Command Master Chief Jason Knupp speaks to attendees about talent management, at the 2019 Executive Leadership Mess Symposium. The Executive Leadership Mess is comprised of command master chiefs (CMC) serving numbered fleets, operational forces, and various flag officer details. CMCs met to discuss sucide prevention, health and wellness, Navy Community College and Enlisted Leader Development. 


More than 30 command master chiefs (CMCs) from numbered fleets, operational forces, and force development representatives came together for the Executive Leadership Mess Symposium, Nov. 20-21.

The CMCs received updates on current and future initiatives, policies under development, and shared candid dialogues, best practices and ideas on how to strengthen the Navy and solve its most difficult challenges.

Discussions amongst the CMCs focused heavily on suicide prevention, health and wellness, talent management, and strengthening education for enlisted Sailors.

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith urged senior enlisted leaders to foster different ways to motivate Sailors to develop meaningful connections. "We've got to get a hold of this suicide issue. And I don't think it's going to be an app or a program, but it's us having that difficult conversation with our people — eye to eye, kneecap to kneecap — it's real human connections to let them know it's ok to ask for help and then be there for them as they work through it,” Smith said. “There's no program of record that's going to do it, it's got to be us."

The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday and the Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) Vice Adm. John Nowell were among several presenters at the two-day symposium.

Nowell emphasized the transformation efforts happening across the MyNavy HR enterprise, which touches all aspects of a Sailor’s life from the moment they come in to the moment they retire.

CNP assured senior leaders present that the changes will help Sailors and their families navigate their career better and resolving pay issues quicker — putting time back into warfighting. The presentation was both an information overview and a call to action for leaders to encourage Sailors on the deckplates to use the tools and resources now available to them.

Specifically, Nowell addressed the shift from personnel support detachments to MyNavy Career Centers (MNCC), which operates 24/7 as a virtual hub that Sailors around the world have access to. Compared to how most people bank and shop, such a virtual model for pay and personnel support was described as a more modern way of “doing business.”

“It is designed for Sailors to call and ask questions about a pay or personnel issue — on their agenda,” said Nowell. “Undeniably, this model is going to be better [than the legacy model which relied on disaggregate physical infrastructure].”

Smith encouraged attendees to share the conversations from the symposium with other leaders throughout the Navy.

“Really appreciate everyone’s participation as well as the tough and eye-opening conversations,” Smith said. “Hearing and understanding these challenges is an enabling piece in making sure we all make good decisions and provide sage advocacy in supporting our Sailors and preparing our Navy for the high end fight that is certain to come.”

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