Thursday, August 14, 2014

Fair Winds, Following Seas

This will be my last posting to the CNRFC Blog.  I will be relieved on 25 September by RDML Eric Young and retire from the Navy.  As I close out this blog, I’d like to offer some thoughts about our Navy Reserve through the looking glass of 31 years of service:

--We are an operational force more than ever before.  When I entered service in 1983 our Reserve force was primarily a strategic force, a force structured to mirror the active force, a force that trained independently and autonomously and had a very structured, deliberate and lengthy mobilization process.  While today’s force still has strategic surge inherent in its mission, we are now an agile, responsive, smaller force able to respond in hours and days, not months.  Our mission sets run the gamut but we bring many more complementary capabilities, some found only in the Navy Reserve.    

--Our force is ever more diverse and that diversity brings great strength.  Our Sailors bring unique civilian skills highly valued by our active counterparts.  As always, our Navy veteran accession source makes us a more mature and experienced force, one of our key attributes.    

--We have become more and more integrated into the active force.  Our Navy Reserve leaders need to continue to provide the active component with easy access to their Reserve Sailors.  We do this through our Operational Support Officer network, the one-stop shopping place for every Commander to get operational support. 

--We are lean.  Since 9/11, we have re-shaped the force down to a head count of 59,700.  We have focused on key capabilities and divested of any excess.  

--As we start to turn the page on OEF and continue to deal with the fiscal challenges of sequestration, our force will need to remain operational.  We must look for opportunities to take on additional capabilities.   The Reserve component must do what we can, so the active force can do what it must. 

As I hang up the uniform for the last time, seeing the talent, energy and dedication of our young Sailors of today allows me to transition with confidence in knowing those capable Sailors stand ready to assume the watch, manning the finest Navy in the world. 

Fair Winds and Following Seas, shipmates. 




Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Happy Independence Day

Greetings Shipmates,
As we prepare to celebrate our 238th Independence Day, I’d like everyone to take a moment to reflect on the inspiration and idealism of those who laid the foundation for the country and society we are today.  On July 4, 1776, 56 men representing 13 colonies approved the final draft of our nation’s Declaration of Independence, formally declaring their separation from Great Britain, the establishment of 13 sovereign states and the establishment of the United States of America. Few would dispute that these determined men altered the future of this country, and the world.

These men had great faith in what our country could become. They embodied the same characteristics and convictions I see every day in our Navy Reserve Sailors, and throughout our military.  They, like you, are Patriots.   

Many of you have traveled to foreign soil to support both fleet and joint forces. You stand ready and willing to defend our nation and its citizens at a moment’s notice, and protect those who have no one to defend them.  As members of the Navy Reserve, you make sacrifices every day to support the same values and convictions of those men who stood up together against tyranny over two centuries ago.
You should all be proud of your service and patriotism.

I wish you all the best as we get ready for our country’s 238th birthday.  Enjoy the fireworks, barbeques and time with your family and friends.  As always, be safe, be responsible and look out for each other.

Have a great 4th of July holiday!



Friday, May 30, 2014

Motorcycle Safety: How Not to Hit the Pavement at Top Speed

Greetings Shipmates,

Keeping our Sailors safe and healthy is a priority for all of us in the Navy Reserve, and it’s important that we remind each other to act responsibly and ensure everyone has a great summer.  With that being said, please read the Motorcycle Safety blog below, courtesy of the CNRFC Safety Office.  Encourage everyone at your command to read it and share the information.  We’ll be talking more about summer safety over the next couple months so stay tuned and stay safe!!!!!

Did you know that 46% of all motorcycle accidents occur at intersections, and that three motorcyclists are killed every day in the U.S.?
It’s a fact that as the sunny days of summer approach the number of motorcyclists on the roads increases.  Motorcycle safety isn’t just for motorcyclists. Whether on a bike or in a car, it’s important that we all stay safe and do what we can to reduce these numbers.
If you operate a motor vehicle, watch out for motorcyclists, don’t tailgate and always look twice before switching lanes.  Leave room for mistakes and USE YOUR SIGNALS!

