Courtesy of NAWCTSD

Seeking innovative solutions to provide better training for today’s Sailors, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON), Mike D. Stevens, visited the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD).

During his visit, he was shown how the command can best help the Navy deploy effective training solutions to the fleet.


NAWCTSD’s Head of Advanced Modeling and Simulation Tyson Griffin (right), shares training solutions for the M-16 A2 rifle with The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Michael D. Stevens. Photo courtesy of NAWCTSD.

Naylor explained how the NAWCTSD’s mission reaches well beyond its naval aviation roots. Today the command provides significant training systems support for surface ships, submarines and a wide range of special training requirements.

While speaking to the MCPON, Naylor highlighted the importance of Warfighter perspective provided by the enlisted Sailors on the NAWCTSD staff. “Our enlisted force here at NAWCTSD are our subject matter experts,” Naylor said.

The senior enlisted Sailor in the Navy took time to meet with Sailors at an all hands call where they were given the chance to ask him questions on any Navy topic. Questions about compensation and retirement benefits were asked, as well as questions about the future of the Department of the Navy budget.

While speaking to the room of Sailors, the MCPON thanked the command for their hospitality. “I want to thank Capt. Naylor for allowing me the opportunity to come down here and gain better insight into what this command’s primary mission is,” Stevens said.

During the All Hands call, Stevens shared his view of the future. Implementing a Navy-wide eSailor training program was one of his main priorities. He also asked members attending the all hands call for suggestions on ways to develop the eSailor concept.

eSailor is a concept still being developed which allows Sailors the ability to manage their Navy careers via a mobile device. Researching uniform standards and training manuals are some of the features currently under development in the eSailor initiative.

“We spend a lot of time in the fleet listening to Sailors, but it means nothing if you don’t act. There’s one big thing left that I want to accomplish, and that is eSailor. They call it ‘eSailor,’ but I also call it a ‘career companion’,” Stevens said. “Everything is in a secure cloud, including training, medical, dental, career and service records.”

During his visit, the MCPON received a briefing about NAWCTSD’s efforts in developing mobile courseware for Sailors to use on tablets. MCPON to the mobile tablet briefers: “You guys are almost verbatim with the discussions I’ve been having in my office.”


A group poses with The Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (AW/NAC) Michael D. Stevens during his visit to NAWCTSD. Stevens spoke about the eSailor initiative and was briefed on a full range of innovative products and services that the division provides to the Fleet. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Martin L. Carey/Released)

In explaining why he feels the eSailor concept is needed, Stevens shared a personal memory of being a new Sailor in the Navy. “I remember when computers weren’t in the Navy. Now I can’t even imagine how things would be without having a computer to work on,” he said.

Stevens explained how the Navy needs to keep up with technology if it wants to be an employer of choice for a talented 21st century workforce. “I hate the fact that we are a decade behind industry when we (the military) should be cutting edge,” Stevens said. “When new Sailors come in and see how we’re doing business, they think we’re dinosaurs. We need to be better.”

To illustrate how technology can better relate to today’s Sailors, Stevens demonstrated a new uniform regulations app on his tablet that featured a 3-D Sailor. He said that eventually recruits could use the app as a training tool to learn how to properly put together various uniforms. “I don’t want to see another hard copy Uniform Regulations.”

Stevens also discussed some other ideas that could be implemented to benefit future Sailors, including the idea of giving recruits access to email and digital information.

The MCPON explained that as potential adversaries catch up technologically, it will be even more important for the U.S. Navy to have a well-trained force. “Our asymmetric advantage in the future is going to be our people,” he said.

Stevens used one Navy A-School as an example of how tablet-based training could help our Sailors maintain that advantage, “At EOD (explosives ordnance disposal) school the number one complaint is that students have no access to training materials after class.” If Sailors had the training materials on their tablets, they could take additional time to study them, even when the classroom is not open.

When asked about the threat of cyber-attacks on Department of Defense networks, Stevens said, “there is no such thing as perfect, there are always vulnerabilities,” he said, explaining that there are professionals who work full time at keeping the Navy’s networks secure. “We realize more and more our advantage militarily is our people, we cannot make fear of security challenges make us irrelevant.”

Following the all hands call with the active duty Sailors, the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy took a tour of the command that included a demonstration of a Multi-Purpose Reconfigurable Training System (MRTS). MRTS is an interactive touch screen training system developed in house at NAWCTSD to provide cost-effective training on a variety of submarine systems ranging from radio rooms to diesel generators. His agenda also included stops at a lab working on training products for the Navy’s Littoral Combat Ships, and the Small Arms Virtual Trainer lab.

Stevens is the Navy’s 13th MCPON. The MCPON serves as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy, advisor to the Chief of Naval Operations and to the Chief of Naval Personnel in matters dealing with enlisted personnel and their families. For more information on the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy visit

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