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Here’s How the Navy’s “Culture of Excellence” will Move Forward

17 December 2020

From MC1 Mark D. Faram, Chief of Naval Personnel Public Affairs

“Our goal in this effort is to develop an environment in which all Sailors are trained and motivated to navigate life events effectively.”

The Navy has announced the next course and bearing on its journey to move the service from an ages-old culture of compliance to one rooted in excellence.   

Announced in NAVADMIN 318/20, released on Dec. 10 by Vice Adm. John B. Nowell, Jr., the Navy’s chief of personnel, mandated all commands develop a “Cultural Champion Network” or CCN, needed to drive the Navy successfully through this cultural rudder shift.

It’s the latest milestone in the Navy’s year and half-old move to grow a “Culture of Excellence,” or COE, necessary to take the service to the next level in warfighting performance.
“Our goal in this effort is to develop an environment in which all Sailors are trained and motivated to navigate life events effectively,” Nowell wrote in the message. “In order to achieve this goal, this NAVADMIN introduces the term “Cultural Champion,” and the concept of the CCN.” 

Also, the message announced efforts to ensure Sailors can identify and “assist their Shipmates through periods of stress or difficulty while also being attentive to their personal well-being.”

At the core of this culture shift, and the efforts to achieve it, is the education on and promotion of what is called “Signature Behaviors.” Navy leaders say these are common sense practices that become the default focus for successful leaders in today’s Navy.  

In early 2020, the Navy identified 10 different signature behaviors they believe need to become second nature in the fleet. A discussion of those behaviors and how they dovetail with the Navy’s core values can is available at   

What Nowell wants is a deckplate-driven, “positive focus” on demonstrating these Signature Behaviors so everyone on the team, military and civilian alike, feels “included, respected 
and empowered.” He’s set an initial deadline of Mar. 1 for commands to complete establishing their own CCN and related support efforts.

The CCN, Nowell wrote, is designed as “an inter-disciplinary network, maintained by each command’s triad,” that develops an “integrated Sailor support system” that is “supported by leaders, partners, processes and products.”

At each command, the CCN must:

*Allow leaders to “connect the dots” on issues impacting a Sailor’s overall psychological, spiritual, physical and emotional fitness.

*Identify all necessary resources needed to ensure resilience while also fostering toughness and connectedness.

*Improve current operating procedures for Sailor support systems across their command.

*Drive each command towards unit mission readiness and a stronger foundation for the future by promoting positive behaviors and healthy norms.

Triads should rely heavily on their existing Command Resilience Teams, known as CRT’s. The message mandates that every member of a command CRT must complete the Basic Primary Prevention and Human Factors Process (HFP) online training available.

In addition, Command Resilience Team Human Factors Council mandatory members must also complete the Intermediate Primary Prevention and HFP online training. Details on where to find the training and how to register are available in NAVADMIN 318/20. 
Many commands, Nowell wrote, already have “similar processes” in place “that meet the goals and 
intent identified herein,” and doesn’t want anyone reinventing the wheel to comply with the mandates in the message.  

“Commands already utilizing these existing non-punitive processes are encouraged to continue to do so and leverage the tools enhance functions,” he wrote. 

He’s also reworking his own 21ST Century Sailor Office to incorporate CCN requirements across their own programs and policies in support of this and other COE initiatives.

He’s also promised accountability as “command inspections to ensure all commands execute the requirements of this NAVADMIN will be conducted by Command Climate Specialists and the Navy Inspector General.

But those inspections aren’t just a compliance tool, Nowell wrote as he wants them to also find “Fleet best-practices,” too. Already in the works and slated to be released in the coming year is a Navy instruction that will identify many of these best practices for executing” command resilience teams. 

More information on the Navy’s Culture of Excellence efforts can be found at the Navy Personnel Command website via My Navy Portal at Click on the 21ST Century Sailor tab, then Culture of Excellence.

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