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Around The Fleet

Fleet CPO Training Team Keeps Leaders on Course

Navy takes another step in developing leaders

"If we want to have the greatest Navy in the world, we must have the greatest leaders in the world," said Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens.

In today's ever-changing world it can be difficult to keep up with current trends, beliefs and methods. Stevens said he believes success still begins and ends with leadership and that a new way of training Sailors is important. He also believes the Fleet CPO Training Team (FCPOTT) he established in 2010 can deliver the kind of training Sailors need to tackle today's challenges.

"It is one element of several things we have done over the past five years to help prepare our chief petty officers for the challenges they will face in the 21st century," said Stevens.

The training team conducts a one-day session for Chiefs Messes, First Class Petty Officer Associations (FCPOA) and soon, possibly in wardrooms. Post-tour command master chiefs, hand-picked by fleet master chiefs, help the command identify challenges it faces and determine the best way to overcome those challenges. This allows the command to own the process and, in turn, reset and reenergize the leadership.

"The training is geared to be delivered to individual CPO or FCPO messes in this format because the groups are uniquely qualified to figure out their own issues or areas for improvement instead of having 'outsiders' come in and tell them how to fix themselves," said Command Master Chief Lawrence Linton, a Norfolk-based facilitator. "We use this method so they can provide their own critical self-assessment."

Command Master Chief Jeffrey Steinly, a Hawaii-based facilitator, explained how important it is to keep distractions to a minimum during training. Off-site training allows the participants to fully concentrate and gives them the opportunity to get together in an environment other than work.

"We've held a few training sessions on a ship in the Chiefs Mess or training classroom and you always get interruptions; 1MCs going off, people are thinking about their work because they're at their work," said Steinly. "We ask in our surveys if it was better to hold the training off-site, and universally, the participants say yes because it takes them out of that element and allows them to focus on that self-improvement and all-around group improvement."
A collage for the FCPOTT story

The main focuses of the training are CPO responsibilities, key Navy programs, team building and leadership development. The curriculum stems from the Senior Enlisted Academy and the Command Master Chief/Chief of the Boat course.

The team conducts a revolutionary form of training for the Navy in that it's from the fleet, for the fleet." - CMC Knupp
"The fleet is dynamic and ever changing, so we change the curriculum on a regular basis."said Command Master Chief Jason Knupp, a member of the Hawaii training team.

Knupp explained the difficulty of changing a Navy curriculum, which is a major part of what makes this training so unique. The facilitators are free to make changes when new things are learned from a training session. There is no time limit for certain subjects as long as the subject adds value to that command. This innovative way of training Sailors allows the facilitators to tailor the curriculum to each individual command.

"You get out of it exactly what you put into it," said Chief Master-at-Arms Scott Whaley, assigned to Naval Base Guam. "Some gained more than others, but I believe there will always be something to gain from FCPOTT provided training. It both aids us in today's leadership challenges and assists us in preparing for the future."

Training sessions are available to all Chiefs Messes and FCPOAs around the fleet at no cost to the command. Due to the positive reactions produced from the training, the teams have been asked to develop a course for junior officers. If it proves to be as successful, it could be implemented in the fleet.

"Theoretically, the plan is to be able to go to a ship and within three days, train the first classes, Chiefs Mess and wardroom," said Knupp. "In a 72-hour period you can take the senior enlisted and the wardroom and align them all to the same language. It can be a very powerful paradigm shift."

U.S. Pacific Fleet and Fleet Forces Command sponsor the training with teams located in Norfolk, San Diego and Hawaii, each consisting of two facilitators.

Commands interested in receiving training can contact Steinly via email at

For more information about the Fleet CPO Training Team visit their Facebook page at