CPO Redistribution Policy
From: Smith, Russell L FLTCM N1, N1FLT
Sent: Monday, July 31, 2017 1:47 PM
Subject: Pending announcement: CPO Redistribution Policy
As we prepare to release the results of the Active, FTS and SELRES boards, we will also be announcing a new policy called CPO Redistribution that will have a profound effect on our entire Chief Petty Officer Community. It is imperative that this policy be discussed and socialized with the Mess across our Navy this week to set expectations throughout the Mess and the fleet.
The Navy is suffering a shortage of supervisory-level enlisted leadership in the fleet, in some cases the imbalance is as much as 120% ashore and 80% at sea. We can no longer manage this slow hemorrhage of talent and expertise where we need it most - on our front-line combat units. Every year we advance to vacancies, anointing new leaders but subsequently failing to then recapitalize on these selections by moving them into the very positions we selected them for. The exception to this has been the Submarine community, which has been leveraging this new talent pool by routinely looking at new Chiefs and assigning them back to sea wherever there are gaps, which has met with great success by placing talent in the most appropriate places. This is what we will now endeavor to do across our entire CPO Mess, as this is not exclusive to Chiefs - it will include all Senior Chiefs and Master Chiefs as well.
This is not an end to sea-shore flow, and in fact we will still detail and make assignments based on nominal tour lengths in rotation as has always been the case. The difference is that now we will place a greater emphasis on fleet needs, and on deliberate career management, aligning us more closely with the way Officer placement has always worked. This is being done principally because the pursuit of combat readiness is no longer tenable without getting our supervisory-level enlisted force where we need them, but it is also a recognition that the CPO community is a lean, all-in cadre of professionals, indispensable and requiring careful management in order to enable our success.
When we are selected for Chief, for Senior Chief and Master Chief, we are reminded that we have not been selected as a reward for our achievements, but identified as having the tools and the talent to take our craft to the next level. From the CPO Creed we hear "more will be expected of us, more will be demanded of us" - that phrase is exactly where this policy will take us. Some will not love this; some will be concerned that orders will just show up in the mail one day and they'll be told to move, but nothing could be further from the truth. Engaged leadership will consider human factors, the needs of the community and the losing and gaining commands - all weighed against each other - to ensure we make smart decisions that don't break our people *or* our readiness. It may introduce some unpredictability when it comes to length of time ashore, and certainly when you are advanced to Chief, to Senior Chief or Master Chief, you should expect that you will subsequently be detailed into that very level of responsibility where we had a vacancy and you were selected to fill.
Expect to see some press featuring MCPON, CNP and myself regarding this as well. Please discuss and share any/all of these tools to get the word to the deck plate. Thanks in advance - this is a bit of a departure from our status quo, and appreciate your leaning into this as we move forward and continue to evolve into a more capable and combat-ready force.