Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reconnecting through Returning Warrior Workshops

“In grateful recognition of your extraordinary service in protecting freedom around the world. Our nation is and will remain indebted to you for the personal sacrifices you and your loved ones endured while you were called to duty in support of Overseas Contingency Operations.”

Those words, so carefully chosen, are on the certificates of appreciation presented to Returning Warriors at the Returning Warrior Workshop (RWW) they attend as part of the reintegration process following deployment.  I recently had the opportunity to attend one of the RWWs this past weekend February 22-24, in Portland, OR.  I found those words very compelling, but I was even more moved by the eloquence of the words found on the certificate presented to family members.

“When your Sailor was called to leave home and join the mission required of them from Sea to Land, you, too, were given a mission. It was a mission that would require more of your strength, will and resilience than can ever be tangibly measured or adequately honored.”
One of the main purposes of the RWW is to honor our Sailors and their families for their sacrifice.  If it weren’t for the families who provide support and take care of the home front, our Reserve Sailors couldn’t do what they do so well. And while tears of joy accompany most homecomings, working to reconnect after a long absence can be challenging. 

For any Warrior who has found this to be true, there are resources. The RWWs offer a highly beneficial break-out session entitled “Couples Reconnecting” which is designed to give couples the opportunity to learn communication techniques that allow them to express their feelings while trusting they’re being heard. This “reflective listening” tool is also used by couples at the Chaplain’s Religious Enrichment Development Operation’s  (CREDO) Marriage Enrichment Retreats.  The resources available provide tools that increase Warrior and family resilience through the mobilization/deployment process, during the reconnecting phase, and after. 

If you are a Returning Warrior or spouse or a child who serves without a choice and without a voice, I want to personally thank you for your sacrifice and I strongly encourage you to take advantage of the resources you’ve so valiantly earned. I’m also interested in your experiences and feedback of our RWWs and retreats. Please share them!
For more information and dates on upcoming Returning Warrior Workshops, visit:

For more information on CREDO or to reach a Chaplain, visit: call 1-855-NAVY311 (1-855-628-9311). 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

On Our Fiscal Challenges

The fiscal situation today is challenging for all federal agencies, including the Department of Defense. We are coming up on a decision point, however, and I wanted to take this opportunity to give the force an idea of where we're at now, and where we could be in a few months.  I know you have probably read a few general scenarios in terms of how the continuing resolution (CR) and sequestration may all play out on the Navy at large but I'd like to focus on impacts to the Navy Reserve.

Drill days and AT are statutory, and should remain available for all SELRES Sailors.  Discretionary ADT funding should remain stable but may be reallocated to address changing active component requirements. As a Reserve Force, we will be able to continue to execute our core mission of delivering strategic depth and operational capability to the Navy, Marine Corps and Joint Forces.

FTS and civilian travel, civilian personnel hiring and some aviation functions will be impacted, but we've already taken DoD-wide action to help soften the potential blow.  All nonessential travel and conferences have been suspended.  On the CIVPERS side, a hiring freeze has been put into place.  The Naval Air Force Reserve will see a reduction in maintenance budget and flying hours.  While CNAFR will be able to meet its high priority operational tasking, we will begin to develop a backlog of aircraft awaiting depot-level maintenance as we defer those bills.  I would like to point out that Selected Reserve travel to gaining commands has not been curtailed.  This type of travel will not be directly impacted by sequestration and it is important you continue to support your active component gaining command during turmoil of the coming months.

While these reductions will have some impact on our capability, we're confident we will be able to tighten our belts to get through this intact with minimal mission degradation.  As our leadership in Washington works hard to pass legislation to prevent these measures we must be prepared to act if they are unable to meet the looming deadline.

I ask you all to work with me to conduct our mission as efficiently and effectively as possible without sacrificing the safety and well-being of you and your fellow Sailors.