CNO wants more skilled, efficient Navy workforce
January 5, 2005
WASHINGTON — Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark said he wants to create a more skilled and efficient naval workforce but insists that won’t mean a 1990s-style drawdown.
“We will invest whatever it takes for the growth and development of the people we need but not one thin dime for people we don’t need,” he said.
“Sixty-plus percent of the resources we have are going to pay for people. … If you jam more people into the task, and don’t change the output, you have added to the cost and you’re less productive.”
The comments came as Clark released his annual report outlining goals for the Navy, which includes recruiting more college-educated people, providing more training to sailors and Navy civilians, and better coordinating the responsibilities of the active and reserve components.
Clark said he does not anticipate shrinking the number of Navy personnel to create a more efficient service, but did say he’s “on a campaign to get rid of all the not-rated people in the Navy.”
Those not-rated sailors, who often enter the service from jobs like firefighters or police officers, lack any specific skill set, according to CNO spokesman Cmdr. Denny Moynihan. Clark said in the future every sailor should have a clear career path and set of desirable skills, like a major corporation would demand of its workforce.
“I don’t want people to view this as a drawdown because this isn’t a drawdown thing,” he said. “This is a ‘run the company smarter’ thing.”
Navy officials over the next five months will develop a more comprehensive report on improving the service’s overall skills and manpower.
Clark also plans on conducting a new Sea Swap experiment this year, despite criticism over the Navy’s decision to rotate crews on the USS Fletcher while stationed in Western Australia instead of returning the ship to the United States.
“Leading change is one of the hardest things in the world to do,” he said. “I expect people to react to something like Sea Swap, because it’s change. … But this is a very effective way to operate the force.”
Clark would not comment on rumors that the Navy will suffer heavy cuts in the Pentagon’s 2006 budget proposal, and would not speculate as to how the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure would change the service.
But he did say officials will look for more cooperation between Navy and Marine operations, especially in areas where they have neighboring facilities.
Clark’s report also set goals of reducing drug and alcohol incidents among servicemembers by 25 percent this year and establishing housing for sailors in port by 2008.