The Navy Supply Community (Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP), Supply Corps, and supply enlisted) is composed of 39,000 talented, dedicated and diverse civilian and military business professionals across many facets of service. Despite our varied backgrounds, we must share a common understanding of ethical principles and moral conduct to underpin our delivery of operational readiness and quality-of-life services to our maritime forces globally. Ethical decision making generates trust, which is essential to creating an ethical community. In turn, trust requires that all individuals act according to the same ethical standards, and lack of adherence or enforcement of the standards creates mistrust among members of the organization. Therefore, as a supply community, it is imperative that ethical decision making drives our actions; whether we are making transactions at a ships store or negotiating complicated contracts overseas.
As our military grows smaller, a commitment to excellence is paramount. We must work harder and smarter every day. In a climate of dwindling resources, we will face many new stressors. Hard choices will have to be made in areas of procurement, force structure, and training. The Navy supply community has a strong tradition of conducting business in the highest ethical manner, being honest and truthful in our dealings with each other and with those outside the Navy, and acting in the best interests of our nation. I have faith that we will continue to do so. However, no organization, especially one as large and geographically dispersed as ours, maintains excellence in ethics without constant vigilance, good training and education, and a willingness to make the difficult decisions to do the right thing.
With this in mind, we have established the Navy Supply Community Committee on Ethics to deeply examine the role of ethics in our day-to-day business. This committee will foster moral excellence, develop training, and champion ethics across our community. The committee’s membership is led by Rear Adm. Jonathan Yuen, Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command and Chief of Supply Corps, and myself, and includes additional members representing both civilian and military personnel from various organizations throughout Department of the Navy. The goals of the committee are:
• Drive accountability into the ethos of the Naval supply community
• Develop and/or socialize cross-enterprise/community ethics awareness initiatives
• Engage with the Department of Defense (DoD) and Navy ethics organizations such as the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center, and the Navy Center for Service Support, to address ethics issues facing the NAVSUP Enterprise workforce/SC community
• Resolve common intersecting ethics issues which impact Naval warfighting Readiness
In the coming months, you will be hearing more about this committee and our focus on ethics and moral excellence. Each of you must make ethics and moral excellence the foundation of our community’s cultural messages, whether during department all hands meetings, training stand-downs in your commands, Plan of the Day notes, and more. Everything we do demands moral and ethical courage to face difficult decisions in a transparent fashion, which will stand up to scrutiny and strengthen our contributions to the warfighter.
As stated by the CNO, “Integrity is the foundation of our military and trust is the essence of what we’re about. If we lose our trust, and we don’t have that integrity … when does it stop? How do you know that those little choices you make aren’t the ones that make the difference?”
By Sandra Jumper, Naval Supply Systems Command Counsel