ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- A Navy task force focused on the personnel and pay system visited the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) (Ike) to speak with Sailors while the ship was underway, Dec. 16-18.
The visit was part of an ongoing effort by Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Financial Management and Comptroller Dr. Susan J. Rabern to collect data and feedback from Sailors assigned to various commands throughout the fleet.
"We are out here to talk to Sailors and to look at personnel and pay records to baseline how the Navy is providing these services across the board, both ashore and afloat," said Melissa Brach, the task force's team lead and acting director of audit readiness for financial management and budget analysis (OPNAV N10). "This way, we can approach Dr. Rabern and say, 'Here's the way things work now, here are the biggest challenges, and here's how we can fix them.'"
Brach and Command Master Chief Donald Myrick, from Naval Supply Systems Command, conducted focus groups with junior Sailors, chiefs and officers to hear their concerns.
Myrick said the meetings produced worthwhile conversations while promoting a constructive dialogue between the team and Ike Sailors on various personnel- and pay-related topics.
"Ike's input has been fantastic," Myrick said. "The crew has been phenomenal in supporting us and providing us feedback. The chain of command has also been very supportive in allowing their Sailors to come and give us their stories so that, ultimately, we can change pay for the whole Navy and make it better for all."
Brach said that although the team is planning to solicit input from Sailors throughout the Navy, common topics that Sailors would like to see addressed have already emerged.
"I think Sailors aren't getting enough notification," Brach said. "We're not notifying our Sailors in a timely manner. Yes, some of it is mistakes-genuine over- or under-payments. But we aren't doing a very good job telling our Sailors, so they're getting surprised. Also, across the board, it's just customer service and a lack of training on both the military and civilian sides."
Brach said the purpose of the visit to Ike is to discover these very issues. With this information, she said, "Big Navy" can make the corrective changes as quickly as possible.
"Obviously, some things take money and time, but there are a couple of things Dr. Rabern is looking at immediately," Brach said. "I would say these issues will be addressed as soon as right now and then out over the next few years."
Dwight D. Eisenhower is underway preparing for its upcoming deployment.
For more news from USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), visit www.navy.mil/local/cvn69/.