Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. John Richardson and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens visited Sailors and toured naval activities in Norfolk, Va. Feb. 24.
During a tour of BAE Systems Ship Repair Norfolk, CNO met with company leaders, shipbuilders repair personnel and Sailors repair to discuss current shipyard opportunities and challenges.
"The workers who repair our ships, they are the foundation for our readiness," said Richardson. "It is absolutely critical that everybody there understands how valuable they are to the Navy and their contribution to national security."
CNO and MCPON also held an all‐hands call with Sailors at Naval Station Norfolk to discuss the Navy's recently released guidance 'A Design for Maintaining Maritime Superiority,' and to answer Sailors' questions.
A number of Sailors in the audience and via social media asked about the ongoing rating name change working group led by MCPON and several master chiefs from around the Fleet
"I think it's a natural step in the larger program to integrate women into the services," said Richardson. "The MCPON and senior enlisted leadership have taken this on and I'm very confident we're going to get to the right place on this."
MCPON added, "I asked CNO if I could lead this effort because it's going to affect just about everybody that's sitting in here. The direction has been given by the SECNAV and we want to do the best we can to provide him some good recommendations."
Sailors also asked about the Optimized Fleet Response Plan and work to get planned deployment lengths back to seven months.
"The plan is that by the end of this year nobody will be scheduled for more than a seven-month deployment," said Richardson. "But the world gets a vote. We have to be open to the possibility that world events will cause us to react and respond, and that's why we have a Navy."
The waterfront portion of the trip concluded at Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) where CNO met with Fleet leadership to discuss efforts to improve learning and training geared towards strengthening naval power at and from the sea.
CNO and MCPON wrapped up the visit at an event hosted by the Navy League, reinforcing the Navy's partnership with the organization.