WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Scott R. Van Buskirk visited Tinker Air Force Base, Sept. 5, to conduct an all hands calls with Navy leaders and Sailors stationed with Strategic Communications Wing One.
The visit is part of an effort to inform Sailors fleet-wide of key personnel policies, including force management initiatives, efforts to improve sea duty manning, and 21st Century Sailor and Marine programs.
Nearly 1,200 Sailors are assigned to Strategic Communications Wing One at Tinker AFB. The wing provides operational control and administrative support for Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadrons Three, Four, Seven and various training units. These squadrons enable the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense to directly contact submarines, bombers and missile silos protecting national security through nuclear deterrence.
"Our Navy has never been more relevant and in demand. As America's Away team, we are meeting our requirements globally," said Van Buskirk. "It is not just our Sailors out at sea accomplishing this. The jobs our Sailors perform at Tinker are very important not only to our Navy but to our national security. I know that what we do in D.C., directly affects their readiness to perform that mission.
"In a time of enormous change in the Navy, which includes a new budget, a new national defense strategy and some of the manning decisions we have had to make in the last few years, we need to continue to keep our Sailors informed," continued Van Buskirk. "My goal today is to get a pulse and a sight picture from our Sailors at Tinker, to hear directly what issues are important to them and learn how we can best ensure they're ready to meet the mission."
During the all hands call, Van Buskirk emphasized the importance of ensuring the fleet is correctly manned to meet the mission, with skilled, experienced Sailors distributed in critical billets, both ashore and at sea.
"Force management is about the right mix of skills and experience for the many different jobs the Navy needs Sailors in," said Van Buskirk. "Our Sailors must be deployable, assignable, and distributable. Getting Navy manpower to the right level to man the fleet is not just about getting the overall numbers of Sailors in the Navy right - we need Sailors with the right experience and right skills in the jobs where we need them most."
According to Van Buskirk, Sailors should take a proactive approach with the many voluntary initiatives Navy has in place to improve sea duty manning, such as recent changes to Career Management System/Interactive Detailing, the Navy's detailing system; sea duty incentive pay, and the Voluntary Sea Duty program.
"We want to give Sailors the choice and chance to have a say in their careers whenever possible," said Van Buskirk. "These voluntary programs allow our Sailors to shape their careers, gain additional experience at sea, and potentially benefit financially. Our Sailors need to take a look at these programs and the available billets, and when they come across a job they are a good candidate for, they should consider volunteering for it."
Van Buskirk also emphasized the importance of the Sailor readiness and resiliency programs under the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, including warrior care, preventing the use of synthetic compounds, and sexual assault prevention and response.
"The 21st Century Sailor initiative is important to our entire fleet, because it captures all these critical programs under one umbrella ensuring top-level attention and priority resourcing of the programs," said Van Buskirk. "We ask a lot of our Sailors - and this initiative puts Sailor and family readiness high on the list so they can continue to meet the call."
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