Over 100 people gathered for a keynote speech on the future of the Navy Reserve at an Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) event in Norfolk, Virginia, Feb.10 where Rear Adm. Eric Coy Young, commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command (CNRFC), spoke about the new Navy Reserve vision, technology initiatives and the upcoming Navy Reserve 100th birthday on March 3.
“We have a proud tradition of service since the establishment of the Navy Reserve March 3, 1915,” said Young. “For 100 years Reserve Sailors have answered the call to duty. Navy Reserve Sailors served in World War I and World War II, the Berlin Airlift, Korea, Vietnam, Operation Desert Storm and more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During World War I, more than 300,000 Reserve Sailors served. During World War II, about 3 million Navy Reserve Sailors served, comprising 84 percent of the Navy at that time. Since the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, the Navy Reserve has mobilized over 73,000 Reserve Sailors, providing tens of thousands of “boots on the ground” in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Horn of Africa. All in support of the CNO’s tenet of ‘Warfighting First.’”
According to Young, today’s Navy Reserve is the most combat and operationally experienced force in decades. In any given week, more than 20,000 Navy Reserve Sailors — one-third of the force — are providing support to the fleet.
Not only are Navy Reserve Sailors national security assets, they are active in their communities, volunteering in schools and homeless shelters, leading blood drives and more. “I am very proud of them,” said Young. “Additionally, to help honor those Sailors that served and passed on; our Sailors have spent over 82,197 hours supporting over 9,000 funerals so far this fiscal year.”
Now with its centennial so close, the Navy Reserve, ever mindful of its storied past, is positioning for the future by embracing the information technology that will make the Reserve pay and personnel systems as effective, efficient and easy as possible for the force to use.
It is a clear message that Young says has resonated from the force — most recently — on a four-day trip listening to the needs of West Coast Sailors and Marines.
To meet the expectations of the iPhone generation and maximize the Reserve Sailor’s career development and drill time, Young said the Navy Reserve is striving to make its personnel systems simple, convenient and mobile, with the ease of the “push one button” functionality that young adults take for granted with their own personal devices.
“We want Reserve Sailors to be able to pick up their orders from the Navy Reserve Order Writing System, what we call NROWS, get their travel itinerary, and this is the best part, put in their travel claim, and get paid without having to go to a PSD or NOSC,” Young said.
NROWS, a web-based, self-service drill management tool, is part of the modernization of the Navy Standard Integrated Personnel System (NSIPS), the Navy’s single, field-entry, electronic pay and personnel system for all Sailors. It signifies significant business process changes, eliminates legacy systems, and reduces total cost of ownership to the Navy. It also provides increased visibility to receiving commands, Sailors and is compliant with the Navy’s audit readiness initiative for procedural compliance, Young explained.
Other technology improvements that were introduced this year include the Enhancement for Drill Management (EDM) and the Career Management System/Interactive Detailing (CMS/ID) tools.
EDM replaces the older manual paper process, bringing forward an automated process by which inactive duty training (IDT) periods are now electronically requested, approved/disapproved, scheduled, canceled, and mustered, all while providing visibility to the Sailor, unit commanding officer (CO) and Navy Reserve Activity staff (NRA) that will process the submission translating to greater flexibility, less paperwork, and expedited drill administration.
CMS/ID provides the ability to explore Navy job opportunities, identify career-enhancing jobs that meet professional and personal goals, identify specific skills and abilities required to perform the job desired, and submit job applications when ready.
Young also talked about the expansion of Wi-Fi availability for drilling Reserve Sailors at all 123 Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSCs), a significant quality of work and life improvement as the number of computer terminals available had not previously met Sailor requirements during drill weekends.
“We found there were not enough NMCI workstations for Reserve Sailors to complete their training during drill weekends. The NMCI center distribution model allows for 12 drilling Reserve Sailors per NMCI machine. Wi-Fi provides a "bring your own device" option to all Navy Reserve Sailors while drilling at their Reserve center. It provides Wi-Fi network access to their CAC-enabled personal computers mitigating the challenge of limited computer seats during high-demand times,” Young said.
