Category: Health, Wealth & Safety

Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month 2019: Make the Commitment

By Rear Adm. Philip E. Sobeck
Director, 21st Century Sailor, N17, OPNAV

Throughout the month of April, the Navy, along with the rest of our Nation, is observing Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.

As we continue to shift our collective focus from awareness to prevention, it’s important that we’re able to distinguish between awareness, risk reduction and primary prevention. Both awareness and risk reduction can be tools to aid in stopping sexual violence, but primary prevention is the approach that looks at the bigger picture. Through primary prevention, we can look at the culture, norms, attitudes and beliefs that create an environment where sexual violence is permitted and we can begin eliminating and reducing the factors that perpetuate sexual violence to keep it from happening in the first place. This is where I believe each of us can make a commitment to do better for our shipmates.

Collectively, and at all levels, we must encourage positive behaviors by recognizing acts that contribute to a supportive command climate. We must commit to possess the courage necessary to conduct ourselves with respect for our fellow Sailors. It’s up to all of us to target destructive behaviors with active prevention and create healthy norms and communities for our One Navy Team.

My challenge to you is to take some time and really think about this. How will you ‘Make the Commitment’?

Take a few minutes and listen to my SAAPM-focused podcast.

 

Follow this page for updates during the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Also follow Navy Live blog coverage of the National Discussion on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment at America’s colleges and universities. Secretaries of the Navy, the Army, and the Air Force will host the event April 4-5 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

It Starts Now: Addressing Issues for Sailors and Families Living in Government and Public Private Venture Housing

Follow this blog to keep an eye on actions the U.S. Navy is taking to address the housing issues faced by Sailors and their families who live in government and public private venture (PPV) housing.

NAVADMIN 043/19, released Feb. 23 by Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith, stated that every Sailor residing in PPV or government housing will be afforded an opportunity for a visit from their command at their residence no later than April 15, 2019. The visits are to be strictly voluntary and by invitation only. The purpose of these visits is to raise Navy awareness of family living conditions, allow command leadership to personally observe any issues affecting the home, and understand any actions being taken to address them. If a problem is found, the visits serve as an opportunity to help Sailors and their families resolve the problem.

Just three days after the release of the NAVADMIN, CNO John Richardson and MCPON Russell Smith held a Facebook Live All-Hands Call where they both reiterated the information stated in NAVADMIN 043/19 to the audience and took questions directly regarding housing, and what action the Navy is taking to correct those issues head on.

 

WASHINGTON (Feb. 26, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith and Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson participate in a Facebook Live all-hands call. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

 

MCPON Russell Smith went Feb. 27, to the the U.S. Capitol to testify to Congress about military personnel policies and military family readiness, and once again spoke on the issues with housing and what the Navy is doing to identify and correct them in the immediate future.

 

WASHINGTON (February 27, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith departs the Russell Senate Building near the U.S. Capitol after testifying on military personnel policies and military family readiness during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. Smith shared testimonies that advocated for child care, housing, and Sailor 2025 initiatives. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

 

During a fleet engagement trip in March to visit with forward deployed Sailors, MCPON Russell Smith took time to inspect base housing and ensure it is adequate for the Sailors and their families. MCPON Smith set a precedence that this issue needs to be immediately addressed, and direct action needs to be taken from the highest leadership on down to the deck-plates.

 

ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith observes the condition of military housing on Naval Station Rota. Smith visited Rota, Spain for a fleet engagement to answer questions, collect feedback, and thank Sailors for serving forward in support of U.S national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

 

ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith observes the conditions of the housing on Naval Station Rota. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

 

ROTA, Spain (March 11, 2019) Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON)Russell Smith observes the condition of military housing at Naval Station Rota, Spain. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas/Released)

 

Follow this page for continuing coverage.

 

Maintaining Trust of Our Sailors and Families Residing in Public Private Venture and Government Housing

From Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith

Trust and confidence are the foundational bedrock upon which effective command rests. These principles are directly tied to our mission; if we lose the trust of our Sailors, Marines and their families, if they are disconnected or distracted, the entire team suffers. The Sailors and Marines in our care must be confident that when they bring a problem to their chain of command – preferably to their division officer and their division chief – their command leadership will advocate tirelessly on their behalf.

We are facing an urgent issue affecting not only the trust and confidence of our Sailors and their families, but also their health, safety and well-being. As we have discovered, in some cases the condition of our government and public private venture family housing aboard our installations is not where it should be. Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families. To that end, we are prioritizing efforts to better understand our Sailors’ living conditions in on-base government family and PPV housing, to ensure that as residents, they are provided with the quality of life they have earned and deserve.Our Sailors and their families deserve safe, quality living quarters and commands must advocate for our Sailors and their families.

What went wrong? The government role in the privatized partnership arrangement has become too passive, leaving the day-to-day operation of the housing program to the residents and the private partners. We need to re-engage, especially at the command level, to advocate for our Sailors. CNIC, with support from OPNAV and NAVFAC, is on the job, already engaged in actions that will increase oversight of the partners, introduce improved quality assurance of the housing operations, follow-up on issues, add feedback mechanisms after trouble calls are closed out, focus on improved customer service, and begin a robust series of resident engagements ranging from email and social media outreach, town halls, and home visits by invitation. These efforts will be supplemented by command action on behalf of our Sailors and their families: 100 percent contact with all of your Sailors to invite them to specifically share their housing situation, experiences and unresolved issues. They may choose to decline these conversations, and they must not be pushed or pressured. During these conversations, for those in PPV or government housing, commands will offer to visit their residence if they desire. But visit or not, 100 percent of PPV residents will be engaged by their chain of command to ensure we understand their situation.

