Navy makes cuts to general military training, top admiral tells sailors
By CHRIS CHURCH | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 9, 2015
MANAMA, Bahrain — Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran knows how to get sailors excited about general military training: Tell them there will be less of it.
The admiral drew loud cheers from an all-hands crowd on Naval Support Activity Bahrain on Wednesday when he told them the Navy is looking to cut the training, which covers topics such as alcohol abuse and stress management, by 40 percent.
Some training — such as sexual assault prevention — will continue to be mandated by higher commands, according to a Navy administrative message released this week. But the Navy will now give local commanding officers more flexibility on locally run training. Those commanders will have the ability to decide when the training must be completed within a deployment cycle, or biennially for commands that aren’t deployable.
“They know best when their units are available, when they can get effective training done, and when it doesn’t interfere with everything else they have to do,” Moran told the audience of mostly E-6s and below.
The Navy is also pushing to make the training more user-friendly. For instance, the changes may allow sailors to conduct the training on their own time and possibly even on their mobile devices — a big difference from the current system that isn’t exactly known for its accessibility and reliability.
Moran assured the sailors that he shares their frustration with the current system.
“I had to take a photograph from my iPhone of my computer screen the other day because I couldn’t print the certificate,” Moran said. “And I was scared I was going to have to do it all over again on another computer.”
In addition, the Navy plans in January to begin phasing in a new online system for sailors called “My Navy Portal,” he said. The system will integrate many of the Navy’s personnel systems, which are currently run separately, in one place.
“It’s taking all of seven sections we’ve got today and taking one login, one ID and password,” Moran said. “Imagine that. We are heading in the right direction.”
Navy Knowledge Online, which focuses on educating and training sailors and is the source for many training modules, will be one of the first sites integrated into the new portal, said Lt. Cmdr. Nathan Christensen, Moran’s spokesman.
The integration will occur over a few years, and the portal won’t be fully operational until fiscal 2019.
Creating the new system is part of the Navy’s larger push to modernize a personnel system that has changed very little over the past couple of decades, Moran said.
During the all-hands call, Moran also discussed policies that go along with the modernization, including Navy physical readiness standards and maternity leave.
“People say there’s lots of change,” Moran said. “I would tell you that we are doing lots of thinking, and we are doing a lot of probing and piloting of ideas to see what we get right and what we get wrong.”
Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Bill Moran jokingly slaps his forehead while discussing important personnel changes including general military training, My Navy Portal, navy physical fitness assessments, among many topics brought up during an all-hands call at Naval Support Activity Bahrain on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015.
CHRIS CHURCH/STARS AND STRIPES