CNO Explains U.S. Navy’s Compensation Reform
The U.S. Chief of Naval Operations testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) encouraging Congress to accept and implement the Department of Defense budget proposal recommendation to slow growth of service members’ pay and compensation.
“We cannot sustain our current personnel cost trajectory,” said Greenert. “We need to address this problem sooner rather than later.”
Greenert stated both he and Master Chief Petty Officer of the U.S. Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens heard in their travels around the fleet, a vast majority of Sailors and families believe that their compensation matches well with their civilian counterparts.
Since 2001, U.S. Navy manpower has shrunk significantly due to the elimination of 25 ships from the fleet. Meanwhile rising personnel costs have spiked which have been a burden on the Navy’s ability to balance investments, said Greenert.
“Our Sailors and families are not enthusiastic about compensation reform,” said Greenert. However, he added, “they were clear that their quality of service – their work environment – needs to improve.”
The DOD proposed compensation reforms are estimated to generate a savings to the U.S. Navy of $123 million in fiscal year 2015 and $3.1 billion over the Future Years Defense Plan (FYDP).
“I intend to reinvest any and all of these savings into Sailor Quality of Service enhancements,” Greenert said.
Greenert said quality of service enhancements resulting from proposed budget savings include: increasing sea pay, critical skills incentive pays; improving and constructing barracks, training buildings, MWR and fitness centers; providing school and trainings; purchasing tactical trainers and simulators; purchasing spare parts, tools and providing more maintenance opportunities.
“All of these reinvestments address ‘dissatisfiers’ in our Sailors’ quality of service,” said Greenert. “These enhancements help Sailors get their jobs done effectively and safely, while addressing our critical manning, training and equipping challenges.”
If Congress denies authority for the DOD compensation savings proposals, the U.S. Navy would be unable to enact Sailor quality of service improvements.
There would also be an additional bill of $4 billion resulting from pay raises. Greenert said that would compel the Navy to reduce readiness, shipbuilding and aircraft procurement even further.
“Our Navy would be less ready, less modern and less able to execute the missions outlined in the Defense Strategic Guidance,” said Greenert.
During the hearing it was evident these budget decisions are tough but necessary, Greenert explained. Under the current budget these choices are necessary to better balance Sailors’ needs to ensure the Navy remains forward and ready, he said.
Press Release, May 7, 2014; Image: US Navy