The U.S. Navy is the world’s most powerful fighting force. While there is no doubt that it dominates the seas, the underlying maintenance culture of the Navy threatens its ability to respond immediately and reliably. In addition, the Navy is beginning an expansion phase, bringing in new sailors and trying to retain the best existing talent. To do this effectively, it must revamp its rerating system to persuade individuals who otherwise would leave that there is a place for them if they “Stay Navy.”
Traditionally, when speaking about changing the Navy’s culture, people say the change must be made “from the deckplates up.” This jibes with the concept that “chiefs run the Navy”—they are the deckplate leaders, so any change to the Navy’s maintenance culture must begin with the chiefs’ mess.