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NEWS | July 29, 2020

From the Top - Exemplifying the Art of Servant Leadership

By Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Kotz Navy Reserve Force Master Chief

Our Navy Reserve is such an unbelievable force for good. The mobilizations in support of the COVID-19 response for our Navy medical forces and Surge Maintenance (SurgeMain) units have put on display the need and power of having such tremendous talent in the strategic Reserve. We often use the mantras Strategic by Design and Operational by Necessity as calling cards for our Reserve force. These mantras provide a quick picture of how we get to the action in both a contingency and from day to day. Our Reserve force provides a tremendous level of operational support, but as a strategic force — we deliver!

This August will mark the end of Vice Adm. Luke McCollum’s time as Chief of Navy Reserve. He and I have traveled the globe together to meet with you as you serve our nation. I want you to know that I have the utmost respect and admiration for our commander. From the moment I met him, he has displayed such dedication for seeing the Navy and Navy Reserve through the eyes of a second class petty officer. Nearly every initiative and strategic focus has been about making the force better for Sailors who are subject to process and policy. We have had numerous conversations about what it takes to make a process better, or more importantly, how to ensure the voices in the ranks are heard. There are many achievements CNR should celebrate as he looks back on his tenure, but here are some initiatives he has championed for our Sailors that I am most notably proud.

Navy Reserve E-Lodging (NREL) — This application was born from an idea generated from the deckplate during CNR’s first year in office. He has harnessed over 1,000 ideas from the ranks and brought them back to the Pentagon for the staff to categorize and attack. This particular idea caught his eye because — as he would say — “This makes life easier for our newest Sailors.” NREL brought transparency and efficiency to drill weekend lodging procedures that was at the time a very confusing process.

Inactive Duty for Training (IDT-R) Pilot — Through the help of the National Navy Reserve Policy Board, CNR set to examine and break down the policy for reimbursing specific high-demand, low-density skills for travel reimbursement to drill. Other Reserve component services were utilizing this component of the Joint Travel Regulations and CNR wanted to as well. The pilot program was rolled out in 2019 for E-6 and below in critical roles to harness the utilization data. I am very proud to say CNR wanted this change in policy to specifically benefit our enlisted force to ensure our Sailors have access to what they need to serve with their units and increase warfighting readiness.

The Idea Portal — I would call this idea the crown jewel of CNR’s efforts. During our Ready to Win (R2W) action plan campaign, CNR wanted to ensure that innovation from the ranks had a more natural way to be seen by the Reserve forces staff to support a process improvement system. The Idea Portal was born to allow Sailors of all ranks to submit their ideas and provide their shipmates with a way to review them, make comments, and even rank them to help establish urgency and priority.

These three milestones during our commander’s tenure may seem trivial to the layperson. To us, as a Reserve force, they are groundbreaking and speak volumes about the leader who has been at the helm of our Navy Reserve. The idea of servant leadership is a philosophy or set of principles for some and for others it is a way of life. It has been a tremendous privilege for me to serve side-by-side a leader who embodies servant leadership. McCollum continually looked at our service through the eyes of our second class petty officers with one of his most familiar turns of phrase, “If you get it right for the second class, you get it right for the Navy!”

Fair Winds and Following Seas, Vice Adm. Luke McCollum.

Master Chief Petty Officer Chris Kotz
Navy Reserve Force Master Chief