No later than April 15, 2019, every Sailor residing in PPV or government housing will be afforded an opportunity for a visit from their command at their residence. The purpose of these visits is threefold:

  • to raise our Navy awareness of family living conditions
  • to personally observe any issues affecting the home and to understand any actions being taken to address them
  • if a problem is found, to help your Sailor and their family get the problem resolved. In short, the purpose of the visit is to be their advocate.

This is not an inspection program; visits are to be strictly voluntary, by invitation only, and executed in accordance with the process set forth below.

Every Sailor with a PPV or government residence will be personally asked by their division officer if they would like to schedule a time for a visit from leaders in their command, ideally their division chief and division officer, to put eyes on any problems that the Sailor and their family are experiencing. It will be made clear to the Sailor that allowing the visit is purely voluntary and there will be no negative ramifications should either the Sailor or the Sailor’s family member decline a visit. Sailors and families will have an opportunity to ask any questions about the visit. If Sailors and families agree to a visit, a two-person team, ideally the Sailor’s division officer and division chief, will conduct the home visit. During the visit, command leadership will discuss how any problems are being resolved. The discussion should include the Sailor and all other adult family members living in the residence, provided the family member desires to participate.

For officers in PPV or government housing desiring a visit, use a similar approach, with at least one of the visiting team being senior to that of the officer whose residence will be visited (e.g., the respective department head for a division officer).

Finally, the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed, using existing procedures. If the Sailor declines a visit, the division officer will offer to discuss any housing issues with the Sailor or their family members by phone. In taking these steps, we will enhance understanding between the command and each Sailor and their family.

... the command will vigorously assist families to get problems fixed ...

Each team will consist of officers and/or chief petty officers only. In general, the most appropriate approach will be visits conducted by division officers and divisional leading chief petty officers. The uniform for the visit will be determined by the unit commanding officer. A minimum of one day prior to the scheduled visit, the senior member of the visit team will call or meet with the Sailor (or adult family member, if deployed) to be visited in order to confirm the time and date of the home visit.

At the beginning of the visit, the purpose of the visit will be explained to both Sailor and family and any datasheet used to record the information gathered during the visit will be shown to both. It is important to note that these visits are not inspections; they are by invitation of the residents and specifically intended to allow residents to raise concerns. The Sailor and family may end the visit at any time and for any reason. If at any time during the visit, the team believes that the visit is unfolding in an unhelpful way, the team leader will end the visit and report back to the unit commander. Before departing the residence, the visit team will offer to address any issues raised during the visit and to commit to following up on the issue with the Sailor. For instances where a Sailor reveals issues in PPV or government housing but declines a visit, the command will assist the Sailor by contacting the installation commanding officer, executive officer, command master chief and housing director

Special considerations:

  • Be sensitive to privacy concerns. There may be Sailors and families who will feel a visit to their home is a violation of their privacy. We must respect this view. The goals and methods of home visitation must be presented in a positive manner to ensure families understand that the visits have been designed exclusively to ensure their health and safety and to promote their quality of life. Visits will only proceed with the informed consent of the Sailor (or adult family member living in the residence, if the Sailor is deployed). All commands will take measures to ensure that we build trust through this process.
  • There cannot be even the hint of retaliation or retribution. It should be the goal of every command that their Sailors bring these and other issues to their command leadership for resolution. Leadership, especially small unit leadership, should be eager to resolve these problems on behalf of their Sailors. These are often sensitive issues, often emotional, and each of us needs to adopt an attitude of seeking to understand and fix problems through frank and helpful conversations.
  • Leaders shall not attempt to be property managers, personal finance counselors or admin specialists. They need to stand side-by-side with the Sailor while engaging with the base CO and base housing office through existing processes if issues are raised.
  • For instances where a Sailor discloses issues with a private landlord not in PPV housing, you can help here too. Often, the best move is to direct the Sailor to meet with the local Region Legal Service Office who have legal assistance attorneys trained and experienced in local landlord-tenant law.

Unit commanders shall prepare implementation guidance required for visit teams from their command. Prior to beginning command visits, the cognizant staff judge advocate and/or offices of general counsel attorney shall be consulted.

No actions taken in support of this NAVADMIN shall replace business agreement manager responsibilities with regard to the ongoing execution of PPV operating agreements. Specifically, visit teams and commands shall not engage with PPV partners directly to ensure discrepancies are corrected. All necessary corrective actions shall be referred to installation commanders for action in accordance with existing approved procedures.

ISICs and TYCOMs shall ensure 100 percent of families of deployed commands are contacted and offered a visit. In all cases, visits shall be conducted no later than April 15.

Visits of residences aboard Army, Air Force and Marine Corps installations shall be recorded and issues referred from unit commanders to the respective host installation and passed as information to the appropriate regional commander area of responsibility.

CNIC and regional commands shall be available if requested to provide advice to installations and tenant commands on Family Housing policy, and associated legal concerns through April 15.

All home visitation records will be submitted to the designated representative of the unit commander, ISIC or TYCOM as appropriate.

Observations taken are not considered records for purposes of the Privacy Act, nor will the observations be made part of a system of records. However, all home visitation records will be handled and secured as if those records were personally identifiable information to protect the privacy of visited families.

All home visitation records will be destroyed no later than one year after the date of the home visit.

Observations recorded will not be used for the completion of evaluations and fitness reports.

CNIC is responsible for providing additional guidance and answering questions from commands in response to this NAVADMIN. Unit commanders shall address questions through host installations to the local regional commander prior to elevating issues and concerns to CNIC.

