Story Number: NNS140326-11Release Date: 3/26/2014 2:43:00 PM
By Midshipman 2nd Class Shelby N. Smith, University of Virginia NROTC Unit Public Affairs
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NNS) -- The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Michael Stevens visited the University of Virginia (UVA) Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) unit to discuss foundations of success, and his opinion on current affairs in the Navy, March 21.
Stevens has served in the Navy for more than 31 years and was an aviation structural mechanic and helicopter crew chief prior to becoming MCPON. As the top enlisted Sailor, he spends many days each year traveling, visiting and talking to Sailors around the world as well as advising policymakers on Navy and Department of Defense issues.
Stevens discussed key concerns in today's Navy and Marine Corps with the UVA midshipmen such as; sexual assault, the chain of command, the culture of demilitarization among civilians, potential threats, and the idea of information dominance. Stevens provided personal and professional opinions and also offered advice to the midshipmen on becoming future leaders and officers.
"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 pay grade," he said. "From the most junior to the most senior Sailor, it is our responsibility to continue developing as leaders."
Stevens approached the topic of the demilitarization of culture within civilian populations by explaining how the lack of explicit threats gives people the impression that defense spending is unnecessary. Stevens said a civilian's perspective without explicit threats will eventually evolve to believe the world is safe. However, the Navy's continued experience on deployment has clearly shown otherwise.
Stevens provided several more pieces of advice to the midshipmen to keep in mind as future officers. He emphasized the foundations for successes are; to work hard, to stay out of trouble, and to be a good and decent person to yourself and those around you.
"Master Chief Petty Officer Stevens clearly noted the issues we are facing as a service, and very explicitly told us what he believed needed to be done by the next generation of officers to keep the Naval Service going in the right direction," said Midshipman 4th Class Ryan O'Connor. "It was a point of view that I thought was invaluable for individuals in our position."
The NROTC program, is overseen by, Naval Service Training Command (NSTC) headquartered on Naval Station Great Lakes, Ill. The program was established to develop midshipmen mentally, morally and physically and to imbue them with the highest ideals of duty, loyalty and Navy core values in order to commission college graduates as Naval officers who possess a basic professional background, are motivated toward careers in the Naval service and have a potential for future development in mind and character so as to assume the highest responsibilities of command, citizenship and government.
NSTC also oversees the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps at more than 160 colleges and universities, Officer Training Command at Naval Station Newport, R.I., and Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and Navy National Defense Cadet Corps citizenship development programs at more than 600 high schools worldwide. NSTC is also ultimately in charge of Recruit Training Command, the Navy's only boot camp, also located on Naval Station Great Lakes.