Bridging the Gap: NJOC Improves Communication between Junior, Senior Officers

Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications 
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For Immediate Release: March 10, 2022

By Warren Duffie Jr., Office of Naval Research

ARLINGTON, Va.—The U.S. Navy’s more than 35,000 junior officers have a new avenue for sharing ideas, insights and concerns with senior leadership—via the service’s Naval Junior Officer Counsel (NJOC).

NJOC is the Navy’s first management advisory group, officially endorsed by the chief of naval personnel and chief of naval research. Representing junior officers (ensign through lieutenant commander) across all naval designators (career fields), NJOC’s mission is to collect, refine and deliver recommendations to senior leadership.

“We recognize that, often, the best ideas come from our junior officers, but it can be difficult to get those ideas from the deck plate to the top. NJOC is an opportunity for us to bridge that gap as we work together on creating a culture of excellence for our Navy,” said Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. John B. Nowell. “I applaud the NJOC team for taking initiative and encourage every Sailor to do the same—whether it is providing feedback up the chain of command or making a process improvement at your command.”

Chief of Naval Research Rear Adm. Lorin C. Selby agreed:

“NJOC is a great way for senior leaders to access the ideas of younger generations to inform decision making. I envision this as a way to facilitate communication between junior and senior officers, to put creative ideas by young officers into action and to shake the tree of innovation.”

According to NJOC’s charter—signed by Nowell and Selby in November 2021—the organization comprises a core leadership team that is advised by a board of representatives. These representatives are junior officers from various naval designators (e.g., surface warfare officers, aviators, etc.) and serve as official liaisons between NJOC and their respective communities.

Junior officers interested in submitting their ideas can email njoc@navy.mil or visit https://www.linkedin.com/company/naval-junior-officer-counsel. Any topic is encouraged, including naval culture, personnel concerns, science and technology, or leadership and professional development.

Once a junior officer sends an idea to NJOC, the counsel’s board of representatives will review the submission; offer advice on how to sharpen or improve it, if necessary; and identify the right command or senior leader to ultimately receive the submission. In many cases, NJOC also will craft a professional, compelling presentation and send it to the senior leader on behalf of the junior officer.

NJOC Deputy Director Lt. Craig Veech said the goal is to be a super connector between junior officers and existing programs in the Navy. By providing constant feedback, ideas and solutions across the Navy, Veech said, NJOC will better inform policy and strategy—as well as give junior personnel a greater sense of ownership.    

“NJOC is a useful platform for officers who might not have the access to the appropriate networks,” said Veech, “or for those working 14-hour days in fast-moving units—who might not have the time or resources to research where to send an idea or concern.”

Veech said NJOC is growing every day, connecting with junior officers throughout the Naval Research Enterprise, including the Office of Naval Research (ONR). On the ONR side, NJOC had its own booth at the recent Surface Navy Association Symposium and last fall coordinated the NavalX Agility Summit Challenge. In addition, a recent collaboration between NJOC and ONR Global’s TechSolutions program resulted in the creation of a unified breathing mask to help Sailors during emergency evacuations, firefighting and sea-burn situations.

“NJOC promotes constructive behavior and encourages junior officers to seek out guidance and perspective from those who came before them,” said Veech. “We want to work with junior and senior leaders to strengthen our Navy and make it even better.”

To learn more about NJOC, email njoc@navy.mil or visit https://www.linkedin.com/company/naval-junior-officer-counsel

Warren Duffie Jr. is a contractor for ONR Corporate Strategic Communications.

About the Office of Naval Research

The Department of the Navy’s Office of Naval Research provides the science and technology necessary to maintain the Navy and Marine Corps’ technological advantage. Through its affiliates, ONR is a leader in science and technology with engagement in 50 states, 55 countries, 634 institutions of higher learning and nonprofit institutions, and more than 960 industry partners. ONR, through its commands, including headquarters, ONR Global and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, D.C., employs more than 3,800 people, comprising uniformed, civilian and contract personnel.

 
NJOC
Office of Naval Research
Corporate Strategic Communications 
875 N. Randolph St., #1225-D
Arlington, Va., 22203-1771
Office: (703) 696-5031
Fax: (703) 696-5940
E-mail: onrpublicaffairs@navy.mil
Web: www.onr.navy.mil
Facebook: www.facebook.com/officeofnavalresearch

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