Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Chief of Naval Personnel Visits Bataan Sailors, Talks Value of Sea Duty

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Mark Hays, USS Bataan Public Affairs

NORFOLK (NNS) -- Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. Bill Moran visited multipurpose amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) Jan. 21.

During his visit he held an all-hands call in the ship's hangar bay to discuss important issues such as pay, benefits, manning and deployment cycles.

Moran announced during the all-hands call that the Secretary of the Navy (SECNAV) and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) are moving forward and will soon announce changes to career sea pay for all Sailors while on sea duty.

"It's long overdue; we haven't adjusted sea pay in over 10 years," Moran said. "We are convinced it's the right thing to do for Sailors who are serving at sea. We want to compensate you more for the work that you do."

With Bataan preparing to deploy early next month, the discussion of a career sea pay raise was great news for Sailors and their families.

"I'm excited about the changes, especially with deployment coming up," said Electricians Technician 2nd Class Thien Nguyen. "This will help me when I consider doing back-to-back sea duty."

Moran also stressed that when you read a headline today in the media about important sailor and family issues, "read the whole story."

Rumors are out there that we are cutting pay, benefits and retirement. He explained that none of the rumors are true.

"We are not cutting your pay," Moran said. "The retirement system that you came into the Navy with is the retirement system you are going to get."

As CNP, he said he and his staff remain focused on putting the right Sailor with the right education in the right billet at the right time. That means getting manning levels to appropriate levels earlier in a ship's training cycle.

According to Moran, the Navy brought in 8,000 additional Sailors in the last two years to help reduce the number of gaps at sea and minimize the dip in manpower after deployment in preparation for the next.

"Real progress is being made on the manning front--we have cut our gaps at sea in half, and are getting folks to ships earlier in the training cycle. There is still work to do, but our collective efforts are making an impact."

Moran concluded his remarks by discussing the recently announced Optimzed Fleet Response Plan (OFRP).

"This is good news for Sailors who stay in the Navy for the long term," said Moran. "It's going to provide stability and predictability on deployments. It's going to provide Sailors with more time at home for longer stretches, which I think is good."

O-FRP aligns carrier strike group assets to a new 36-month training and deployment cycle. Beginning in fiscal year '15, all required maintenance, training, evaluations and a single eight-month deployment will be efficiently scheduled throughout the cycle to drive down costs and increase overall fleet readiness. O-FRP reduces time at sea and increases home port tempo from 49 percent to 68 percent for our Sailors over the 36 month period.

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