Monday, December 21, 2009

"Anchor up, Chiefs !!"

MCPON West’s message

Pass to all command master chiefs, chiefs of the boat, command senior chiefs and senior enlisted leaders and conduct training on CPO standards and Navy core values within the CPO mess.

Senior enlisted leaders, during the past several weeks we’ve had several incidents of CPO misconduct. Also during the past year, CPOs have been involved in several incidents regarding DUIs, sexual assaults, domestic violence, fraternization and general misconduct. This is unacceptable within our mess and must stop immediately.

Additionally, during the past year we’ve detached for cause ten CMCs and COBs for some of the same practices mentioned above, as well as poor performance in leading a mess.

CPO DUIs are a mess failure, and a leadership issue that must be addressed. As a mess, we have averaged 54 per year since 2005. This represents a trend and average we must reverse now. This number indicates that some within our mess are not looking after themselves or one another. There is no doubt in my mind that this type of conduct has a negative effect on the Sailors we lead.

As chiefs, we are the leaders and bearers of standards for our sailors twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The way we live our core values and Navy ethos are emulated by the Sailors we are privileged to lead.

I’ve asked each fleet and force master chief to brief me on any CPO involved in a DUI, sexual assault, domestic violence, fraternization or general misconduct. This brief will explain how the CMC and the mess involved expect to provide a course correction so this doesn’t reoccur. This process will be implemented in a manner that does not interfere with ongoing investigations and respects the authority of the chain of command to take administrative or disciplinary action as appropriate.

Shipmates, overall our mess remains strong. You are leading this Navy and doing it well, but even one miscue from a chief petty officer resonates and reflects poorly on the entire chief’s mess and our great Navy.

We as leaders have the responsibility to uphold the credibility this mess has earned over the course of a century. Leadership is counting on you, your Sailors are counting on you and I am counting on you.

Keep an eye on one another, take swift and appropriate action if you see someone steering the wrong course, don’t be afraid to ask questions if you see something that your instincts tell you may be unusual, and always set the standards for the Sailors you serve.

Chiefs, anchor up.


MCPON and I are on the same page. I take credit for coining this phrase ("ANCHOR UP") several years ago and it was published in my September 2007 USNI PROCEEDINGS article "Anchor Up, Chiefs. Reset Your Mess" - just in time for the promotion of the FY08 Chief Petty Officers. You can read it HERE at the Chief's own GOATLOCKER website. I am honored that the Chiefs thought enough of the article to post it for their Mess to read.


Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

I do not always utter the words that please people and I will continue with that effort in this post. Even before I retired from the Navy in 1978 I had recognized long before that time, that the typical Chief Petty Officer had begun to lose the prestige and leadership position that they once held in the Navy, and after considerable thought and contemplation I came to the conclusion that a great deal of what was taking place was the degradation of leadership within the Navy. When the CNO allows any enlisted person to voice his/her opinion and bypasses the chain of command in doing so it upsets the system that has been in place for a couple of hundred years, and if you do not think that is true, I will state emphatically that you are wrong. You, Captain, have spoken recently of how even lower level enlisted personnel might question an Officer, even their Commanding Officer, at any time, and possibly get by with it without any punitive action taking place. The average Bluejacket will do his best to get his way and there was a time in the past when he was thwarted in that effort in order to maintain the good order an discipline of the Navy. It only takes 10 or 12 years for that insolent young Sailor to become a CPO, and now he/she considers themselves top dog with the ability to do and say what they consider to be proper. It really discourages me to realize that my Navy has come to this point where the CPO mess is held responsible for the lack of leadership and responsibility to carry out the mission of the Navy. This falacy was generated from a much higher level.

Very Respectfully,

Anonymous said...

I think it is more of the "Old Boy's Network" than anything else. I have heard the following statement, "I'm a Chief, what can you do to me?" so many times I am sick of it. What happens to a PO1 when he goes to mast for DUI, he gets busted to PO2. What happens to a CPO when he goes to mast for DUI, 99 out of a 100 times its just a letter of reprimand. Why are they not getting busted to PO1? Oh that's right, they are CPO's. This kind of "I'm a CPO so I am protected" mindset has got to come to an end. There are sailors out there striving to become Chiefs, not because of the increased leadership potential, but the possibility of becoming a member of the "Good Old Boy's" network.

jeremy andersen said...

Why aren't you "anonoymous" folks brave enough to say your name? Maybe focus more on what you could do to become a chief rather than point out a few people's down falls?

CS2 Andersen, Jeremy (SW)