Navy chiefs need to fully understand what’s expected of them and do a better job of communicating, both up and down the chain of command, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (IW/SG) Steven Giordano said in a new message to all chief petty officers.
“During my engagements with CPOs across the Navy, two themes seem to be resonating; communication and expectation,” Giordano wrote in a Jan. 26 email to his leadership mess. “The document is intended to speak to the Mess using the CPO Creed as the reinforcement mechanism as well as outlining some focus areas.”
The two-page letter outlined what Giordano says he’s learned by visiting sailors around the Navy for the last year and a half.
“Reflecting upon numerous conversations with you, my fellow chiefs, and the resounding voices of sailors at all levels throughout the fleet, I have come to realize the expectations of a chief petty officer may have become somewhat muddled,” Giordano said.
“Please allow me to offer come clarity on this subject — it’s in the (CPO) Creed.”
The Chief Petty Officer Creed is essentially a message read to all new CPOs when they’re pinned.
But Giordano says the principles of the message should not stop there. Rather, it’s something that should be routinely read by chiefs to keep them focused on their roles.
“These words and others contained in the Creed remind us of our responsibilities as technical experts, continuous learners, coaches, decision-makers and communicators,” Giordano said. “All of us, from the most junior chief to the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy must be focused in our collective effort to become an even stronger, more capable and resilient force by entering ourselves on the CPO Creed and our Navy Core Values.”
Giordano also said he sees the mess as the passageway for communication within the Navy.
“We need to do a better job of ensuring information flows between the strategic, operational and tactical levels,” he wrote. “It’s just as important for those on the deckplates to understand what’s going on at the strategic level as it is for those at the strategic level to understand the perspective from the deckplates.”
And it’s the responsibility of the chief petty officer to make this happen, he added.
“We need to improve our ability to interpret higher echelon information and make it relevant to the sailors operating on the deckplates,” he said. “Challenge the communication model — if you believe you are not receiving information that is being brought to your attention by your sailors, reach out to the next level for guidance.
“Do not accept the ’I don’t know” answer — ‘Ask the chief’ is a household phrase.”
Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.