By Keiichi Adachi, FLEACT, Yokosuka Public Affairs
U.S. Naval Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center (SRF-JRMC) Commanding Officer Capt. Michael Ballou recently expanded captain’s calls in order to reach more Master Labor Contract (MLC) employees. The first captain’s call open to the MLC ranks was for SRF-JRMC Boiler/Fitting Group Production Shops, December 2013. Since then, Ballou held additional captain’s calls to accommodate the nearly 2,000 SRF-JRMC Production Shop and support c ode MLC employees. SRF-JRMC is the largest employer of MLC employees.
Prior to expanding captain’s call, Ballou held monthly meetings with the long-standing SRF-JRMC employee council.
During these meetings, non-supervisory representatives from each shop and support code bring issues and concerns raised by their fellow employees to the commanding officer. Ballou addresses the issues and concerns with the employee council, as well as briefing the members on important command matters. The representatives then return to their shops and codes to share the information with their peers.
Through the employee council, the desire to know more about project management and the SRF-JRMC 2014 strategic plan were two topics that MLC representatives brought to Ballou’s attention. To reach more MLC employees and address concerns such as these, Ballou first implemented a quarterly captain’s call for senior MLC leadership from all departments.
Seeing a need to increase communications, captain’s call for all SRF-JRMC MLC employees was most recently added.
This variety of forum for captain’s calls allows the commanding officer to address concerns about “hot topics” such as the implementation of project management, its effect on work processes, and subsequent organization structure changes at the appropriate level with both supervisors and “deck plate employees”. It also offers MLC employees the opportunity to meet directly with the commanding officer and to raise any questions and concerns they want the commanding officer to address. The expanded captain’s calls open a line of communication for all levels of MLC employees at SRF-JRMC, making the commanding officer more accessible.
In response to questions raised about the SRF-JRMC 2014 Strategic Plan, Ballou shared plan focus areas and their importance at captain’s call. “To deliver continuous quality support to the Fleet in 2014 safely, on time, and under budget, we will continue to pursue our tactical goals in the three strategic areas. These are, ‘provide our people the right knowledge, skills and abilities to build confidence and gain responsibility’, ‘continuously improve our work processes to increase productivity’, and ‘continuously improve current and future ship maintenance and modernization capability’.”
“As the primary maintenance provider for the 7th Fleet, SRF-JRMC must always be successful in providing reliable operational readiness to the 7th Fleet now and in the future,” said Ballou. “To uphold SRF-JRMC’s mission, ‘Keep the 7th Fleet Operationally Ready,’ alignment of the strategic plan with the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) navigation plan is vital. Knowing the path CNO has laid out for the Navy will allow us to ensure we are supporting CNO priorities as we begin executing our 2014 Goals in all our strategic areas.”
Ballou concluded his remarks on the strategic plan.
“Please take the time to understand our strategic plan and goals – if you have any questions or concerns contact your chain-of-command,” said Ballou. “All questions and concerns will be brought to the Business and Strategic Plan Office and then to myself to address to you.”
While SRF-JRMC captain’s calls have opened new lines of communication, Ballou remains steadfast in reinforcing use of the chain-of-command for daily communications throughout SRF-JRMC.