Command Master Chief Program

( From OPNAVINST 1306.2C, 16 October 1995)
The Navy's Command Master Chief (CMC) Program is a valuable asset which stimulates free-flowing communications and ensures the highest standards of professionalism are upheld at all levels within the chain of command. Command Master Chiefs strengthen the chain of command by keeping the Commanding Officer aware of existing or potential situations as well as procedures and practices which affect the mission, readiness, welfare and morale of the Sailors in the command. CMC's are the senior enlisted leaders who report directly to their respective Commanding Officers. They formulate and implement policies concerning morale, welfare, job satisfaction, discipline, utilization and training of Navy personnel. By reporting directly to their Commanding Officer, the CMC's keep their chain of command aware and informed of sensitive and current issues.

All commands with 250 or more enlisted manpower will have a CMC assigned by the Bureau of Personnel. All carrier based Air Wing squadrons, deployable Helicopter Antisubmarine Warfare Light, Helicopter Combat Support, and Maritime Patrol squadrons will have CMC requirement regardless of size due to the complexity of their operations. Those commands that do not have enlisted manpower of 250 shall assign a CMC from within command resources on a collateral duty basis. In the absence of a Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPO), a Senior Chief Petty Officer (SCPO) or Chief Petty Officer (CPO) may be assigned.

Selection as Command Master Chief

To qualify for selection as a primary duty CMC, the individual must possess, among others, the following qualities:

a. Have demonstrated superior leadership and broad management skills
b. Posses effective communication abilities and proven administration capabilities.
c. Have a sharp military appearance, demeanor, military bearing, and meet all health and physical readiness standards.
d. Have an outstanding performance record.

CMCs are selected by a CMC selection board that convenes twice a year. Once selected, the Master Chief will be assigned to attend the Senior Enlisted Academy prior to reporting to their respective commands. Additionally, selectee must have achieved qualification in their respective warfare areas.

CMC Selection Board Composition

The CMC selection board composition, convening in May and November, will consist of:

a. One Post Major Command O-6.
b. Two post command Commanders or captains.
c. Three serving Fleet/Force Master Chiefs.
d. Four serving CMC's, with broad experience.
e. The CMC Detailer acting as recorder.
f. Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) will be the principal advisor to the board.

CMC Authority and Responsibilities

As the senior enlisted leader to the Commanding Officer, the Command Master Chief must work closely with the Executive Officer in the dissemination and promotion of command policy.
Authority and Responsibilities of a Command Master Chief include, but are not limited to, the following:

a. Maintain and promote effectiveness and efficiency of the chain of command.
b. Assist the Commanding Officer in all matters pertaining to the welfare, health, job satisfaction, morale utilization, and training of the enlisted personnel in order to promote traditional standards of good order and discipline.
c. Advise the Commanding Officer on formulation and implementation of changes in policy pertaining to the enlisted personnel.
d. Attend meetings to keep appraised of current issues and provide a representative enlisted input.
e. Participate in ceremonies honoring command members including all reenlistment and award ceremonies.
f. Coordinate, monitor, and participate in :

1. Command orientation/indoctrination division.
2. Command sponsor programs.
3. CPO/PO indoctrination courses.
4. Enlisted warfare qualification courses.
5. Professional development board.
6. Command retention team.
7. CPO Initiations
8. Sailor of the Month/Quarter/Year programs.
9. President of the CPO Mess (Afloat).
10. Family programs (Ombudsman).
11. Command Management Equal Opportunity Program.
12. Command Disciplinary Boards.
13. Recreation advisory boards.
14. Command Training team.

Programs Chaired by the Command Master Chief

Welfare and Recreation committee

The Welfare and Recreation committee also included the Human Relations Board. Each division was represented and would bring division ideas to the meeting. Each idea would be discussed and recommendations from the committee would be included in the report to the CO. Present at all meetings (twice a month) were the Supply Officer, Welfare and Recreation Officer, Human Relations Officer, and Chaplain. Problems were solved at these meetings, or at least brought out in the open to be discussed, and solutions recommended.

Sailor of the Month

The Sailor of the Month committee consisted of the senior Chief Petty Officer of each department. Each division would submit a name for consideration to their respective department head who would make the department selection via a meeting with department division officers and Leading Chiefs. Each department selection would appear before the Sailor of the Month committee. After each record was reviewed the committee members would ask any questions they desired of each candidate, and the Ship's Sailor of the Month would then be selected by the committee.

