By Kaylee LaRocque
NAS Jacksonville Public Affairs Officer
Vice Chief of Naval Operations (VCNO) Adm. Bill Moran visited Naval Air Station Jacksonville May 30 to get a firsthand look at the new MQ-4C Triton Mission Control Center and meet Sailors and civilians during several all-hands calls.
During his first all hands call, the admiral greeted maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircrew and instructors with praise for their achievements in executing their missions.
He also discussed an increasingly competitive security environment, but highlighted where our Navy still maintains its edge.
"We continue to work on technology, but we are far ahead of our adversaries when it comes to people," said Moran. "That is the one big advantage we have over everyone else. Our people are experienced, professional, able, smart and well-led. If you look back on the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway on their 75th Anniversary, we were pretty lucky in both those battles because of our people taking risks. On Memorial Day, we remembered Americans who lost their lives fighting for our country. It's a dangerous business. We have to be deadly serious and continue to be competitive. If you look back at history when the world seemed relatively normal at peace, and then suddenly it explodes with something bigger, well we have to be ready for that."
Other issues Moran touched on included the defense budget, squadron collateral duties, manpower, training, new platforms, sea duty ratings and the new retirement system as they pertain to mission readiness.
The admiral stressed the importance of being more proficient warfighters.
"We recently polled the fleet and asked every command what collateral duties they had. We received list after list," said Moran. "Many of these will be going away. We need to make sure we are incentivizing the right things, which is a focus on warfighting."
Later, at a visit to the Triton Mission Control Center, Moran was briefed by Unmanned Patrol Squadron 19 Executive Officer Cmdr. John LeVoy on how the center will function in the future regarding manpower, working hours and mission planning and execution. LeVoy also discussed how the aircraft would collect and disseminate intelligence to fleet customers.
At a second all-hands call, the admiral thanked the security force, firefighters and civilian workforce for their dedication and hard work, discussed current world affairs, then opened the floor to questions.
Sailors asked about the Navy's evaluation and fitness reports system, which eliminates the current ranking system and its associated reporting timelines, promotes regular counseling and emphasizes performance assessment.
"We are currently testing the new system in a pilot program before we roll it out to the fleet," said Moran. "We plan to shift to the new program within a year."
He also urged Sailors who have less than 12 years of service to look at the new retirement program but to do the math and make their own best decision.
The admiral also used the opportunity to address social media misbehavior. "What we have to fix and what you have to own for us is self-policing - calling out one another and holding each another accountable," said Moran. "If the behavior doesn't pass the test at your dinner table, it's that simple."
In closing, Moran stressed the importance of being ready. "I want to thank you for being willing to sacrifice your life for this country," he said. "If you are not there, then find something else. We have to be all in and ready. We don't know what tonight will bring. We need everyone on the team pulling their weight."