Another advance that improves productivity, Young said, is an increase to the size of NMCI Outlook storage. “In line with Wi-Fi access, cloud service will provide Sailors with more than just Outlook Web Access at a fraction of the cost,” said Young.
“The average Sailor has an outlook profile of 100 megabytes. Anything that makes them go over that requires that something else be deleted, or moved into a PST file on a hard drive. The commercial cloud is intended to provide each user with a 50 gigabyte mailbox and 100 gigabyte archive, anti-virus and anti-spam software, Microsoft Lync instant messaging capability and 24 x 7 access to approved Navy computing resources. The resources will provide a communication and collaboration environment enabling successful completion of training, administrative, and operational requirements. We want to ensure Reserve Sailors can access the tools they need while traveling … to increase their productivity and improve their work and life balance. After all, our Sailors have two careers to manage,” said Young.
Young also talked about the five strategic imperatives that will further strengthen the force outlined in the Navy Reserve Vision 2015-2025, which was released in January by Vice Adm. Robin R. Braun, Chief of Navy Reserve:
- Keep Pace with Navy’s Future Capabilities. The Reserve force will be integrated with the Navy’s newest platforms, capabilities and missions. Navy Reserve Sailors will continue to play a critical role as part of the Navy’s operational Total Force, with opportunities for careers using the latest technology, while supporting the newest platforms. As the Navy transitions to future capabilities, so will the Navy Reserve.
- Maintain a Ready Force for Tomorrow. The Reserve force will remain operationally proficient, ensuring a ready, highly trained, and surge-capable force. In the past decade, the Navy Reserve’s high state of readiness has enabled our Sailors to have a tremendous impact on fleet and combatant commander operations around the globe. However, fiscal constraints, combined with reductions in mobilization opportunities, will challenge our ability to maintain optimum proficiency. As Navy Reserve readiness helps to maintain fleet readiness, it will become increasingly important for our force to remain focused, and aggressively seek opportunities to conduct and support missions with our fleet and joint commanders.
- Actively Employ Each Sailor’s Unique Capabilities. The Navy Reserve will align and employ Sailors’ military and civilian skills with future requirements. To be successful tomorrow, we must leverage the strength of the Navy Reserve today – our Citizen Sailors – and develop and deliver their talents in the most flexible and efficient manner possible to fleet and combatant commanders.
- Deliver Technologically Advanced Solutions. The Navy Reserve must consolidate and modernize the systems used to enable and manage Sailor readiness, while improving Sailor access to those systems. Tomorrow’s Reserve Sailor will conduct Navy business using the best possible technologies, utilizing single log-in, integrated mobile and cloud-based solutions which reduce the time and effort required to meet readiness and training requirements. A Sailor’s time, and more importantly our nation’s use of it, must be focused to the greatest possible extent on the mission and not on administrative overhead.
- Develop Transformational Leaders. The Navy Reserve will train and retain the best of our nation; inspirational leaders of all paygrades, with diverse skillsets, who will deliver tomorrow’s Navy Reserve. Our people, Sailors and civilians alike, are what make our Navy Reserve strong. To prepare our Force for tomorrow’s challenges, we will deliver expanded officer and enlisted professional development opportunities focused on enhancing and maturing leadership skills.
In closing, Young noted that during his time as commander, Navy Reserve Forces Command, he wants to ensure that the Navy Reserve Force is spending its time on mission success, and not on administrative details. This being the case, he has instructed every one under his command to make customer service their number one priority.
“The Navy Reserve of the future will deliver the total capability of our Sailors, utilizing their military experience and unique civilian skillsets in support of the Navy’s latest platforms, capabilities, and missions. Our aim is to build an elite Navy Reserve team to develop and improve operational proficiency … We are the most ready Reserve force in the history of the Navy.”