MCPON: Leadership has no paygrade

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Story Number: NNS140325-15Release Date: 3/25/2014 2:40:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Martin L. Carey, Office of the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Mike Stevens spoke with 13 Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) cadets at the University of Virginia March 21.

MCPON began his day with the future naval officers, talking about the special role leaders play in our Navy.

"One of the tenants of my 'Zeroing in on Excellence' initiative is developing leaders, and it's important that we recognize that leadership has no rank or paygrade," he said. "From the most junior to the most senior Sailor, it is our responsibility to continue developing as leaders."

The initiative provides Sailors a sturdy framework to build sound, durable readiness by developing leaders, having good order and discipline, and controlling what they own.

A cadet, asked about sexual assault in the Navy and what is being done to those who are accused.

MCPON answered, "Navy leadership will continue to investigate sexual assault cases, and if a person is found guilty, they will be held to the highest level of accountability."

Cyber threats and the potential security risks associated with them were also discussed.

"Information dominance is one area in the Navy that is continuing to grow," said Stevens. "There's a solid commitment to create capabilities and capacities that deter cyber threats."

MCPON had lunch with the cadets, NROTC Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Cashman, and Executive Officer Cmdr. Mike Kunkel, before heading to visit with Sailors at Navy Recruiting District Richmond.

Stevens held a unique all-hands call with first class petty officers, chief petty officers, and naval officers from Navy Recruiting District Richmond.

Typically, all-hands calls do not include officers, but Stevens recognized and optimized the opportunity for candid dialogue among the ranks. The audience asked about CPO 365 training, the status of the Navy, and made suggestions regarding chief petty officer profile sheets.

"It's great having the opportunity to come down here and have a conversation with all of you and hear what's on your minds, to know what keeps you awake at night," Stevens said.

MCPON discussed his 'Zeroing in on Excellence' initiative with this group of your leaders as well. Stevens asked the crowd of approximately 150 Sailors for their thoughts on the initiative and asked that they review it regularly.

Stevens was asked if there are plans to incorporate junior petty officers into CPO 365 training.

"I have no intentions to lead that effort, however, I encourage our first class petty officers to take what they've learned from the training and pay it forward with our junior leaders," he said.

A Sailor made a recommendation regarding chief petty officer rating exam profile sheets. He suggested adding a note at the bottom, explaining why the candidate wasn't selected for advancement.

"Making chief petty officer is no mystery," said Stevens. "Sustained superior performance is a key factor among those who see their name on the chief petty officer advancement list each year."

MCPON fielded a question about the future of enlisted and officer relationships.

"Distinct separation between officer and enlisted is necessary to establish and carry out orders and maintain good order and discipline," said Stevens. "A relationship that becomes too close can create a sense of familiarity that may fuel contempt, and when you have contempt, you often have a break down of good order and discipline."

Stevens acknowledged the professional similarities that officer and enlisted ranks share. "I believe the professional expertise and educational gap has significantly closed over the past twenty years," he said. "I think this similarity has significantly strengthened our force."

MCPON concluded the all-hands call by discussing his foundations to success. He asked the Sailors to work hard, stay out of trouble, and be a good and decent person.

"I truly believe that if Sailors commit themselves to these fundamentals, it would mitigate many of the problems that we face in the Navy," he said. "By working hard, staying out of trouble and being a good and decent person, we can only become a better and stronger Navy as a whole."

For more information on the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy visit

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