Template for a Command Philosophy

Navy – Professional Development:


CAPT G. Mark Hardy III, USNR Commanding Officer NR SPAWAR HQ 601


In December’s issue, CAPT Gar Wright offered a number of thoughts for the new CO, beginning with a “vision” for yourself and your command. I’ve been privileged to serve in command a number of times and have written the following command philosophy, which you are welcome to borrow from if you wish.

Never forget that the Navy’s fundamental mission is to conduct prompt and sustained combat operations at sea – to fight and win. Everything that we do should ultimately reflect that mission. To that end, we will support our gaining command in every way possible by providing well-qualified, mobilization-ready, motivated Sailors on demand.

We will conduct ourselves in accordance with certain principles. These should be self-evident; try to live by them every month. They should become your principles as well.

Provide overwhelming support to our gaining command. This is the reason our reserve unit exists. One measure of our unit’s mission effectiveness (and your contribution to that mission) is the proportion of drill hours and active duties worked on assignments that are in direct support of our gaining command. Expect to perform your active duty there or at an associated command. Know your job and why it’s important to our mission. If you want to work hard and make a difference, you have a home here.

Promote our best people. The most rewarding legacy a commanding officer can have is a track record of having his best people succeed. Not everyone can be promoted. Fewer will get the opportunity to command. Both are worth striving for. A sustained record of superior accomplishment is the single defining characteristic of successful Naval careers. Persevere, and make your record speak for itself.

Our standard is consistent excellence. Period. In everything you do, in everything we accomplish as a team, strive for excellence. Exceed expectations. People will notice. In these times, “good enough” isn’t. Be the best.

Maintain an impeccable appearance. We are ambassadors of our Navy to our local community. Our citizens judge the Navy by how they see you. Keep yourself fit. Invest in a good haircut. Don’t tolerate wrinkles. Always be on your best behavior. You’ll find people will admire and respect you — as they should. As a drilling Reservist, you are twice a citizen.

Communicate. One key to effectiveness is frequent and open communication. You should be getting Naval Reserve e-mails almost daily. If you’re not reading them, you’re missing the big picture. Never hide information, especially if it’s bad. Small problems are easier to fix than big problems. Also, things that go away by themselves sometimes come back by themselves.

Be safe. In peacetime, that is our overarching principle. There is nothing in your job for which it is worth getting killed or injured. We may do some of our work in the field. If you don’t have the proper safety equipment, stop. Don’t take shortcuts. We need you in one piece.

Recognize outstanding effort continuously, but especially with appropriate awards, and well-written FITREP’s and EVAL’s. You should never work solely for recognition, but you should know that results are rewarded here. No award was ever diminished by the number of people who earned it.

Grow our own leaders. Almost unique to the military is a philosophy of training our own replacements. Make your boss successful, and you both can be promoted. Don’t hoard information. If you become indispensable, you can’t advance. If you don’t want to lead, you’re in the wrong line of work. Find your own leadership style and refine it constantly. Learn from others. Read. Grow.

Treat everyone with dignity and respect. Whatever your civilian job, your ancestry, or your lot in life, here you are an equal. We will not tolerate disrespect or harassment! We are all on the same team. Save your negative comments for somewhere else.

Be a command that others want to join. We want Sailors from all around to come here looking for billets because of our reputation. Each of us should be proud to be a member of this team. Always speak highly of your command to others. If you have a problem, tell your chain of command; and we’ll get it fixed. Don’t air dirty laundry in public. Together we can make this the absolute premier command in the Naval Reserve.

Set a personal example of integrity, readiness, and accomplishment. Never compromise your core values. Keep your mobilization qualifications up to date. Strive for excellence.

Work hard, play hard, have fun, make a difference. It seems that all too soon it’s time to retire and move on. You’ll look back on these days with fondness and appreciation. Don’t waste the opportunity to give the Navy 100%. You’ll always be proud that you did.


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