MSC: What to expect in 2014

The following blog was written by Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command. Weathering the past year was not easy for MSC employees. Concern is evident about what the year ahead will bring. We will be strong together, helping each other through the rough spots because our MSC team is an extraordinary family.

ShannonAs we move toward January 2014, I believe we can all agree that 2013 was a hard year. We all felt the impact of the budget constraints of sequestration, as well as a widespread DOD hiring freeze, followed by the prolonged threat of furlough and then the actual reality.  It was a tough year personally, professionally and financially for most of you. 

To understand the impact of this summer’s furlough on the MSC family, we conducted a comprehensive impact study. When we were briefed on the results, they confirmed what we suspected — employee stress levels rose during the furlough, and they remain high even three months afterward. The study also indicated that our MSC employees lost a large chunk of money, and some took on new debt to cover the financial impact of the furlough. The holiday season may be a little tighter and less joyous as a result.

I want you to know that I understand the impact of all this on your personal and professional quality of life. I also want you to know that the report identified the obvious – you did a first class job despite the added stress – pulling together as the great team that you are. You worked hard to allow MSC to succeed in its mission, and I want you and your families to know that you are the best!

Whether you were afloat or ashore this past year, your strength, selflessness and patriotism once again earned my deep respect. I was – and still am – very thankful for your commitment to our command goals. I am proud to serve with this fantastic family of men and women who are all dedicated to making MSC the best that it can be.

As we look forward to 2014, I believe we need to be both cautious and hopeful. We need to continue to practice frugality with our funding – looking for ways to conserve our financial resources to ensure we offer the best value we can for our customers’ dollars. But we can be hopeful because  Congress is working to ease the sequestration burden.

I have talked about our MSC Global Review for some time now. As the review moves forward, I ask each of you to “lean in” when called upon by the team as they seek information, history, current perceptions, ideas and facts about who we are as a command. We want to ensure that we are structured appropriately and efficiently as we continue our mission into the future.             

When our MSC Global Review team members focus on your work group or area, please do your best to support their data gathering. We all need to be involved in – and proud of – the product the Global Review team will produce. It needs to be reflective of the best MSC can offer in terms of customer support and efficiency.

You are a superb team, and I urge you to continue to look for ways that we can improve – ways for us to be more efficient – ways for us to continue to deliver on our MSC mission as we move together into 2014.

 Happy Holidays and thanks for your service,

T.K. Shannon

Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy

Commander, Military Sealift Command

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