Groton, Connecticut - The Chief of Naval Personnel discussed manpower issues with crew members from two Los Angeles-class submarines during a pierside all-hands call June 11, which wrapped up a two-day visit to Groton.
Vice Adm. Bill Moran spoke to 150 Sailors from USS Toledo (SSN 769) and USS Pittsburgh (SSN 720). He also met separately with Groton-area senior enlisted leaders, waterfront support personnel, submarine school students, and other Sailors.
This was Moran's first trip to Naval Submarine Base New London since assuming responsibility for Navy manpower readiness last August.
"To come up here to the cradle of the submarine force here in Groton is really special," said Moran. "I think it's pretty clear from our [Chief of Naval Operations] just how important submarines are to the United States.
"He likes to say we have to own the undersea domain. We own it now, we have owned it for decades, and we've got to own it far into the future."
Moran arrived in Groton late Tuesday morning. He started off enjoying a lunch with enlisted Sailors from 20 different commands in the base galley.
"One of our number one priorities is to engage with the fleet," said Fleet Master Chief April Beldo, senior enlisted leader at Navy Personnel Command (NPC). Beldo and three other NPC personnel accompanied Moran.
"We want to get out here and understand if we're meeting Sailors' needs," she added.
The visit included walkthroughs of submarine maintenance and support facilities, Naval Submarine School training spaces, and a tour of Historic Ship Nautilus, the Navy's first nuclear-powered submarine.
After touring Virginia-class attack submarine USS Missouri (SSN 780) on Wednesday, Moran boarded Toledo to eat lunch with enlisted crew members.
"From what I've seen in the day-and-a-half I've been here in Groton, there is no doubt in my mind that we have the best equipment and the best people. The training here is as good as I've seen anywhere in the Navy," Moran said to Toledo and Pittsburgh crew members who gathered around him on the pier following lunch.
Moran said his job is to make sure the Navy takes care of Sailors and their families. He discussed a 25 percent sea-pay increase that went into effect last month.
"All the sea-pay tables were bumped up 25 percent starting May 1," he said.
Moran also discussed recent changes to enlisted advancement policy, including a new formula for the Final Multiple Score (FMS) and changes to the Command Advancement Program (CAP).
On May 15, NPC announced the advancement exam will become the largest factor considered for advancement to E4 and E5 in the new formula, which increases the exam's weight by eight percent.
For advancement to E6, the Performance Mark Average (PMA) becomes the largest factor and will account for 50 percent of the FMS determination. PMA will account for 60 percent of the total FMS for advancement to E7.
"It's not all about performance, it's about more weight toward performance," said Moran.
"As you move up the line to chief, the value of the test goes down significantly and the value of your performance evaluations - how your chief's mess and command triad value your performance - goes up significantly."
CAP quotas haven't changed, said Moran. What has changed is that Sailors can only be capped between July and September.
"The real simple reason for that is if we know ahead of the September and March exam cycles what quotas have been filled up by the CAP in and throughout the fleet, then we'll have a better and more precise prediction about what the quotas will be like in September and March," he said.
Moran also addressed questions from Sailors about rumored realignments for various ratings. In response he said, "We're going to stay where we are. We've had a lot of change in the last 10 years, and I'm interested in just stabilizing the force right now."
Master Chief Electronics Technician Joe Wilt, chief of the boat for Toledo, asked Moran to consider reestablishing the torpedoman's mate rating for submarines. The Navy merged torpedoman's mate for submarines with machinist's mate in 1997.
Moran said he would relay Wilt's request to senior Navy leadership this week.