must ensure there are no barriers to career progress,” said Greenert. “Communities must continuously assess themselves.”
Despite all the recent progress in promoting diversity and inclusion, Greenert says there is work yet to do.
“It is our goal that every ship, work center, community and rank is representative of our nation’s diversity,” said Greenert. It is an incredibly powerful and strategic message we send to the international community when we represent ourselves as a diverse force, said Greenert.
Following the joint session, Greenert took questions and engaged in a dialogue with Navy personnel attending the conference at an All Hands Call. The discussion touched on ethics, leadership, command climate and fitness.
“We all play a role in command climate – It sets a sense of being,” said Greenert to the officers in attendance. Leadership is defining your group’s sense of reality, he said. “Be pragmatic and optimistic and your attitude will be infectious.”
Press Release, July 11, 2014; Image: US Navy