NEW ORLEANS (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert discussed the history and future of Navy diversity during the 2012 National Naval Officers Association (NNOA) Professional Development and Training Conference Navy Day Luncheon in New Orleans July 26.
In his remarks to the nearly 400 attendees, Greenert explained current Navy diversity efforts and the important role inclusion plays in ensuring the successful future of the Navy.
"Diversity makes us a better Navy. Those (organizations) that are more diverse, out perform those that are not. It's been proven again and again," said Greenert.
Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Anthony Barnes, president of NNOA agrees with Greenert.
"Diversity is defined in terms of more than just race and gender," Barnes said. "It's the diversity of thought you get from people who didn't grow up in the area you grew up in, weren't educated the way you were educated."
Greenert gave the example of his experience with Lt. Cmdr. Wesley Brown, the first African American graduate of the Naval Academy.
"He would tell you he did nothing special, but he opened doors for future generations," Greenert said. "He brought new talents, perspectives and enthusiasm to the Navy. Wesley Brown exemplifies the importance of diversity to us."
Greenert also offered his views on the importance of mentoring in securing future fleet success and the critical role affinity organizations like NNOA contribute to Navy diversity outreach efforts.
"Diversity organizations bring us access so we can reach out and talk to people who may want to make the Navy a career," Greenert said. "They also help us bring alignment to ourselves and bring diversity into our human resources psyche and make it second nature on bringing people in."
"This is one of the few forums where you can come and understand the mission and what diversity brings to the table," Barnes said.
The 2012 conference theme, "NNOA: Celebrating 40 Years of Service, Enhancing Diversity in the Sea Service" commemorates the 40th anniversary of the NNOA, which is the largest African American officer affinity group that fosters the advancement and recognition of minority officers in the uniformed sea services.
The conference kicked off in New Orleans July 23 and features five days of educational and training development sessions, mentoring opportunities and senior service leadership presentations.
Established in 1972, NNOA is an organization composed of active duty, reserve and retired officers, academies, midshipmen and cadets and interested civilians. NNOA has members of all officer ranks.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel- Office of Diversity and Inclusion, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnp-diversity/.