For those on bikes, the best way to avoid becoming the next statistic is to pay attention to your surroundings, obey road signs and laws and use all the recommended personal protective equipment which includes: 
·         Wearing a helmet! A helmet increases your chance of surviving a motorcycle accident by 29 percent.  Make sure it holds a federal standard rating by looking for the Department of Transportation label on the helmet.
·         Protective Clothing. Riders and passengers should wear a long-sleeved shirt or jacket, long trousers, and full-fingered gloves or mittens designed for use on a motorcycle. Motorcycle jackets constructed of abrasion resistant materials such as leather, Kevlar, and or Cordura and containing impact-absorbing padding are highly recommended. To enhance the ability of other vehicle operators to see and avoid motorcyclists, outer garments constructed of brightly colored, fluorescent or reflective materials are highly recommended.   It’s important, as a motorcyclist, to be seen. A high percentage of accidents occur because the driver of the other vehicle did not see the rider in time to avoid the crash.   Wearing bright colors including neon and/or reflective vests help other vehicles see you, especially at night.
·         Eye protection.  Visibility is not only important on the road but in order to maintain good vision, eye protection while riding is a must.  Dust, random stones and other debris can be extremely harmful to your eyes. Protect them!
·         Foot Protection. Sturdy over the ankle footwear that affords protection for the feet and ankles shall be worn.
Approximately 80 percent of reported motorcycle crashes result in injury or death; a comparable figure for automobiles is about 20 percent.  Don’t become part of the statistic!

Motorcycle safety is everyone’s responsibility! Talk to your Sailors, family members and friends about motorcycle safety. Let’s make this the summer with the least motorcycle accidents yet!  


Cecilia Daley
CNRF Safety Director

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Improving Billet Assignments: CMS-ID


Last month we implemented significant improvements to the CMS-ID enlisted assignment process, specifically the Cross Assignment (CA) process and associated policies.

These improvements include almost doubling the number of billet opportunities for Sailors as assignments are correlated to a six-month PRD window; extending the application phase to four-weeks to allow you more time to review open billets; allowing you to submit up to seven applications per cycle; and adding a "Request Local Assignment" functionality so that you can apply for local billets.

There are also other improvements that will allow career counselors of CA and In Assignment Processing (IAP) Sailors to submit applications for local billets on their behalf and a one-week period designated specifically for a command ranking and comment phase.

It was your feedback which prompted establishing a working group to review the cross assignment process and provide recommendations to improve the process and maximize efficiency, training and support. The new process allows us to put the "right Sailor with the right skills" into billets that best support the gaining command.

As with all improvements this is not an end-all solution but an on-going process that will not only need the support of various stakeholders but also feedback on how it is working. Stakeholders include supported commands, the leadership of Training Unit Identification Codes (TRUIC), Unit Mobilization Unit Codes (UMUIC), and Navy Operational Support Centers (NOSC), and YOU.

Cross assignment policies and processes, expectation management and constant proactive communications are absolutely critical to effectively executing our missions with prepared and empowered Sailors. These improvements will allow us to manage cross assignments more effectively and efficiently, and represents an important investment in our Sailors and ability to execute the missions of the Navy.

Your feedback is vital to the improvement of all of our processes. Keep sending them in. We’re listening!



* For more information visit the N12 website, or contact your NOSC career counselor, N1/manpower department or Reserve unit career counselor.


Friday, April 25, 2014

Celebrating the Month of the Military Child and How Our Children Serve


My wife, Sissy Cutchen, wrote this blog in honor of "The Month of the Military Child."  I'm sure it will speak to many of you and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Regards, Clutch

When my husband and I attended a Returning Warrior Weekend the feedback included this comment, “Why didn’t you let your wife speak?” Consequently I am honored and touched to be his guest blogger. I am especially pleased to blog during the Month of the Military Child, as I consider the issues surrounding military children one of my greatest concerns and my success as a military mom my crowning achievement.

Very early in my life as a Navy spouse, at every dining out I would say, “Bryan, ask Mr. Vice if I can make a toast.” My toast would always be the same, “To our children who serve without a choice and without a voice!” In those days, I would sometimes be approached by an officer who took exception to what I said. They would want to point out my children were “not serving.”

In 2005-2007 Peter Pace was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, I wrote him about our children’s service. He wrote me back, and for the first time, I actually found someone who agreed with my opinion. He also was one of the first senior military officers to express awareness that military children also serve.

While 2007 was only 7 years ago; the idea we recognize our children’s service is a new one. We have come a long way since the culture of military life portrayed in movies like “The Great Santini.” A time when many military children lived in a world of “suck it up” and “attention on deck.”  Telling our children, “Thank you for your service” is a progressive change in culture. I propose that we can do even better than a “thank you.” For many children I don’t think “Thank you for your service” is meaningful. It doesn’t change how they feel about themselves. It doesn’t make them feel rewarded. They move into too many new houses, they eat lunch alone at too many new schools, and they say good-bye to too many good friends for just a “thank you.” In actuality, their sacrifices are supporting a career that is someone else’s goal.  However, that career is inspired by those very children. It is inspired to keep them safe, to provide a strong nation, and a bright future. 

So, this is what worked for our family. Every morning I told my children, “At least you can know you are serving your country.” And we didn’t just acknowledge their sacrifice; we reminded them, their service inspired us to serve. In many different ways we let them know they played a role. When my husband got a medal, sometimes he would give the kids a medal too. In these small ways our children were moved to feel a spirit of service. 

