By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ian Lundy, Navy Office of Community Outreach
MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- The Navy wrapped up its first visit to Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, March 30 as part of a new nationwide outreach program designed to show Americans in cities across the country the tremendous investment they have in their Navy.
Recently established by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. Jonathan Greenert, the "Navy 50/50" program will send 50 top Navy uniformed and civilian leaders to 50 cities across the United States for three days of high-level engagements with corporate executives, civic leaders, government officials, educators, non-profit executive directors, veterans and members of the media.
"With the Navy concentrated on both coasts, we're challenged to gain Americans' understanding of our mission, capabilities and relevance to national security throughout the rest of the country," said Cmdr. Kim Marks, director of the Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO), the activity charged with running the new program. "All Americans deserve to know what the Navy brings to the national security equation, that their Navy is America's away team, deployed around the world, defending our nation's interests every day."
Modeled on the successful Flag Officer engagement module that has been a staple of the Navy Week program since 2005, the Navy 50/50 program will expand the Navy's outreach efforts nearly three-fold in terms of the number of cities visited each year. Traditionally the Navy Week program is conducted in 15-20 cities each year.
"The Navy 50/50 program will help us reach areas of the country that we have not previously engaged in a meaningful way," said Marks. "Combined with our established Navy Week program, our aviation and Navy band outreach efforts, our Leaders to Sea embark program, and our national speakers bureau, we have the ability now to reach Americans in markets that traditionally hear very little about the Navy."
Through a thorough research and assessment program conducted over the past three years, it has been shown that Americans, particularly those living in areas of the country with no significant Navy presence, have a favorable view toward the Navy and the military in general. But that research has also shown that most do not fully understand what the Navy does, or why it is important to have a strong Navy.
"The Navy 50/50 program is going to help make Americans understand what their Navy does for them on a daily basis," said Lt. Glenn Sircy, assistant program manager for executive outreach at NAVCO. "The flag officers and SES (Senior Executive Service) leaders who have volunteered to support the program will be spreading the message that what happens on the sea matters. It matters to world peace. It matters to our economy and to the preservation of prosperity. It also matters to our national defense. A strong Navy is necessary to preserve the American way of life."
Rear Adm. Chris Sadler, commander, Naval Air Force Reserve and a Dallas-Fort Worth area resident, made the first Navy 50/50 program visit to the Dallas-Fort Worth area March 26.
"I was excited to kick off the Navy's 50/50 program. Through 16 different presentations, roundtables and discussions with local corporate, civic, government and education leaders, I was able to explain how the Navy protects America. I also demonstrated how the Navy affects the daily lives of North Texans, and show them the tremendous investment they have made in the Navy. In turn, I learned about how some of these groups already support the Navy or the military in general. The Dallas Fort Worth area has a large Navy presence at Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve Base, so I explained the sacrifice our citizen-Sailors make to serve their country, and thanked their employers for supporting their military duties. Fostering existing relationships, and creating new ones, through executive level community outreach visits like the 50/50 program, helps highlight the significance of the Navy to their respective organizations, and the community in general. As a resident of the area for the past 21 years, I couldn't think of a better region to tell our story."