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CHIPS Articles: Innovation Cell Seeks Input from Pacific Sailors

Innovation Cell Seeks Input from Pacific Sailors
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Brian M. Wilbur, U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs - March 11, 2015
PEARL HARBOR (NNS) -- The Chief of Naval Operations' (CNO) Rapid Innovative Cell (CRIC) program recently extended its reach to Hawaii and along with U.S. Pacific Fleet's own innovation team, is looking for contributions from Sailors.

CRIC gives junior leaders an opportunity to identify and rapidly prototype solutions for the fleet and to field emerging technologies that address the Navy's challenges. Hawaii is the first CRIC recruiting location outside of the continental U.S.

"Innovation is not new to the military. This is just a different spin on an old idea," said Cmdr. Ben Salazar, director of CRIC, who went on to say that reaching out to many commands around the fleet helps to get a diverse group of people together with widespread ideas on experimentation.

CRIC was commissioned in 2012 by the CNO to allow both officer and enlisted junior leaders to conceive and implement radical ideas. According to a Secretary of Defense memorandum, the purpose of CRIC is to "pursue innovative ways to sustain and advance our military superiority for the 21st century and improve business operations throughout the department."

"This isn't for everyone, but if you have a passion or you think you have an entrepreneurial spirit and you have a vision of something you can improve on in the Navy, throw your hat in the ring," Salazar said. "You miss all the shots you don't take."

Becoming a part of the CRIC team involves an application process and idea submission. If your idea is approved, you brief the CNO about your project proposal.

"Every Sailor has ideas on how to better the Navy," said prospective CRIC recruit Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Anthony Oubre. "CRIC is basically the ear to listen to our voice."

"Organizations like CRIC help junior Sailors bring their great ideas to fruition by operating around the traditional bureaucracy and create a culture where Sailors can be acceptable risk takers and rewarded for it," said David Yoshihara, Pacific Fleet's (PACFLT) director of Warfighting Assessment and Readiness, who added that PACFLT's Innovation Center is also open to new ideas and takes submissions through its website.

"The PACFLT area of operations has a long tradition of innovative initiatives and leadership that has helped keep us in the forefront of innovation," Yoshihara said. "PACFLT has all the ingredients to be a laboratory for innovation, and PACFLT Innovation Center intends to be the nucleus."

CRIC accepts applications for membership throughout the month of June and July. Length of CRIC membership is dependent on the length of a member's project. Typical CRIC projects are from 12-18 months but shall not exceed 24 months. Membership is open to Navy officers and enlisted personnel in paygrades E-4 to E-6 and O-1 to O-3. Exceptional candidates outside these paygrades will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For more information about PACFLT Innovation Center, please visit https://community.apan.org/cpf-innovation.

For more information about applying for CRIC please visit https://www.facebook.com/NavyCRIC.

For more news from U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.navy.mil/local/cpf/.

SAN DIEGO (Feb. 10, 2015) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visits service members with the CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) during the Western Conference and Exposition (WEST) 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin L. Carey.
SAN DIEGO (Feb. 10, 2015) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visits service members with the CNO's Rapid Innovation Cell (CRIC) during the Western Conference and Exposition (WEST) 2015. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin L. Carey.
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