Unit commanders shall notify their chain of command when all Sailor-families have been contacted and when all visits are complete. Echelon Two commanders shall notify CNIC when 100 percent contact is achieved and when visits are complete. The master database for all PPV issues brought to leadership attention resides at the base housing office level, hence the importance of all issues being provided to the installation command and housing office team for tracking and resolution....it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families.

I realize this is an intrusive “ask” for a lot of folks who are already doing a lot of important work. However, it is essential that we strengthen the bonds of trust and confidence with our Sailors and their families. Let’s get to it.

Editor’s note: This blog was adapted from NAVADMIN 043/19 that was released Feb. 23, 2019.

MCPON Holiday Message: Stay ready for the fight, be vigilant and take care of each other

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Sept. 25, 2018) A Sailor watches the sun set from aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64. Carney, forward-deployed to Rota, Spain, was on its fifth patrol in the U.S. 6th Fleet area of operations in support of regional allies and partners as well as U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Ryan U. Kledzik/Released)Our Navy team needs to remain vigilant and strong throughout this holiday period. Take care of each other and keep an eye on one another. As we progress through the holidays, lean on friends and shipmates; if needed, don’t be afraid to turn to (or urge a friend to do so) our more robust professional services – as I and other senior leaders have done in our careers – to find the help you need to get you through those moments that might seem insurmountable.

 

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (Sept. 18, 2018) Chief Machinist’s Mate Franklin Pollydore, from Georgetown, Guyana, assigned to USS Gerald R. Ford’s (CVN 78) engineering department, hugs his sponsor during a pinning ceremony held at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts. Thirty-six Ford Sailors were advanced to the rank of chief petty officer. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cat Campbell/Released)In talking with another Chief a long time ago, a phrase I used stuck with me: “the mountain that stands tallest is the one that stands before each of us.” It’s easy to dismiss our issues, or not seek help because we think others have it worse or think no one will understand, but it’s all about perspective. The challenges you face can be as serious and as overwhelming as you perceive them to be. A Marine I once worked for, Brig. Gen. Liszewski used to say “it’s ok not to be “ok,” but it’s not ok not to ask for help.” We are a team, and as a team we must help each other.

While we all need to find the time to take a knee and catch our breath, as a team we cannot relent in our pursuit of readiness, we must not loosen our grip – our sense of urgency – in preparing for the fight.

From the very birth of our American nation, we’ve understood the vulnerability and corresponding advantage of a time of anticipated relaxation. Washington’s daring maneuver to cross the Delaware River on Christmas night and attack Hessian forces in Trenton pressed an advantage presented by an enemy who was not expecting a fight.

"Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze, 1851 (Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Image courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 13, 2017) Sailors assigned to the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) watch the USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) approach the Lewis and Clark-class dry cargo and ammunition ship USNS Medgar Evers (T-AKE 13) for a replenishment-at-sea. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Casey J. Hopkins/Released)Our Sailors must be prepared to “fight tonight,” even if that night falls when we least expect it or want it to – for those on watch around the globe, our hearts are with you. For those of us who stand behind you, we will continue to provide the support you need; as the CNO delineates in the Design 2.0, those not in the fight will be ready to “rearm, resupply and repair our operational forces” – we will be where and when you need us to be in forceful backup.

Have a happy and safe holiday season.
MCPON Russell Smith

 

Hurricane Preparedness

As Hurricane Florence moves toward the East Coast, we want to make sure all Navy personnel and their family members know what to do before, during and after the storm.

Hurricane Florence Updates
from the National Hurricane Center

If you aren’t in the storm’s path, it’s a good time to make sure you’re prepared for emergencies with tips from Ready Navy.

Before

Be informed and know your hurricane terminology

  • Tropical depression: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds that do not exceed 38 mph.
  • Tropical storm: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 39-73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 74 mph or higher.
  • Storm surge: An abnormal rise of water pushed ashore by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. Storm surges, which are often the greatest threat to life and property, are affected by a number of complex factors and can vary in magnitude despite hurricane categories. For example, Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane, had a storm surge of 28 ft., while Hurricane Charley, a category 4 hurricane, had a storm surge of 6-8 ft.
  • Storm tide: A combination of storm surge with normal tide, increasing the amount of water (e.g., a 15-foot storm surge with a 2-foot normal tide creates a 17-foot storm tide).
  • Hurricane/tropical storm warning: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours in specified areas.
  • Hurricane/tropical storm watch: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours in specified areas. Stay tuned to radio or TV for further information.
  • Short-term watches and warnings: Provide detailed information about specific threats during hurricanes, such as flash flooding or tornadoes.

Understand the categorization of hurricanes

Categorization adapted from the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale courtesy of the National Hurricane Center

  • Category 1: Winds 74-95 mph, 64-82 kt, 119-153 km/h, very dangerous winds will produce some damage.
  • Category 2: Winds 96-110 mph, 83-95 kt, 154-177 km/h, extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.
  • Category 3: Winds 111-129 mph, 96-112 kt, 178-208 km/h, devastating damage will occur.
  • Category 4: Winds 130-156 mph, 113-136 kt, 209-251 km/h, catastrophic damage will occur, well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
  • Category 5: Winds exceeding 157 mph, 137 kt, 252 km/h, catastrophic damage will occur, high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed with total roof failure and wall collapse. Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major hurricanes.”

Understand conditions of readiness

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR) are the Navy’s guidelines for estimating how long a region has and the actions necessary before it will be hit by destructive winds. Destructive winds are defined as winds of 58 mph or greater. At each TCCOR level, installations and tenant commands have set actions or checklists to complete prior to the storms arrival. These checklists range from verifying recall procedures to closing facilities and sandbagging. Essential supplies can quickly sell out when a major storm is forecasted to hit the region, so it is vital for personnel to prepare for damaging storms before they establish themselves in the news cycle.

