Global Review: The “state of MSC”

The following blog was written by Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, Commander, Military Sealift Command. MSC’s Global Review is underway. The team is asking questions and gathering data to help define the state of MSC. Shannon talks about the extended team and some of the questions being asked to help build a more complete picture of the command.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 6, 2013) - Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command, visits with Able Seamen Andrew Vogelheim and James Coakley, civil service mariners assigned to USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). (U.S. Navy photo by Meghan Patrick Henderson

MEDITERRANEAN SEA (Jan. 6, 2013) – Rear Adm. T.K. Shannon, commander, Military Sealift Command, visits with Able Seamen Andrew Vogelheim and James Coakley, civil service mariners assigned to USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). (U.S. Navy photo by Meghan Patrick Henderson)

Each year, our president of the United States, our governors of most states and other chief executive officers deliver a “state of the federation” message to their constituents. Their messages are based on information gathered from all parts of their constituencies. That’s what we’re doing with our Global Review.

We’ve selected a core team of nine MSC personnel who share 130 years of MSC experience, then enhanced the team by adding virtual members who represent all areas of our command. These virtual members will add knowledge and data from each of their respective groups and regions.

The whole, extended team is seeking information that will help us assess MSC’s global laydown, staffing, organizational structure, training and operations. Before I can tell people what the “state of MSC” actually is, I’ve got to know myself. Our Global Review team members are our knowledge and data seekers. They’ll look closely at manpower, equipment, material and methods/processes. I want to know where our people are located and what skill sets they possess. Then I want to know if that’s the correct distribution and balance.

I also want to know if we have the right equipment and tools and whether what we have is in the correct locations. I want to know if we have adequate material resources and the right locations to store those resources. Then I want to know about our processes and procedures: which ones work, which don’t, and which could work if adjusted.

In an era of difficult budgets, it’s far better to control our own destiny than to let outsiders control it for us. Our Global Review team will help us do just that:  make sure our structure, people, material resources and processes match the reality in which we operate.

Lest you think we’re doing this from the top down, let me point out that I’m not just relying on our Global Review team to discover all this information. I’m actively seeking input from all our people, around the globe. I truly believe that feedback is the breakfast of champions. I can’t be everywhere all the time. A commander has to rely on his or her people, and we’ve got the best in the world.

And when it comes to feedback, I’m not limiting it to MSC people only. I met with the leadership of our maritime industry partners, our “industrial base,” last week. These are savvy people who know things that could help MSC serve our nation better. I asked them for feedback, too. I’m serious about this. It’s a different world than our mothers and fathers knew. We need to bring everything we can to make our MSC and our Navy as effective and efficient as possible.

Thanks for your service,

T.K. Shannon,
Rear Admiral, U.S. Navy
Commander, Military Sealift Command

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