Fort Belvoir, Virginia - Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Jonathan Greenert spoke Tuesday at the Association of Naval Services Officers (ANSO) Eastern Region Symposium at Fort Belvoir Officers' Club.

"There are exhaustive studies that say if you have a diverse organization, in thought, makeup and gender, you're the stronger organization," said Greenert. "Our people need to be diverse in background, experience and ideas. It's not just about the numbers; it's about getting to peak performance."

The three-day conference hosted approximately 125 sea-based armed services members, officers, enlisted, active reserve and retired. The annual conference's theme this year was "Education, Take a Step Forward!"

"I think what you do is noble and adds great value," said Greenert. "The Chief of Naval Personnel and I will work with organizations like yours to keep bringing people together, in a judicious and sensible way."

Backing this statement up, Greenert recently asked his staff to take a look at aligning affinity group events with other events taking place within the Navy to strategically and better coordinate support for significant affinity gatherings.

ANSO's Mission is to assist the Sea Services Chiefs' efforts in Hispanic workforce recruitment and retention by fostering the personal growth and professional development of officers, enlisted, and civilians; providing mentoring, networking, training, and educational opportunities; and engaging the Hispanic community through outreach initiatives.

"We've got to get involved to help people meet their milestones, so the right people can become leaders," said Greenert. "That way we can have leadership that is diverse, and eventually I can have a flag wardroom that is even more diverse. That way we can mine the talent, but also so people can look up to these role models and see that they have a future in the military."

Greenert stressed the importance diversity's role plays in the sea services' mission accomplishment amidst challenging global issues.

"Diversity is the strength of our Navy," said Greenert. "Sailors, Coastguardsmen and Marines operating together where it matters, when it matters."