  • TCCOR 5: Indicates that we are in hurricane season. From June 1 to November 30, all vulnerable installations should maintain at a minimum TCCOR 5 levels of readiness.
  • TCCOR 4: Trend indicates possible threats of destructive winds are indicated within 72 hours.
  • TCCOR 3: Destructive winds of force indicated are possible within 48 hours.
  • TCCOR 2: Destructive winds of force indicated are anticipated within 24 hours.
  • TCCOR 1: Destructive winds of force indicated are occurring or anticipated within 12 hours.

 

  • Ensure your information is current in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil.
  • Determine whether your property is in danger from tidal floods, storm surges or dam failures, and take flood precautions.
  • Learn community evacuation routes and how to find higher ground.
  • Make a written family evacuation plan.
  • Make a written family communication plan in case you are separated. Keep in mind phone lines and cell phone towers may be down.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
    • Cover all of your home’s windows with permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection for windows, or with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
    • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to reduce roof damage.
    • Trim trees and shrubs around your home so they are more wind resistant.
    • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
    • Reinforce your garage doors to prevent dangerous and expensive structural damage.
    • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down.
    • Build an emergency kit.

During

  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for more information and further instructions.
  • Create a supply of water for sanitary and household purposes by filling bathtub and large containers.
  • Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep the door closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks, and utilities, if told to do so.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.

You should evacuate under the following conditions

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure — such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building — hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
  • If told to do so by local authorities, following their instructions.

If you are told to evacuate

  • Never ignore an evacuation order.
  • Follow instructions and the guidelines given regarding times and routes.
  • Take only essential items and your emergency kit.
  • Turn off gas, electricity, and water if you have not already done so.
  • Disconnect all appliances.
  • Make sure your car’s gas tank is full.
  • Do not walk in moving water.
  • Do not drive in high water. (As little as six inches of water can cause loss of control and stalling of a vehicle).
  • Follow the designated evacuation plan and expect a high volume of traffic.

If you are not told to or cannot evacuate

  • Stay tuned to emergency stations on TV or radio.
  • Listen for further instructions.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Seek shelter in a small interior room on the lowest level such as a bathroom, closet, or basement.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, and doors.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Do not go outside until instructed to do so even if the storm is over and it seems calm. This could be the eye of the storm passing, and winds will pick up again.
  • When given the all clear, prepare to evacuate to a shelter or neighbor’s home if your home is damaged.
  • Once you are in a safe place, muster with your command if you are military or civilian personnel or a member of the selective reserves.

After

  • Listen to news reports to make sure water supplies are not contaminated.
  • Stay clear of flood waters (standing and moving) as they may be contaminated or deeper than expected.
  • Beware of downed power lines.
  • Avoid any roads where flood waters have receded as they may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Be extremely cautious when entering buildings and homes as there may be unseen damage.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by flood water, as it can contain sewage and other contaminants.
  • After a declared emergency, register your needs with the Navy through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil or call 1-877-414-5358 or 1-866-297-1971 (TDD).

Promoting a Healthy Fleet

A conversation with registered dietitian LT Pam Gregory about Registered Dietitian Support to Operational Forces

LTJG PHILLIPS – Welcome to the Sailor to Sailor podcast. I’m LTJG Stuart Phillips, for the Chief of Naval Personnel.

Today we’ll be talking about Registered Dietitian Support to Operational Forces, an initiative that promotes Sailor health and wellness – in direct support of the Chief of Naval Personnel’s priority of promoting career readiness through Sailor 2025.

Sailor 2025 is the Navy’s program to improve and modernize personnel management and training systems to more effectively recruit, develop, manage, reward, and retain the force of tomorrow.

It is focused on empowering Sailors, updating policies, procedures, and operating systems, and providing the right training at the right time in the right way to ensure Sailors are ready for the Fleet.

Part of this effort is ensuring Sailors are aware of, and have access to, the resources that can help them adopt and maintain a healthier lifestyle – which brings us back to our topic for today’s podcast, the Registered Dietitian Support to Operational Forces initiative.

This brand new initiative allows commanding officers to request Navy registered dietitians to join their command team under TAD orders to educate Sailors on the extensive topic of nutrition. You know the old saying “Garbage in, garbage out”? Your diet can be a huge factor in your physical health and wellbeing.

To talk about this new initiative, we have LT Pam Gregory, the Navy Nutrition Program Manager from the office of Total Sailor Fitness, who is also a registered dietitian. She’s going to give us the scoop on how Navy dietitians can come to your command to share some knowledge on nutrition and healthy eating habits.

Thanks for joining us today.

LT GREGORY – Thank you. Thank you for having me on.

LTJG – Absolutely. So, can you tell us a little bit about this initiative?

LT – Yes, so this is an agreement between BUMED and OPNAV to allow subject matter experts on food and nutrition to come out to a command and provide either nutrition education or preventative nutrition education to Sailors right there in their workplaces. Several times, when I’ve been providing either one-on-one nutritional education or group classes, many of the people have said, “man, I wish so-and-so was here and able to hear this” and now, they can – right there in their command spaces.

LTJG – That’s great. So what is it that makes this initiative so important or unique?