So, I am advocating for a progression in our awareness and expression of our military children’s experience. I am advocating for the message of “Thank You for your service” to evolve. Yes, I want us to be thankful, but I want us to start telling the world “Our military children inspire our service” and to start telling our children “You inspire me to serve my country.” I for one would rather be told I inspired something, than to be thanked. A young person who can inspire someone, and consequently, can be inspired, is on their way to being an awesome citizen.

Just a blog thought from the Admiral’s other half, and the mother of Ensign Max Cutchen and Petty Officer Annie Cutchen.

-Sissy Cutchen Navy wife, Navy Mom, Navy sister

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How the Navy Reserve's Sexual Assault Prevention Officer Works for You

Greetings Shipmates,

Please take the time to read this month's blog, guest written by Cmdr. Jean Steenson, RESFOR Sexual Assault Prevention Officer, on the role of the Force SAPRO. It's an important job and I hope you will find it informative and helpful.


How the Navy Reserve's Sexual Assault Prevention Officer works for youBy Cmdr. Jean Steenson, RESFOR SAPRO

I think we all have heard of the acronym SAPR, but have you heard of SAPRO? My name is Cmdr Jean Steenson and I am the RESFOR SAPRO (Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Officer). I am responsible for the Force SAPR Program and ensure it complies with DoD policy, tracking, and training. But most importantly, I'm responsible for the safety and well-being of our Sailors who fall victim to crimes of sexual assault and for ensuring the Navy Reserve Force is doing everything it can to prevent these assaults from happening.

That means a victim of sexual assault can report (unrestricted) an incident and know that every stage from the initial report through investigation, and if substantiated, the judicial process will be handled properly and expeditiously. This goes for both the victim and the alleged offender to make sure all rights are protected and due process is served. 

 For Reserve Sailors, I personally track every stage and guarantee that every report (no matter the duty status of a SELRES) is briefed at the Flag level. While briefing the Flag(s), we talk about victim's safety, alleged offender's rights, command climate, destructive behaviors, and most importantly, we discuss victim care. In addition, I work to ensure procedures are in place to maintain the anonymity of a victim filing a restricted report.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) and Commander Navy Installations Command (CNIC) has compiled over 800 activities that are being hosted CONUS and OCONUS, so no excuses, get involved. Every RCC, NOSC, and squadron is sponsoring SAAM events, so look for those this month. This year's theme is: "Live Our Values" every day, all year long. Do the right thing by intervening when appropriate, reporting crimes, and supporting victims. If we do, we can help stop sexual assaults.

Lastly, please take the time to learn who the Victim Advocate is at your NOSC, squadron or command and thank them. They have volunteered to take on an difficult job, and greatly deserve your appreciation.

CDR Jean Steenson

Monday, March 31, 2014

Conflict Management: Resolving Issues at the Lowest Level


I can’t say it enough: your hard work and professionalism shines in every job you do. Carrying the burden of balancing family responsibilities, civilian career and your service can be extremely challenging and stressful, yet you are unwavering in your commitment and continue to amaze me and make me very proud. But, if you’re having issues with another Shipmate’s treatment, or behavior toward you or others, don’t let that add to your stress. Know that your leadership has the authority, experience and my support to address problems as they occur. So this month I want to stress the importance of using your chain of command to resolve issues at the lowest level possible.

All too often, we find out that if a Sailor with a grievance had used their chain of command as the first means toward conflict resolution, the problem could have been dealt with satisfactorily and swiftly. But effective problem resolution can only happen when the command is aware there’s a problem and they are given all the information.

While part of the burden lies with the Sailor to use the chain of command, the other part rests on leadership to encourage open communication and feedback. If you’re in a leadership position, it is important for you to communicate down to the deckplates the commitment the chain of command has to resolving issues when they arise. Honesty across the board, even if the message is undesirable, allows leadership and their Sailors assigned to identify and resolve potential issues as they arise.

Of course, for the few issues that can’t be resolved using the chain of command, the Office of Inspector General (IG) is in place to address allegations of gross fraud, waste, and mismanagement. However, a majority of complaints to CNRF IG would have been better and more quickly resolved though established processes using the chain of command. Every service member has the right to talk to the IG and CNRF IG is committed to helping Sailors resolve their concerns, to include educating them on the resources available to them.

If you’re struggling to resolve a conflict within your unit or command, talk to your leadership or your mentor. Let them listen, provide valuable guidance, and empower you with the tools to aide you in resolving your conflict. To keep our Force strong and effective, from the CO to the LPO, you must take care of your people. And to that end, remind yourself to listen and approach each day and situation with honor and professionalism so your Sailors know that they can approach you with an issue and trust you’re there for them.

As always, I appreciate all you do. Keep up the good work!