USA: Assistant Secretary of Navy for M&RA Visits Submarine Force

Assistant Secretary of Navy for M&RA Visits Submarine Force

Assistant Secretary (ASN) of the Navy for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA) visited Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay, Ga., April 10, to host a town hall for service members stationed aboard the base.

Juan M. Garcia III addressed more than 400 Sailors and Marines attending the town hall.

Garcia discussed topics of importance to many Sailors and Marines, including enlisted retention boards, tuition assistance and the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.

“At a time of enormous change in the Navy and Marine Corps which includes a new budget, a new national defense strategy and significant personnel policy changes, we need to address some possible misperceptions, give you the ground truth as we know it and hopefully alleviate some anxiety,” said Garcia.

Second, we’re here to introduce this group of folks to the new 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative,” he said. “More than anything, we’re here to thank you for the incredible work you’re doing.”

The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative has five core areas: safety, physical fitness, inclusion, readiness and continuum of service. Though Garcia addressed each of these topics, he focused on submarine force’s readiness and mission capabilities.

From integrating female Sailors into the submarine force to tobacco cessation in all submarines, and the recent successful submerged launch of an unarmed Trident II D5 missile aboard USS Tennessee (SSB 734), Garcia said the submarine force is already leading the way in many of the areas covered by the 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative.

“The Navy is executing an incredibly broad mission set,” said Garcia. “In one week, the submarine force helped in Operation Tomodachi to prevent an apocalyptic meltdown of a nuclear reactor in Japan. USS Florida was off the coast of Libya during Operation Odyssey Dawn to stop a ruthless dictator from massacring his own people. Two submarines were sent to the polar cap to understand the implications of global warming. No other Navy in the world has the skill or ability to do this at one time.”

Cpl. Joshua Derrick of Marine Corps Security Force Battalion said the town hall was positive and did rest many of his concerns, primarily about retirement benefits.

Hearing that current active-duty Marines will receive a grandfather clause to their retirement benefits is a huge relief to me and my family,” said Derrick. “If the retirement pay was changed from what I was initially promised, it would make me give some serious thought to leaving the Corps when it’s time to reenlist.”

Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class(SS) Rodney Burnett of USS Maryland (SSBN 738) said he appreciated Garcia taking time to discuss the future goals and plans of the Navy based on the lessons learned from the last decade.

The initiatives in the 21st century model helped in my decision to reenlist recently,” said Burnett, who had read about the initiative before recommitting to the Navy. “I’ve been in since 2008, and the Navy is a long-term career option for me, so I’m very interested in the benefits and compensations the Navy can offer me.”

The 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative consolidates a set of objectives and policies, new and existing, to maximize Sailor and Marine personal readiness, build resiliency and hone the most combat-effective force in the history of the Navy and Marine Corps.

Naval Today Staff , April 12, 2012; Image: navy