LT – Up until this point, for a Sailor to obtain nutrition education or preventative nutrition education, they had to take time off from work, go to the nearest MTF [medical treatment facility], or sometimes registered dietitians were occasionally asked to come out and provide information at health fairs, safety stand downs, outreaches, etc., with limited information being provided due to time constraints. With the release of the Navy Registered Dietitian Support to Operational Forces Memorandum of Agreement, it now allows commanding officers to request a dietitian to come out to their command, provide nutrition education (or preventative nutrition education) to their command in their workspace – and that’s not been done before.

Sailors eat food during a general quarters drill aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney (DDG 64), in the Mediterranean Sea.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class James R. Turner/Released)

 

LTJG – So what was the driving force behind introducing this idea?

LT – Well, nutritional fitness is one of the eight domains for the chairman’s total fitness force framework and a top priority for the Joint Chiefs of Staff due to the direct impact on unit readiness and Sailors’ operational readiness, retention, resiliency, or toughness – as some of you may know it – and Sailors are the Navy’s number one asset. A couple statistics from this are: from 2002 to 2011 there was a 61% increase in obesity among active duty forces TRICARE data from 2010 showed the annual cost to treat overweight and obesity related issues was at $348M and in 2013 the average replacement cost for a Sailor was $167K. So as registered dietitians, we’re BUMED assets and we’re recognized as the foremost in nutrition and disease prevention. We’re critical in transforming the culture of the Navy from a focus of treatment to a greater focus of prevention. And a large percentage of the Navy isn’t even aware that there are dietitians in the Navy, let alone that we’re able to come out to them, and what are the services that we are able to provide right there in their commands. So, the specific nature of this MOA between OPNAV and BUMED is to officially inform the Navy and the constituents within it, OPNAV commanders at the 10 Commander, Naval Installations Command (CNIC) regions (including multiple tenant commands), and six Fleet regions, about this highly valuable resource that is now available to them, and allows the dietitians to travel on official TAD orders to deliver upstream preventative education to the Sailors in their work and living spaces – rather than having to take time off to come to an MTF to seek out this type of care.

LTJG – Ok, so even a small ship that wouldn’t normally have a medical officer onboard, and definitely would not have a registered dietitian on board, like a destroyer or something…

LT – Right, we’re not out on any of those ships. We’re only located in the MTFs, so this is a total paradigm shift.

LTJG – So with the registered dietitians coming TAD to the commands, is there a specific length of time that they would be assigned? Is that kind of open-ended?

LT – Well, yes and no. So, the length of time that a registered dietitian is TAD is going to be based on the commanding officer’s request, the mission needed, and BUMED’s availability. So, just be aware that dietitians are equipped to go underway for workups, deployments, field ops, work outs, FEP sessions, we can serve as consultants for CFLs, FITBOSSes, SUPPOs, medical officers and there are several other areas that are well within our scope of practice.

LTJG – Ok, so how do you see this benefitting the fleet?

LT – This is a huge benefit to the fleet. Dietitians can help the Navy get a better grasp on the overweight and obesity epidemic that is plaguing the United States and now spilling over into the Navy. Many people think that the best way to get fit is to exercise, but I’d have to disagree. Nutrition is 80-90% of the equation, and only 10-20% [of the equation is] physical activity. A person can perform for a short period of time on a poorly fueled diet, but are they performing at their best? Not just physically, but mentally. And what you eat affects every aspect of the body. Also, let me put this out there – if you think dietitians are teetotalers on eating healthy all the time – we’re not. We’re people just like everybody else – we like to eat ice cream, eat burgers, pizza, cake, and things of the sort. So if a person thinks we’re going to come out and say what you can’t have, then there’s a total misconception of what a dietitian does.

A Sailor aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), shows Sailors how to perform an exercise.  (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Trey Hutcheson)

 

LTJG – Sure, yeah. Ok, so that’s very surprising to me – as far as weight loss, that diet is 80-90% of the equation. I did not know that – maybe I should be coming to see a Navy dietitian!

LT – Yeah, it really is. Because if you’re not fueled properly, then you’re not going to perform properly.

LTJG – That makes sense. So, what are some of the nutritional health topics that the dietitians will be talking to Sailors about?

LT – Well, we can talk about performance nutrition, which is what we were just talking about. We can talk about hydration, supplement safety, how to make healthier selections, post-workout recovery eating, weight management, cardiovascular health, diabetes… these are just a few of the things that we can do. In addition to that, some of the dietitians are “Ship-Shape” facilitator instructors, so that’s an additional benefit that one of those commands could have – that we can teach that, depending on the length of time that we’re out.

LTJG – Ok, that’s quite a bit. I know this is probably a tough question, but if you had to choose just one important piece of advice to give as a registered dietitian – to give to a Sailor – what would that be?

LT – You’re right, that is a tough question. Food and nutrition isn’t just fuel for the here and now. It’s actually information for your body. You can either feed a disease or prevent one. If you treat your body like it’s a top performing car or jet, and you provide the nutrients to equip it like it is, you’ll last long and you’ll be able to perform better, longer, faster than those that don’t. Also, if you look at your gene pool in your family, if it’s riddled with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer – pick the disease – just know that it doesn’t have to be your destiny. It all starts with what you eat and the frequency in which you eat it. And that’s one of the reasons I got into the field of dietetics.

Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Erica Pinkney reaches for an apple at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s galley. It’s a new year; use this opportunity to start fresh for a new you.  (U.S. Navy photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville/Released)

 

LTJG – So, it’s about being cognizant of what you’re putting into your body and sort of having a plan.

LT – The majority of the time, yeah. Like I said, we [dietitians] are normal people. We like to have the same things that you do, but we’ve got to be cognizant of what – like I said, what is in your gene pool, then of course what you feed it either is going to help bring it out or can help prevent it.

