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Related article:Navy programs help sailors look to future

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — In 1965, a Navy chief petty officer was reported to have said, “There are three things a sailor doesn’t need — a car, civilian clothes and a wife.”

Today, Navy leadership sees things differently.

In an effort to strike a more harmonious balance between the needs of the Navy and the personal lives of its sailors, the Navy’s Task Force Life-Work road show is visiting Naval bases in Yokosuka, Sasebo and Atsugi this week.

The event provides “an opportunity for everyone in the Navy to learn about current and future initiatives and to provide direct feedback” to Navy leadership about “changes necessary to recruit and to retain competitive talent,” according to a Navy release.

“People are our most valuable resource and any way that we can better harness that dynamic … will improve mission capability and make for a better work force,” Commander, Naval Forces Japan acting Command Master Chief Chris Justice wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

But recruiting and retaining the best people isn’t a matter of just offering sailors more money, Navy officials say.

“Retention statistics and survey feedback … indicates meeting the professional and personal development needs of our sailors, particularly women and Millennial generation,” is the key to retention and recruiting, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Kim Dixon of the Chief of Naval Personnel Diversity Directorate.

Incentives — such as geographic stability, medical and dental benefits, and education opportunities — play a big role in a person’s decision to stay or move on, Dixon wrote in an e-mail.

The highlight of the road show, Dixon said, is “feedback time,” when attendees share their ideas about what the Navy can do to retain “leaders of the 21st century Navy.”

According to Dixon, the program already is beginning to yield results.

The Navy is set to kick off a three-month telecommuting pilot. Dixon said 50 servicemembers have signed up to partipate — and work from home.

Another proposal being drafted for the Military Personnel Manual is offering free leave for those who reenlist for the first time.

Other initiatives already afloat include a revised Pregnancy and Parenthood instruction that provides a one-year operational deferment for new mothers, 21 days administrative leave for adopting parents and increased in vitro fertilization support.

For Justice, TFWL is a manifestation of a term that has been around for years.

“We call it thinking outside the box. Our Navy today has so much talent in its ranks that this outside the box thinking tends to be the norm,” he said. “It is what we want them doing.”

Personnel interested in attending the road show should contact their chain of command.

Road show datesTimes and locations to catch the Navy’s Task Force Life-Work road show:

Sasebo Naval Base: An all-hands presentation will be held at 7:30 a.m. Monday at the Community Education Center. A roundtable discussion will follow at 9:30 a.m. for junior officers.

Yokosuka Naval Base: An all-hands presentation will be held at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday at the Fleet Theater. A roundtable discussion for junior officers will be held at 10 a.m. at the Officers’ Club.

Naval Air Facility Atsugi: An all-hands presentation will be held at 8 a.m. Wednesday at the base theater.

For sailors unable to attend the road show, two other options are available to provide feedback to the task force: The TFLW Web site and the TFLW blog.


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