Norfolk Sailors Voice Frustrations During Discussion With Chief of Naval Personnel


Delayed travel claims, difficulty accessing learning material when deployed, and unreliable programs dominated discussions among Norfolk sailors and the Chief of Naval Personnel during an “all hands call” Thursday.

More than 350 sailors gathered at Naval Station Norfolk’s Visa Point Conference Center to voice their frustrations with sluggish pay and personnel systems to Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman.

“All of your questions are incredibly valid. And all of them point to the shortcomings of our current systems,” Cheeseman said.

His office, Cheeseman said, is working to “simplify the culture of excellence.” This includes evaluating the efficiency of administrative processes, identifying areas where approval and resolution processes can be condensed and allocating the necessary resources to staff the MyNavy call center.

“If that means we need to buy more uniformed people and put them back in the budget so you have confidence that your email or call is handled at the center, or that there is some level of expertise to answer the question initially or get it on to the next person to get an expeditious response — we are just not there yet,” Cheeseman said.

One attendee highlighted issues with Ask MyNavy Career Center, saying she requested a corrected statement of service three times over the course of 11 months, only for her case to be closed without reaching a resolution each time. The issue is preventing her from receiving back pay she is owed.

His office is reevaluating the Navy’s call center model, and is working to recruit, hire and train 275 tech support staff members, a process he said will “take time.”

The admiral also discussed his office’s work to modernize the Navy’s human relations and information technology systems. Among the changes Cheeseman is working to implement is streamlining all the Navy’s personnel programs and services into one access point.

“In the end, the absolute vision of MyNavyHR is producing a mission focused sailor … So how do we unburden sailors and unburden commands, make sure all that stuff is taken care of, so when we ask them to go into harm’s way they are not worried about their (Basic Allowance for Housing) or travel claims?” Cheeseman said.

Another sailor who spoke said while new systems are great, it is a hope that the systems are “ready for execution when we use them,” as he described faulty and unreliable personnel programs.

“It kind of damages retention. People just get exhausted dealing with things like this,” he said.

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