LTJG – So this initiative – bringing registered dietitians TAD to commands – is this strictly for operational forces or is this open Navy-wide?

LT- By no means is this only operational. This initiative is for any command – shore or afloat – that would like to have better performing Sailors, and potentially increase productivity with less Sailors on FEP, and a healthier environment all-around. If you would like to know what all a dietitian can do to help, just ask one to come out to your command and see.

LTJG – Is there one location where we can get all of this information for requesting a registered dietitian?

LT – Yeah, absolutely. The MOA in its entirety is located on the Navy Nutrition web page under the title of CO’s Toolbox along with a sample request letter, a CO’s Checklist, which will help ensure that both the command and the dietitian are in agreement of what’s being asked – and make sure that is what they’re getting provided – in addition to that there is a world-wide dietitian locator. The website is located on the NPC webpage under Support and Services, or you can go to www.nutrition.navy.mil and it’ll bring the page right up.

A Culinary Specialist chops radishes in the galley aboard the Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Oak Hill (LSD 51). (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jessica L. Dowell/Released)

 

LTJG – Ok, perfect. Alright, is there anything else you’d like to add about the registered dietitian support to operational forces?

LT – Yes, and I’m glad you asked that, thanks. There are different types of dietitians in the Navy – for example, some of them are certified sports dietitians, there are certified strength and sports conditioning dietitians, diabetes educators, weight management specialists, and various other types, as well as general clinicians. So if you’re not sure what you’d like to have or you’re not sure if the dietitian in your area is one, please contact them. They’ll either let you know if they can provide what you’re looking for or they’ll know where you can find that one, and they’ll either put you in contact with them or give you a good idea of where they are. So definitely, recommend checking out the website for sure.

LTJG – Ok, absolutely. Alright, well thanks so much for letting us pick your brain today and Teaching us a little bit about how Navy registered dietitians can come out and support the fleet. For our listeners, for more information on Sailor 2025 and initiatives like this, go to CNP’s homepage on Navy.mil, MyNavy Portal, check out our Sailor to Sailor Newsletter, or visit us on Facebook and Twitter. And that’s @USNPeople

Thank you.

 

 

SAAPM 2018: Protecting our People Protects Our Mission

By Rear Adm. Karl Thomas
Director, 21st Century Sailor Office

As we enter SAAPM, we’d like to reflect on this year’s theme, Protecting our People Protects Our Mission. Each of us has a role to play in preventing, reporting and eliminating sexual assault. We are all accountable. We can protect our mission by ensuring everyone in the Department of the Navy is committed to advancing an environment where threatening behaviors, sexual harassment, hazing, bullying, and sexual assault are not tolerated, condoned or ignored.

We must encourage positive behaviors by recognizing acts that contribute to a supportive command climate. We must commit to possess the courage necessary to conduct all activities of our lives with respect for ourselves and our fellow Sailors. It’s up to us to hold ourselves and each other to the high standards expected of us by the Navy and the American public.

You can hear some of these same thoughts on the SAAPM podcast below.

 

Suicide Prevention Takes One Small Act to Save a Life

From U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs

This week, we talked with Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, Adm. Scott Swift and Fleet Master Chief Suz Whitman to discuss suicide prevention, the need to create a resilient workforce and eliminate barriers that prevent Sailors from seeking help.

“September is Suicide Prevention Month, but suicide prevention is a year-round mission, one in which all of us as shipmates have a role to play to eliminate suicide from our ranks and eliminate the barriers that prevent Sailors from seeking help.”
– Adm. Scott Swift
Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Adm. Swift:

Pacific Fleet Sailors and civilian Sailors, the first principle of my commander’s intent is for us to preserve a resilient workforce. A key to that is rejecting behaviors that place individuals at risk.

September is Suicide Prevention Month, but suicide prevention is a year-round mission, one in which all of us as shipmates have a role to play to eliminate suicide from our ranks and eliminate the barriers that prevent Sailors from seeking help.

Suicide risk reduction is tied to our general resilience efforts, such as maintaining healthy relationships, ensuring Sailors have a sense of belonging, cultivating healthy personal and professional goals, developing coping skills to more effectively manage stress, and timely intervention for persons at risk.

Examination of previous suicides has taught us that common risk factors such as relationship problems, career disruptions like legal problems or professional setbacks, and periods of transitions can all be contributors to someone making a destructive choice. In many cases, these leading indicators, or portions of them, were known by shipmates, but we were not able to connect the dots before a crisis occurred.

Toughness – the ability to resist being overcome by stress – and resilience – the ability to recover from struggles or setbacks – are part of our Navy heritage. They are essential to our mental, emotional and spiritual fitness. And just as with physical fitness, the key to being in optimal condition is through practice and preventive efforts.

Fleet Master Chief Whitman:

Chaplains, Fleet and Family Services, and embedded mental health programs can help you to develop good practices for your mental, emotional and spiritual fitness – so that when you experience difficult circumstances you will be prepared to handle them. Most importantly, if you find yourself contemplating suicide, please ask for help.

When it comes to suicide prevention, we are all leaders and we must look out for one another to recognize people at risk and have the courage to ask them if they are having thoughts of suicide or wanting to die.

Words matter. Anyone, regardless of rank may need help from time-to-time. It is important that we convey in our words and our actions that we’ll be there when you need us. Make words like “Every Sailor, Every Day”, “1 Small ACT”, and #BeThere be more than just campaign slogans, make them a part of our culture.

Adm. Swift:

If a fellow Sailor appears to be in need of help, reach out and help them. It’s what shipmates do. It only takes one small act to save a life.

