When I started my Navy journey in 1978, our service ethos was appealing to me. It is easy to take pride in belonging to an organization that values Honor, Courage and Commitment. As I became an officer I learned and became grateful for the privilege of serving alongside Sailors who have the same ethical beliefs. For over 30 years I have observed Sailors demonstrate our core values through the most trying of operations to include war.
Since 1978, the world has changed. The biggest change in my career has been the birth of the Internet and the creation of the cyber domain. What has also been amazing to watch is the mimicking of behavior in the cyber domain that exists in the physical domain. There have been activities that have underwritten prosperity to include: commerce, trade, charitable works, and medical innovation. And as the domain grew, some figured out how to exploit cyberspace with negative behaviors such as: bullying, criminal activity, scams, and terrorism.
Many of you have heard me say in all-hands calls, that everything we can do on liberty ashore, we can do online. We need to understand how to be safe and stay true to our core values online.
I started this conversation with many of you in person. I want to continue our dialogue online and hear your thoughts. Many of you have reminded me that our leadership responsibilities extend to this domain as well. As one wise Sailor at a NOSC said, we are Sailors when we are in person AND when we are online. We take bystander intervention to heart and understand that it’s not just for when you see something in person. It’s also online: when you see something wrong, do something right.
Be it at work, at home, or on our smart-phones, we represent ourselves and the Navy.
For this reason, I have chosen to use @HonorOnline — a symbol of my own responsibilities as a Sailor, and together our collective charge as a Navy — as my presence on Twitter (twitter.com/HonorOnline). The hashtag #HonorOnline is our campaign to promote core values online.
Setting the standard of excellence is not new to you, because you are Sailors. I look forward to engaging with all of you in this domain, hearing about emerging challenges and exchange ideas on what’s right, and honorable. Happy New Year Shipmates, and may you always have honor, courage, and commitment online.
Adm. Michelle Howard is Vice Chief of Naval Operations