SUFFOLK, Va. (Mar. 2, 2018) NNS — Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Steven Giordano visited Sailors and Department of the Navy civilian employees at Suffolk Area Information Warfare Commands during his tour of the Hampton Roads area, March 2.
Following Vice Adm. Matthew J. Kohler, Commander, Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR’s) introduction, the CNO spoke to hundreds of Sailors and civilian employees from NAVIFOR, Navy Cyber Defense Operations Command (NCDOC), Navy Network Warfare Command (NAVNETWARCOM) and Fleet Cyber Command/Tenth Fleet South (FCC/C10F).
“MCPON and I are here to let you know how much we respect what you’re doing,” said Richardson, “and respect is the exact word. I can talk about my admiration for what you do, I’m super impressed with what you’re doing, but more than anything else, we respect what you’re doing.”
The CNO mentioned that both he and MCPON track what’s going on in the Navy and one of the key things they track is talent and manpower, not just numbers but people’s skills.
“By everyway that you can measure talent; whether that be exam scores, grades in school, your time in the mile and a half run, whatever it is,” Richardson emphasized, “we have the most talented Navy that we’ve ever had in the history of the Navy. That’s your Navy, that’s you.”
Richardson went on to explain that it means when you graduated from school, when you finished your last enlistment, when you were looking for that new job as one of our civilian shipmates; you had a lot of choices. “You had a tremendous amount of choices. You could have written your own check anywhere you wanted to go in the world, particularly in this skill set and with all of those choices in front of you — you chose to come here, raise your right hand and take an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and join the Navy. It was that decision that truly commands respect.”
The CNO mentioned how many Sailors may be asked to get under way, leave their family and go to sea months at a time. He conveyed he understands this is done because Sailors want to do something noble, something bigger than themselves, and Sailors like working in meaningful teams.
Richardson added that he and the MCPON get up in the morning and their first thoughts are, “how can we enable you to become the best Sailor, the best worker, the best possible Information Warrior that you can be. Whether as an individual, as part of a team, you name it, we just want to clear out any obstacles, inspire you to become your best possible person, maybe even in some cases, better than you thought you could ever be.”
For the next half hour, both the CNO and MCPON fielded questions from more than a half dozen Sailors. One Sailor from NAVIFOR’s N34, Intelligence Specialist Petty Officer Second Class Jordan Bolden, had missed the opportunity to see the CNO a couple of years ago when he was onboard the USS Ronald Reagan.
“It was an honor for me to not only attend today’s all-hands, but to be able to ask the CNO personally where the Navy goes from here,” said Bolden. “For someone who’s been forward deployed as I and many others have, hearing answers from the top admiral in the Navy means a lot to us.”
Being part of a team, a winning team that is going to prevail in this era of great power competition, to be part of something bigger than ourselves, the CNO explained he can’t compete in terms of salary but is aware that The Navy asks Sailors to sacrifice a great deal. He extended his tremendous respect and appreciation for everyone’s service and explained every decision he makes as CNO is with respect to helping everyone present be more effective at their job.
In his closing remarks, Richardson asked everyone in attendance to continue to commit themselves to being their best. He used the analogy of events in the movie Coach Carter to compare the Navy’s role in great power competition.
“Because that competition has been going on in your element for years, we’re going to need to come to work every single day ready to earn our title as the best Navy in the world,” Richardson said. “They are not going to give it [the title] to us. They are going to want to take our title, so we’re going to have to earn it, doing the very best work that we can as individuals and as teams,” Richardson concluded. “I need that commitment, the nation needs that commitment. We need you to stay focused; we need you to be doing your best possible work. And if we do that, I have 100 thousand percent confidence that we will keep that title, but they are not going to give it to us — we’re going to have to go out and earn it.”
NAVIFOR's mission is to provide combat-ready information warfare forces to operational commanders, ashore and afloat, that are forward deployable, fully trained, properly manned, capably equipped, always ready, well-maintained and combat sustainable.
For more information about NAVIFOR, visit the command's website at http://www.public.navy.mil/fltfor/navifor/Pages/Default2.aspx, our Navy News Web page at http://www.navy.mil/local/navifor or Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/USNavyInformationDominanceForces.