Hurricane Irma Safety

While it is still too early to determine what direct impacts Hurricane Irma might have on the continental United States, everyone in hurricane-prone areas should take this time to know what to do before, during and after hurricanes.

Before

Be informed and know your hurricane terminology

  • Tropical depression: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds that do not exceed 38 mph.
  • Tropical storm: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 39-73 mph.
  • Hurricane: A system of clouds and thunderstorms with a defined surface circulation and sustained winds 74 mph or higher.
  • Storm surge: An abnormal rise of water pushed ashore by a storm, over and above the predicted astronomical tide. Storm surges, which are often the greatest threat to life and property, are affected by a number of complex factors and can vary in magnitude despite hurricane categories. For example, Hurricane Katrina, a category 3 hurricane, had a storm surge of 28 ft., while Hurricane Charley, a category 4 hurricane, had a storm surge of 6-8 ft.
  • Storm tide: A combination of storm surge with normal tide, increasing the amount of water (e.g., a 15-foot storm surge with a 2-foot normal tide creates a 17-foot storm tide).
  • Hurricane/tropical storm warning: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours in specified areas.
  • Hurricane/tropical storm watch: Hurricane/tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours in specified areas. Stay tuned to radio or TV for further information.
  • Short-term watches and warnings: Provide detailed information about specific threats during hurricanes, such as flash flooding or tornadoes.

Understand the categorization of hurricanes

Categorization adapted from the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale courtesy of the National Hurricane Center

  • Category 1: Winds 74-95 mph, 64-82 kt, 119-153 km/h, very dangerous winds will produce some damage.
  • Category 2: Winds 96-110 mph, 83-95 kt, 154-177 km/h, extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage.
  • Category 3: Winds 111-129 mph, 96-112 kt, 178-208 km/h, devastating damage will occur.
  • Category 4: Winds 130-156 mph, 113-136 kt, 209-251 km/h, catastrophic damage will occur, well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of roof structure and/or some exterior walls.
  • Category 5: Winds exceeding 157 mph, 137 kt, 252 km/h, catastrophic damage will occur, high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed with total roof failure and wall collapse.Category 3, 4, and 5 hurricanes are considered “major hurricanes.”

Understand conditions of readiness

Tropical Cyclone Conditions of Readiness (TCCOR) are the Navy’s guidelines for estimating how long a region has and the actions necessary before it will be hit by destructive winds. Destructive winds are defined as winds of 58 mph or greater. At each TCCOR level, installations and tenant commands have set actions or checklists to complete prior to the storms arrival. These checklists range from verifying recall procedures to closing facilities and sandbagging. Essential supplies can quickly sell out when a major storm is forecasted to hit the region, so it is vital for personnel to prepare for damaging storms before they establish themselves in the news cycle.

  • TCCOR 5: Indicates that we are in hurricane season. From June 1 to November 30, all vulnerable installations should maintain at a minimum TCCOR 5 levels of readiness.
  • TCCOR 4: Trend indicates possible threats of destructive winds are indicated within 72 hours.
  • TCCOR 3: Destructive winds of force indicated are possible within 48 hours.
  • TCCOR 2: Destructive winds of force indicated are anticipated within 24 hours.
  • TCCOR 1: Destructive winds of force indicated are occurring or anticipated within 12 hours.

 

  • Ensure your information is current in the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil.
  • Determine whether your property is in danger from tidal floods, storm surges, or dam failures, and take flood precautions.
  • Learn community evacuation routes and how to find higher ground.
  • Make a written family evacuation plan.
  • Make a written family communication plan in case you are separated. Keep in mind phone lines and cell phone towers may be down.
  • Make plans to secure your property:
    • Cover all of your home’s windows with permanent storm shutters, which offer the best protection for windows, or with 5/8” marine plywood, cut to fit and ready to install.
    • Install straps or additional clips to securely fasten your roof to the frame structure to reduce roof damage.
    • Trim trees and shrubs around your home so they are more wind resistant.
    • Clear loose and clogged rain gutters and downspouts.
    • Reinforce your garage doors to prevent dangerous and expensive structural damage.
    • Bring in all outdoor furniture, decorations, garbage cans, and anything else that is not tied down.
    • Build an emergency kit.

During

  • Avoid using the phone, except for serious emergencies.
  • Listen to the radio or TV for more information and further instructions.
  • Create a supply of water for sanitary and household purposes by filling bathtub and large containers.
  • Turn your refrigerator to the coldest setting and keep the door closed.
  • Turn off propane tanks, and utilities, if told to do so.
  • Moor your boat if time permits.

You should evacuate under the following conditions

  • If you live in a mobile home or temporary structure—such shelters are particularly hazardous during a hurricane no matter how well fastened to the ground.
  • If you live in a high-rise building—hurricane winds are stronger at higher elevations.
  • If you live on the coast, on a floodplain, near a river, or on an island waterway.
  • If told to do so by local authorities, following their instructions.

If you are told to evacuate

  • Never ignore an evacuation order.
  • Follow instructions and the guidelines given regarding times and routes.
  • Take only essential items and your emergency kit.
  • Turn off gas, electricity, and water if you have not already done so.
  • Disconnect all appliances.
  • Make sure your car’s gas tank is full.
  • Do not walk in moving water.
  • Do not drive in high water. (As little as six inches of water can cause loss of control and stalling of a vehicle).
  • Follow the designated evacuation plan and expect a high volume of traffic.

