NORFOLK (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Personnel addressed Sailors during an all-hands call aboard Naval Station Norfolk, March 18.
Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk took this opportunity to discuss issues affecting Sailors' naval careers, their families and their futures. One of the big-ticket items in the news lately is tuition assistance.
"Ninety percent of Sailors who use TA complete the courses they take and Navy leadership is actively working to keep TA in this tough economy," said Van Buskirk. "They are looking at the structure to allow those Sailors who are eligible to continue to use it."
He also discussed the continued impact Sailors have throughout the fleet from an operational standpoint.
"The missions you are accomplishing are making a difference in the world because you are all tremendous ambassadors," said Van Buskirk. "We have supported deployments on the ground and on ships and are fully engaged in supporting critical missions from the Horn of Africa to Afghanistan to the Western Pacific."
Van Buskirk said his number one priority is to man the fleet by ensuring Sailors are assignable, deployable and distributable.
"In the last year, we have had 90 percent PTS approval and greater than 95 percent in the last four months," said Van Buskirk.
Van Buskirk said the Navy is continuing to make improvements to PTS, which increases Sailors' ability to have a say in their career and improve the ability to distribute Sailors where we need them most.
During a question and answer session, Van Buskirk took questions regarding the Navy's current financial state since enacting sequestration and what the future holds.
"It feels good to know that the Navy leadership hears our concerns and for the CNP to come and let us know that he is on our side and doing everything for Sailors," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class (SW/AW) Darius Branch.
When asked about retirement pay, Van Buskirk said a commission will be stood up to look at retirement pay, but current active duty will be grandfathered into the current retirement pay.
Much of the question and answer session focused on family-related programs, and Van Buskirk assured attendees the Navy is dedicated to helping Sailors and their families.
"Our Navy remains committed to maintaining the funding for our Sailors and family readiness programs as much as possible, and our goal is to have no impact on those programs in the future," said Van Buskirk.
For more news from Chief of Naval Personnel, visit http://www.navy.mil/cnp/index.asp.