MILLINGTON, Tenn. (NNS) -- Commanding officers, executive officers, command master chiefs and chief recruiters from each Navy recruiting district (NRD) and Navy talent acquisition group (NTAG) attended Navy Recruiting Command’s (NRC) All Commanding Officers Meeting, April 23-25.

The meeting is designed to allow NRC-led discussions on topics related to the future of outreach, goals, social media, and business processes within Navy recruiting.

“This event is perfect to disseminate information on a personal level, from the top down,” said Commander, NRC, Rear Adm. Brendan R. McLane. “The Navy is growing, and the recruiting enterprise has a difficult task to keep up with this substantial change. Bringing these leaders to headquarters to discuss ideas and remedy issues is a great way to meet the challenge.” 

The current goal for Navy recruiting is to bring in 39,000 new Sailors in support of the national policy to build a 355-ship Navy. The information passed on from this event will equip each region with new recruiting strategies and initiatives, including the new recruiting strategy “Navy Surge/Navy Swarm.”

Navy Surge/Navy Swarm is a large-scale event that brings top Navy recruiters from across the country to a consolidated event or place to recruit and spread Navy awareness and outreach. Out of the US population of 327.2 million, there are only around 375,000 people who are academically, physically and morally qualified to serve in the military. This outreach plan is focused on recruiting from this demographic.

More specifically, leadership discussed how the Navy is becoming more technologically advanced. NRC went into depth about why this is and about the growing need of recruiting information warfare, warrior challenge and nuclear-qualified Sailors. The incentives needed to bring in these highly qualified candidates, including a $40,000 enlistment bonus for nuclear candidates, were also discussed

The reason these incentives are being implemented is because recruiting is becoming more challenging in the modern world. The country’s strong economy and job growth is making the private sector more competitive, and most people in the US that want jobs are able to get them, making them less likely to see the military as an option.

“Further compounding the military recruiting challenge is the fact that other agencies - commercial industry, colleges, and universities - are all interested in the same target,” said McLane. “The Future Sailors we are trying to reach live in the digital domain and we've recalibrated strategies to meet them in those spaces. We have to be agile and adaptive in order to maintain our competitive edge in the recruiting marketplace. We will continue to aggressively seek innovative ways to reach the Centennial generation.”

During the meeting, NRC transformation team presented an updated schedule for the upcoming NRDs preparing their transition to the NTAG recruiting model. All Region West NRDs will transform first with Region East to follow. This sequence was adjusted to complete each Region’s transformation one at a time.

Included in the transformation brief was the new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) IT system that will replace the legacy Web R-Tools system. CRM is a faster and more reliable system that will be used by all commands by March of 2020 to better support the NTAG model.

NRD Seattle is the most recent NRD to convert to a NTAG. Using lessons learned from all preceding NRDs’ transformation processes, Seattle experienced the least amount of production disruption to date, which highlights NRC’s ability to work as an adaptive, and constantly learning, organization.

“This meeting shows us what we are doing from a larger perspective,” said Master Chief Navy Counselor Tony Peraza, chief recruiter of NTAG Nashville. “Because I have been recruiting for 21 years, I like to take in the different ideas, learn about the new opportunities, and work with the others that are in my same position. This benefits us by bringing different experiences and new ideas we can take back and teach our recruiters in the field.” 

Given the widespread nature of recruiting, Sailors can become isolated in their area of operations and may not typically have the opportunity to interact with others in their position. This is why meetings like this one become critical for learning from everyone else and sharing new ideas.

“This has been a great opportunity to bring everyone together and figure out where everyone is at in regards to the recruiting mission,” said National Chief Recruiter, Master Chief Navy Counselor Franklin Tiongco. “There are many things we can do via email, but gathering everyone in one room allows them to hear the information, take notes, ask questions, return to their commands and distribute that information.”

Many of these senior Sailors expressed the importance of this event and why it is significant for top leadership to meet on such a large scale.

“The best part about an event like this is getting to communicate with other’s in your same position,” said Cmdr. Peter Kelleher, commanding officer of NRD Los Angeles. “You get to learn what they are doing and see whether or not if you can implement their successful strategies to improve upon your command.”

Following the three-day event, these leaders returned to their regions to inform their staffs of what they learned and to enforce the new changes and guidance passed on from NRC headquarters.

Navy Recruiting Command consists of a command headquarters, three Navy Recruiting Regions, 18 Navy Recruiting Districts and eight Navy Talent Acquisition Groups that serve more than 1,330 recruiting stations across the world. Their combined goal is to attract the highest quality candidates to assure the ongoing success of America’s Navy.

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Updated March 1, 2017 (kbh)