MSGID/GENADMIN/SECNAV WASHINGTON DC/-/SEP//
SUBJ/SECNAV 100-DAY MESSAGE//
RMKS/1. Shipmates, in my first 100 days as your Secretary, I have had
several opportunities to engage with many of you across the fleet. As some
of you may have heard during my confirmation hearing, re-establishing a
strong culture starting with leadership, trust up and down the chain of
command, upholding good order and discipline, and empowering people to
embrace their responsibilities have all been top priorities for me. My
conversations with many of you have filled me with great pride and confidence
in where our force is headed. These interactions reinforced what I already
knew when I took this job: our Navy and Marine Corps is composed of a
remarkably talented force of our finest Americans, executing difficult
missions with commitment, perseverance, and excellence every day.
I fully recognize you routinely perform your duties under austere conditions,
the challenges of which have only grown during the global Coronavirus Disease
2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. I am acutely aware of the strain that cancelled
port visits, increased family separation, and PCS challenges have had on you
as you've continued to protect our nation during this pandemic. I know many
of you joined the Navy to see the world as did I when I joined in 1990 and I
want each of you to be able to demonstrate to the world the best our nation
produces. I promise you we will loosen restrictions as soon as it is safe to
The best part of serving as our Secretary is getting out to the fleet and
talking with the remarkable Sailors and Marines who are accomplishing our
mission every day. I am in fact returning from Pearl Harbor as I write this.
I enjoy taking questions because it keeps me up-to-date on the issues that
each of you face.
Questions about educational benefits, particularly Tuition Assistance (TA),
are the most common queries I get. First, it is terrific that so many
Sailors and Marines are taking advantage of the educational opportunities
offered by our Department. It is one of the greatest benefits of serving in
uniform. Education not only makes us a more effective Naval Force, but
increases employment options for Sailors and Marines after leaving the
service. Last year, 43,000 personnel took advantage of TA so many, in fact,
that we ran out of TA money. Unfortunately, this meant that some TA requests
were denied, which disrupted many individual's college plans. To ensure that
every Sailor and Marine could apply for TA, we temporarily capped the number
of credit hours at 12 per year. In order to remove the cap, we have
requested more funding for the program to prevent future funding shortages.
I would like each of you to receive all the education you can complete.
We are also pursuing accreditation for the Navy Community College program so
that the courses you take can count towards a degree program. Additionally,
if your operational schedule permits, you will be able to take courses while
at sea or deployed through the Navy College Program for Afloat College
Education. This program currently offers 332 distance learning courses that
are self-contained and do not require internet connectivity.
Recently while in San Diego, I was also asked if women would be able to serve
on Columbia-Class submarines, our planned replacement for Ohio-Class
ballistic missile submarines. Yes! I am happy to report that berthing
facilities for Columbia are being designed to allow mixed gender crews,
allowing women to continue to integrate and excel in our submarine force.
Finally, I received a great question from a Sailor who was unable to take the
SAT or ACT due to testing center closures because of COVID-19; this meant his
Seaman to Admiral (STA-21) application was incomplete for reasons beyond his
control. Thanks to his question, your shipmates here in the Secretariat are
working to ensure that those who were unable to take the SATs or ACTs due to
COVID-19 will not be disadvantaged at the STA-21 selection board.
Please continue to ask questions like these they help identify the gaps and
the issues that are sometimes overlooked. My direction to leadership at all
levels is to provide responsive, transparent guidance ensuring you receive
the support you require to do your jobs to the best of your ability!
I am looking forward to meeting many more of you and hearing what is on your
mind as I travel throughout the fleet. I am committed to building an even
more capable force while improving the quality of life for you and your
families. Finally, I am looking forward to sharing with you some more
exciting announcements in the very near future. In the interim, continue to
do the great job you are doing every day the one I tell all Americans I meet
how proud I am of each of you. And as always, thank you for all that you do
to protect our nation, around the world every minute of every day. It is the
greatest honor to serve at your side. Full speed ahead!
2. Released by the Honorable Kenneth J. Braithwaite, Secretary of the