Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Robert Burke speaks to NPS students during an all-hands call in King Auditorium, Oct. 12. Burke also concurrently serves as the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for manpower, personnel, training, and education.
“I appreciate the opportunity to be here today and to talk about what we are up to,” said Burke. “We frankly have many things going on, maybe too many, in the personnel world, I hope we are not causing confusing in the fleet.”
Before getting into his presentation Burke reflected on the tragedies of USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and John S. McCain (DDG 56).
“The Navy will look into these incidents at each level from the watch level to the institutional level to see what we did right or wrong and we will get better because of it,” said Burke. “I also think that we have a lot to be very proud of in the United States Navy and you should continue to hold your heads up high.”
Burke then asked those in attendance to think about where the Navy was operating, noting many places to include the Arabian Gulf, Red Sea, Mediterranean, Black Sea, and many more around the world.
“Due to our adversaries, we have to operate differently than in the past,” stressed Burke. “This applies to everything that we do from acquisition, how we do business, development of tactics, how we operate our ships, how we train our units and as individuals, from the top to the bottom. We have to re-think it all and be better and faster.”
The program ‘Sailor 2025’ will help the Navy improve and modernize personnel management and training systems to effectively recruit, develop, manage, and retain the force of tomorrow.
“You have an opportunity to reshape the Navy, to change things for the better and to remove the roadblocks and obstacles that have been in your way,” Burke said. “You have a tremendous opportunity ahead of you as you move into the next parts of your career,” Burke said.
All though Sailor 2025 is focused on updating policies, procedures, and operating systems, and providing the right training at the right time, the ultimate goal is to empower Sailors. “This program centers on three objectives: more choices, more flexibility, and increased transparency in our process, giving Sailors more control and ownership over their careers,” added Burke.
Even though the program hasn’t been around that long Burke believes that the Navy has already made a lot of headway. “In 2018, you are going to see some very significant changes in the customer service aspect of the personnel world in the Navy,” Burke added.
Some changes are already being initiated with the expansion of the Meritorious Advancement Program, the new detailing process, looking into how Sailors are trained and Ready Relevant Learning.
“In the past, we used to think we had endless numbers of people that were willing and able to come into the military. We could train them up quickly and get them out to the fleet, then chew them up, spit them out and get new ones,” said Burke. “This might have been true in 1947 or even 1973, but not anymore. It costs on average more than $100,000 to train the average Sailor today. So, we have to change the way we do things and stop doing things the old way.”
Additionally, Burke took the time to meet with members from NPS’ Graduate School of Business & Public Policy (GSBPP) to explore potential changes in the areas of policy, officer promotions, and bonuses in various areas.
“The biggest thing was understanding what Vice Adm. Burke’s views as important with this new process. That way we can put together research proposals and get students working on theses’ that reflect his changes,” said GSBPP Dean Bill Gates.
Also, during his time on campus Burke held a staff all-hands call which included staff from NPS, Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC), and Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center (FNMOC) so inform them of the changes and to field questions directly from the Sailors.
Burke assumed duties as the Navy’s 58th Chief of Naval Personnel May 27, 2016. He leads more than 26,000 employees engaged in the recruiting, personnel management, training and development of Navy personnel. His responsibilities include overseeing Navy Recruiting Command, Navy Personnel Command and Naval Education and Training Command.