SAN DIEGO (NNS) -- Rear Admiral Michael Crane, commander, Naval Air Force Reserve and deputy commander, Naval Air Force Pacific Fleet, also serves as lead for the Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE) Total Force Cross-Functional Team, which facilitates and aligns Naval Aviation's manpower and manning processes and resources in support of Naval Aviation readiness. He was designated a Naval Aviator in October 1988, and his prior assignment was as deputy commander, Naval Air Force Atlantic. He has a storied history with the NAE, first while on active duty serving as the director of Operations for the Air Launched Weapons Team (ALWT) managing weapons readiness as an enterprise from 2006 to 2008 under Commander, Naval Air Forces (CNAF).
Q. Having served as the deputy commander for Commander, Naval Air Force, Atlantic (CNAL) and director of Operations for Naval Aviation Enterprise's (NAE) Air Launched Weapons Team (ALWT), you've played an active role in the NAE for several years. How will this background/experience play a role in your tenure as the Total Force Cross-Functional Team (CFT) lead?
A. As deputy commander for CNAL, I worked closely with Vice Adm. [Mike] Shoemaker (CNAF) and Rear Adm."JR" Haley (CNAL) in their roles as Current Readiness CFT leads. It was clear that having a trained and motivated workforce with the right skills, delivered to the fleet at the right time, was critical to sustaining required current readiness and advancing future warfighting capabilities at best cost. It is clear, too, that the NAE's success comes when teams across the enterprise work collaboratively while understanding that the NAE is an integral part of their day-to-day support to their commander. I am very familiar with the great work the Total Force team is doing with the people pillar (P-pillar) supply chain to help facilitate readiness, and I look forward to leading and helping this talented team continue this work in the challenging times we face in Naval Aviation.
Q. What insights have you gained as a result of working in the NAE? How will your past fleet assignments influence your role in the NAE?
A. My insight is this: The value of cross-functional collaboration cannot be overstated. In an organization as big as ours, we cannot hope to synchronize all of the moving parts required to produce warfighting readiness unless we have frequent, clear and transparent communication among all of the organizations that impact Naval Aviation readiness. That's what the NAE excels at: coordinating, collaborating and communication with stakeholder organizations to improve processes by which warfighting readiness is produced. The NAE is very much a way of doing day-to-day business as well as a partnership of key stakeholders within Naval Aviation.
As far as how my past fleet assignments will influence my role in the NAE, I would put it this way: most who have spent significant time in operational or operationally focused units have, at times, found ourselves asking the question, "Who thought that this [policy] was a good idea? What were they thinking?" Often times, these ideas or policies were made with the best intentions, but, due to lack of cross-functional collaboration, didn't fully understand the impacts such policies had - either on current operations or longer-term readiness - and actually unintentionally produced some negative second- and third-order effects. I will use my leadership position in the NAE to help foster better cross-functional collaboration with the intent to reduce unintended negative second- and third-order effects.
Q. What is your vision for the Total Force CFT? What do you want to accomplish during your tenure as the Total Force CFT lead?
The mission of the TF CFT is to facilitate and align Total Force resources and processes in support of Naval Aviation readiness. These processes include the delivery, skills development and shaping of a Total Force aligned with near- and long-term Naval Aviation readiness goals. My vision is to build upon the outstanding progress that this team has made under my predecessor, Rear Adm. Mark Leavitt, and to expand upon it by seeking to develop a charter to be signed by flag leadership, which includes the chief of naval personnel, that will allow the NAE TF CFT to collaborate with organizations that are not directly tied into the NAE, but that develop and/or have influence upon policies that impact personnel readiness for Naval Aviation.
In the meantime, we will continue to work with P-pillar stakeholders (i.e., those responsible for training and billeting) to remove barriers impacting our squadrons, carriers and future force readiness. This includes:
* Continuing the work the team is doing with others to ensure the Ford-Class carrier has the workforce it needs to meet its operational requirements.
* Our ongoing efforts to reform the Professional Apprentice Career Track (PACT Program) to ensure it supports Naval Aviation readiness.
* Use tools developed by the TF CFT to look for ways in which we can assist in modernizing the Navy's Personnel Distribution System.
* Again, efforts as ambitious as these will require buy-in and collaboration with stakeholders outside the lifelines of Naval Aviation, and a charter will go a long way in enabling this collaboration.
Lastly, like many other organizations, the TF CFT has been impacted by budgetary pressures and the size of the core team has been reduced to just 12 individuals. When and where feasible, we will look to expand this core team so that sufficient bandwidth exists to take on the complex Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPT&E) challenges our Navy - and specifically
Naval Aviation - are facing today.
Q. Is there anything else you would like to add?
A. We have a very dedicated Naval Air Force Reserve, and as its commander I will do my best to ensure that the Sailors and Marines have the tools and support they require to accomplish their mission in support of the Naval Air Force. I intend to integrate this force more fully into the NAE with improved metrics and processes, which will help facilitate unit readiness to better support the mission of Naval Aviation. One way in which I intend to do this is by leveraging the subject-matter expertise of the TF CFT in order to develop specific, Navy Reserve-focused P-pillar metrics and processes that will allow our squadrons to better understand and identify where barriers to personnel readiness exist and remove or mitigate them.
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