If you are not told to or cannot evacuate

  • Stay tuned to emergency stations on TV or radio.
  • Listen for further instructions.
  • Avoid elevators.
  • Seek shelter in a small interior room on the lowest level such as a bathroom, closet, or basement.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, and doors.
  • Lie on the floor under a table or another sturdy object.
  • Do not go outside until instructed to do so even if the storm is over and it seems calm. This could be the eye of the storm passing, and winds will pick up again.
  • When given the all clear, prepare to evacuate to a shelter or neighbor’s home if your home is damaged.
  • Once you are in a safe place, muster with your command if you are military or civilian personnel or a member of the selective reserves.

After

  • Listen to news reports to make sure water supplies are not contaminated.
  • Stay clear of flood waters (standing and moving) as they may be contaminated or deeper than expected.
  • Beware of downed power lines.
  • Avoid any roads where flood waters have receded as they may have weakened and could collapse under the weight of a car.
  • Be extremely cautious when entering buildings and homes as there may be unseen damage.
  • Clean and disinfect everything that was touched by flood water, as it can contain sewage and other contaminants.
  • After a declared emergency, register your needs with the Navy through the Navy Family Accountability and Assessment System (NFAAS) at https://navyfamily.navy.mil or call 1-877-414-5358 or 1-866-297-1971 (TDD).

Suicide Prevention: Act. Care. Treat.

Our measure of success really is how well our Sailors perform at their job. Ensuring they can come to work in a healthy environment. There are policies to set them up for success.

There are a lot of reasons members decide to take their own life. So words and thoughts matter, and pay attention to them.

 

MC2 Burleson: Welcome, I’m joined today by the director of the 21st Century Sailor office, Rear Adm. Karl Thomas to discuss his role as director, his expectations for Sailors and his plans to further the 21st century sailor program during his tenure. Sir, thank you for being here.

Rear Adm. Thomas: Thanks for having me.

MC2 Burleson: Sir, you have been here for a few months now. What are your long terms goals that you hope to accomplish during your tenure?

Rear Adm. Thomas: The 21st Century Sailor Office is responsible for a wide range of personnel policy, things like sexual harassment, sexual assault, suicide prevention, alcohol and drug abuse, and physical readiness. I tell my teams that our day job is to make sure those policies are current and they are relevant. Our measure of success really is how well our Sailors perform at their job. Ensuring they can come to work in a healthy environment. There are policies to set them up for success. My long-term goal really is about ensuring that every Sailor’s behavior is in line with our Navy core values and our Navy core attributes so that teams can be stronger, teams flourish. You can develop that unit pride that makes our Navy so special.

MC2 Burleson: Sir, as you know we are approaching Suicide Prevention Month. What is your message for Sailors for caring for themselves and caring for others?

Rear Adm. Thomas: The business and the lifestyle that we lead is not easy. We ask an awful lot of our Sailors and our leaders on a daily basis. It can be stressful. It can be work related stress; personal stress; social stress; financial stress and I would ask our Sailors to look out for one another. I would ask our leaders to find ways to reduce stress in the work environment. We need to have a place, an environment where Sailors feel comfortable bringing their challenges forward. We need our Sailors to feel comfortable. If they don’t feel well to go seek help. I would ask Sailors to look out if they notice somebody is hurting, to intervene and ask. It is really all about being human. It is about treating others like you would want to be treated, and being there for every Sailor every day, and follow and act. Act, care and treat.

MC2 Burleson: Sir, what should Sailors be looking for in their interactions with others –other Sailors, other family members, maybe their friends? What should we be looking for?

Rear Adm. Thomas: Suicide usually occurs in Sailors who are under a lot of stress and experiencing a multitude of different types of stress. It can be relationship challenges; it can be problems at work, both personal or professional. It can be career transitions, disciplinary, or legal issues, financial strain. There are a lot of reasons members decide to take their own life. So words and thoughts matter, and pay attention to them. If you hear something that concerns you, act on it, and ask if the person is doing all right. There is no harm in asking someone if they have a firearm. Unfortunately, about 60 percent of our members that die by a suicide use a firearm, so asking if they have a gun, asking if it’s locked up, asking if you can hold on to it or maybe take it to an armory. Those are all viable questions that may be that break the chain that prevents a suicide.

MC2 Burleson: Earlier this year the Navy began Sailor Assistance and Intercept for Life Program, or SAIL. What can you tell us about that program and what is means for Sailors?

Rear Adm. Thomas: SAIL is a great program. SAIL is a program we took from the Marine Corps and applied to the Navy. The critical 90 days following suicide related behavior the command will approach the Sailor and ask if they would like to be involved in the SAIL program. What is does is it hooks that Sailor up with a trained counselor at the Fleet and Family Service Center, and that counselor can talk to that Sailor on a frequent basis and maybe bridge that gap between the mental health appointments. It’s not replacing the mental health services that those individuals need, but it’s that care and contact that has a chance to intervene and just check up on you. Make sure you get the treatment you need and get you through those difficult 90 days so that we can get the Sailor back into the command and get them productive and make them feel good about themselves.

MC2 Burleson: Where can Sailors get more information about suicide prevention and the 21st Century Sailor Program?

Rear Adm. Thomas: This September is obviously suicide prevention month and we a website dedicated to that. It’s www.suicide.navy.mil. There is also a host of resources about the 21st Century Sailor Office on the NPC website. It will be coming to My Navy Portal in the near future. Visit those sites; ask questions. If you have concerns talk to your leadership. We want you to have a very safe September and the rest of the year. This is an opportunity for us to reenergize our knowledge about suicide awareness and take those small acts every day, and make sure that your shipmates are looking out for each other.

MC2 Burleson: Sir, thank you for being here and answering all the questions.

Rear Adm. Thomas: Thanks for having me.

MC2 Burleson: Thank you all for watching.