From Naval Facilities Engineering Command Public Affairs and Communinications
WASHINGTON – Naval Facilities Engineering Command Commander and Chief of Civil Engineers, Rear Adm. Bret Muilenburg, conducted command visits to NAVFAC Hawaii, NAVFAC Marianas in Guam, and NAVFAC Far East in Japan to tour facilities and meet with installation leadership and public works personnel, July 10-21.
Muilenburg started his tour in Hawaii, where he took time to speak about the Chief of Naval Operations’ direction for the Navy, financial fidelity and high velocity learning with NAVFAC Hawaii’s Executive Steering Group and Public Works Department at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
“The CNO’s challenges are our challenges,” said Muilenburg. “There will always be problems we cannot solve, but with the high velocity learning guide of dealing with problems - find, solve, share, and lead – we can identify those we can do something about and improve.”
Muilenburg also took time out of his schedule to engage the local community while speaking at the Pacific Club, a historic social club in Honolulu, Hawaii. He expressed his affinity for Hawaii, having served as Commander NAVFAC Hawaii, and went on to cover a variety of topics including Navy leadership and the way ahead for the Navy.
“It’s clear, I think, that we have serious challenges, but we also have great opportunities for achievement,” said Muilenburg.
While in Guam, Muilenburg took the time to communicate to the workforce one of his main focus areas in the NAVFAC Strategic Design: people, NAVFAC’s role in the Pacific, and professional development opportunities in undermanned PWDs.
NAVFAC’s Strategic Design is nested in the CNO’s Design for Maritime Superiority, Muilenburg explained. He spoke about the importance of hiring high-quality people and ensuring they receive training and development opportunities that cultivate NAVFAC personnel into the technical and business experts for which NAVFAC strives to be known.
“I’m excited about our focus this year on people, and I’m looking forward to great results,” said Muilenburg.
When asked about NAVFAC’s role in the Pacific, Muilenburg was quick to praise NAVFAC Marianas.
“This [Guam] is one base in the Pacific, to include bases in Japan, Hawaii, South Korea, Singapore and a few other places that really provide the launching points and the training points and the refueling for what or whom?,” he said. “It is primarily NAVFAC Marianas that does that work, and I think they do it very well.”
Foreign nationals make up an essential part of the overseas workforce, and Muilenburg spoke about working alongside local counterparts and their importance to providing continuity and expertise.
“I don’t think we could get the job done without our host nation colleagues and employees,” said Muilenburg. “Our overseas bases, our non-U.S. territory bases are part of that network of bases that allow U.S. forces and allied and partner forces to work together for common security around the world…they [foreign nationals] are great hosts for us and friends, and they provide so much camaraderie for U.S. personnel.”
NAVFAC headquarters has put its money where its mouth is to assist PWDs during manning shortages by encouraging staff to take rotations out in the field. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command Executive Director, Jennifer LaTorre, recently spent several weeks at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard public works department.
“Rotations such as this help us to better understand what role leaders play in ensuring our most critical units have the capability to deliver to our customers,” Said LaTorre.
The benefits run both ways with the PWD receiving much needed help and the employee gaining new skills, colleagues, and a better understanding of how they support what Muilenburg calls the “unit of action.”
“We have to be our very best in NAVFAC at that location where the ships tie up to the pier, where the aircraft take off and land, where the Marines train,” said Muilenburg. “Instead of allowing an undermanned PWD to suffer through months of a vacancy…why don’t the rest of us rush and surge to help them where we can.”
Muilenburg’s tour of the Pacific helped him identify the challenges facing installations there, but was also a trip down memory lane. He was able to see improvements that have been made in the past ten years since his time as Commander NAVFAC Hawaii.
“The Pacific is supremely important to the world and the security of the U.S. and our partners and allies,” said Muilenburg. “It is NAVFAC’s job to keep those bases functioning at their peak.”
Watch the latest Chief's 1MC videos