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Change is the only constant in the universe. When COVID-19 began sweeping across the United States in March, change became the new normal as most people and businesses went into quarantine mode. This drastic change affected everyone's lives, especially those with jobs that seemed to require face-to-face interactions, such as recruiting or the Navy.
Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) took the opportunity to make its own changes, and the transition from Navy Recruiting Districts (NRD) to Navy Talent Acquisition Groups (NTAG) became more urgent.
NRC's urgency led to the organization being on a single operating model by the end of 2020 – far ahead of the original schedule of 2023. NRD San Diego's scheduled transition to NTAG Southwest was launched into warp-speed, and the command was up to the challenge.
The transition became official during a socially-distanced and virtual ceremony Dec. 4 at Naval Base Point Loma, Anti-Submarine Warfare Base, Harbor Drive Annex.
"This time last year, if you would have told me we were transforming, I would have thought you were crazy, but we did it," said NTAG Southwest Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Jason S. Eckhardt.
Eckhardt credits the command's hard work and dedication to making the quick transformation possible.
"As command leadership has been hitting the field, we've been asking what's working and what's not working and making adjustments in the process to make it better," said Eckhardt.
The transition was part of a recruiting-wide strategy to change how the recruiting mission is approached and accomplished, said NTAG Southwest Chief Recruiter, Master Chief Navy Career Counselor Jayson N. Whalen.
As the cake was cut and the speeches ended, NTAG Southwest was already up and running because of the work done on the transition before the ceremony.
"It was a smoother transition than I thought it was going to be," said Eckhardt. "I know the people back in Millington were impressed with how well we were doing. Production has not tailed off, and that's a testament to everyone's dedication to the mission."
Starting Oct. 1, the recruiting command began operating under the NTAG model in preparation for the upcoming transition.
According to Whalen, the purpose of the transformation is to allow recruiters to operate more efficiently and effectively.
"This started as a way for Navy Recruiting Command to ultimately figure out how to operate within the financial and manpower restraints put on us," said Whalen. "The need to transform was driven by innovation and focused on how we operate as an enterprise."
Transformation is not only modernizing Navy Recruiting's technologies and platforms but is maximizing the unique talents of each Recruiter by matching them with the recruiting pillar (sales and sourcing, assessing, onboarding, or e-talent) that best suits their talents.
Under the NTAG umbrella, recruiters are assigned to offices within a talent acquisition and onboarding center (TAOC). Recruiting assignments fall into three types within each TAOC; talent scouts, assessors, and on-boarders. Under the NTAG model, the command will be restructured and be broken down into three different Talent Acquisition and Onboarding Centers (TAOC) – Fleet City, Surf City, and Paradise City.
"TAOCs are like subordinate commands for the NTAG," said Whalen. "Typically, TAOCs are located in a highly concentrated, high propensity military markets, but our TAOCs will be operated virtually while collocated with the NTAG."
TAOC Fleet City includes San Diego County, part of Riverside County and Yuma, Arizona. TAOC Surf City include Orange County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County. TAOC Paradise City encompasses southern Nevada, including the Las Vegas metro area.
Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 27 Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,330 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America's Navy.
NRD San Diego was established in January 1975. NTAG Southwest encompasses 210,000 square miles covering parts of Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California. Headquartered at Naval Base Point Loma, the command has three TAOCs and employs more than 300 recruiters, support personnel, and civilians.
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