WASHINGTON – As he moves into his second year as chief of naval operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert has outlined a plan for the future of the Navy that emphasizes tracking and protecting the health of the force while asserting military dominance.
Greenert laid out his goals in a report called "sailing directions" last year. His new position report, unveiled Tuesday, discusses how the Navy has fared and addresses the impact of some unanticipated changes.
One of those unexpected factors is the demand for Navy forces, Greenert said. For example, the U.S.S. Stennis was sent back to the Middle East early because of tensions in the region, and the Navy has committed to keeping eight minesweepers in the Persian Gulf through December – four more than originally planned. The sea service also is rebalancing its ships to increase the presence in the Western Pacific by 20 percent in 2020, and is planning to base four destroyers in Rota, Spain, by 2015.
As ships and sailors are shifted, Greenert said he wants to go back to an emphasis on individual tempo – how long individual sailors have been away from home. The Navy tracks the deployment times and patterns of its ships, but it has gotten away from keeping good data on the deployment patterns of its sailors, Greenert said. He wants to look at ways to reduce the time away, in part by cutting back on repeated training and certifications or by doing some training once the ship is underway.
Greenert said he also wants to renew the Navy’s focus on problems like suicide and sexual assault.
“Suicides are creeping up, and we don’t know precisely why. And that needs our attention,” he said.
The number of sexual assaults reported each year has not declined, he said. To address that, Greenert said he wants to look at how a pilot program at Naval Station Great Lakes reduced reported sexual assaults by 75 percent over an 18-month period. He wants to make sure that training doesn’t focus only on victims and how they can get help, but also encourages “intrusive and caring leadership” to prevent attacks and to make sure everyone understands that sexual assault is a crime that will not be tolerated.
Though Greenert stressed the importance of personal character and accountability for all commanders in a message to Navy leaders last year, the report does not address leadership accountability or the nearly 20 commanders who have been relieved or removed this year.