MCPON, MCPOCG Address SNA National Symposium

By Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW/AW) Bill Houlihan
Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Public Affairs

CRYSTAL CITY, Va. – Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Joe R. Campa Jr. and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Charles “Skip” Bowen delivered a joint message yesterday at the Surface Navy Association’s (SNA) 2008 National Symposium.

Each of them stressed the importance of their two services continuing to work together.

“The CNO (who delivered the Symposium’s keynote address) can’t come up here and talk about the Maritime Strategy, if we’re (senior enlisted leadership) not teaching our Sailors about the other services they have to execute it with,” said Campa.

Bowen referenced an exchange of instructors between the Navy’s Senior Enlisted Academy (SEA) and the Coast Guard’s Chief’s Academy, scheduled to begin in 2009. He also pointed out that U.S. Coast Guard’s senior enlisted leaders are already attending the SEA as students.

Bowen also pointed out his service’s recent adoption of the Navy Chief’s Mission, Vision and Guiding Principles (MVGP). He said the reaction from his chief’s mess has been positive and that the MVGP provides structure to the responsibilities they’ve always had.

“Our chiefs know how important their direct involvement is. They know that enforcing standards is more than just uniforms. It also ties back to risk management. If standards slip, people die. The chief petty officer can affect that,” said Bowen.

Campa used the opportunity to discuss the advent of technology and how it’s affected the Navy, the chief/division officer relationship and the Navy’s success in non-traditional environments. He also provided a glimpse into one of the subjects he’ll be focusing on in the next 12 months.

“There is a specific group of leaders in our fleet who have shown that when given the opportunity, they can make a profound difference. I’m speaking of the first class petty officers,” said Campa. “They drive mission accomplishment daily, and there is no group better positioned to have a positive influence on our Sailors.”

Campa said one of the key components to deckplate leadership is the traditional relationship between the chief and division officer, but that it needs to be expanded to include the first class petty officer.

“We must be preserving the relationship between the chief and division officer, not blurring the lines between the two,” said Campa.

“But we must do more,” he continued, “to bring our first class petty officers into this leadership team and create a deckplate triad of division officer, chief and first class.”

Bowen and Campa have traveled together on several occasions, each of them holding all-hands and all-chief petty officer calls aboard vessels from the opposite service. Both attended the Senior Sailor Symposium hosted by the Royal New Zealand Navy in November. They announced at the SNA event that the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard will co-host the next Senior Sailor Symposium this November in Hawaii.

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