Sailor of the Year

Sailor of the Year candidates consisted of each Sailor of the Month, plus other individual submitted by any division or department. Much the same criteria for Sailor of the Month was applied to Sailor of the Year, with a little more attention to detail in all aspects of the candidates qualifications. Warfare qualifications, although not a requirement, weighed heavily in the selection process. Appearance and how the candidate would represent the ship were also important considerations.

Enlisted Surface Warfare System (ESWS)

The CMC assigned a Senior Chief (volunteer) to establish the ESWS program, with CMC's concurrence on all program policies and procedures. A very strenuous and long training syllabus was put into place that required some dedicated work a studies on the part of each participant. We did not want a program that gave away the qualification just for the sake of numbers. The CMC went through the program, taking him eight months to complete and gain the ESWS qualifications. Instructors came from each division, covering their portion of the PQS. Classes were scheduled every evening in the various parts of the ship (depending on the ship's schedule), and repeated as many time as necessary to insure all students received the training. Upon completion of the PQS, a board was set up on the mess decks with an expert in each area questioning the trainees thoroughly. The testing time usually took all day because of the thoroughness and intensity of the questions. Those that lacked in areas were told to continue studying in those weak areas and return to the board at a later time. Those that passed were sent on to the Commanding Officers board, which consisted of the CO, CMC, and an expert in each area. This board was designed more for the Commanding Officer's questions than the other board members. The Commanding Officer, after consulting the board, would make the final decision.

Disciplinary Review Board (DRB)

The Disciplinary Review Board was made up of the CMC and selected Chief Petty Officers from each department and met when necessary. Members rotated every three months in order to give each Chief Petty Officer the opportunity to gain the experience, which I believe is part of the leadership package. All violations, except the very serious as designated by the Executive Officer were brought before the DRB. The board heard all charges, witnesses, and division comments concerning the violation, and determined if punishment can be administered at the board, or, in the case of a more serious charge, must go to Executive Masts. Each accused had the option of accepting the punishment administered by the board or having the case referred to the Executive Officer. All results of the board were sent to the Executive Officer for approval. The DRB worked out very well, relieving the Executive Officer of time necessary to conduct masts for violations not deemed very serious. It also gave the Chief Petty Officers a better understanding of how best to handle certain situations in their own divisions.

Command Advancement Program (CAP)

The Command Advancement Program provides the Commanding Officer the authority to advance well deserved personnel without the need to take the advancement exam or compete for the promotion, up to Petty Officer First Class. Advancements are limited in number for each paygrade per calendar year, depending on the ship type and size. The CAP board consisted of the CMC and Chief Petty Officers and/or First Class Petty Officers representing each department. Candidates were submitted to the board for review and, if there were more candidates than quota, ranking. Results of the board were sent to the Executive Officer, then to the Commanding Officer. Each selectee would be presented to the Commanding Officer for further review and interrogation. the Commanding Officer would make the final decision.

Indebtedness Officer

The CMC was assigned as the Indebtedness Officer in dealing with the Enlisted personnel. When an Indebtedness letter on an enlisted individual came to the ship, it would be directed to the CMC. The CMC would conduct an investigation and, where needed, training on financial responsibilities. In most cases, the infraction would be something that can be handled at the CMC level with no indebtedness record entries. For those infractions of a more serious nature, the case would be referred to the Executive Officer. As in the DRB, this program relieved the Executive Officer for more important duties.


The CMC worked closely with the ship's assigned Ombudsman. All problems, situations, and events brought before the Ombudsman that required ship's intervention was directed toward the CMC for action. The majority of the problems and situations were such that they could be handled by the CMC, having communications with other cognizant officers aboard for assistance, such as the Chaplain, Disbursing Officer, Department Heads, etc. For those problems of a more serious nature, the situation would be referred to the Executive Officer and Commanding Officer.

Other Functions of the Command Master Chief

The Command Master Chief performed many other duties and functions. He spent much of his time walking through the ship, talking with the enlisted personnel about anything they wanted to talk about. This gave the CMC the opportunity to find out what problems exists in the ship without making a formal inquiry. It leads to more understanding of the feelings of the crew and was instrumental in preventing problems before they appeared.

The CMC worked closely with the Chaplain. Many of their functions crossed paths. The newly assigned personnel were sent to an indoctrination class, run by the Chaplain. The CMC assisted and conducted classes on the CMC duties, ESWS Program, PQS requirements, Welfare and Recreation, and Human Relations.

The CMC conducted the Petty Officer and Chief Petty Officer Indoctrination program for personnel selected for advancement. Where possible, the classes were conducted off the ship to prevent interference from onboard activities. It was felt that the importance classes were such that moving off the ship was necessary. The classes were conducted by selected the Officers, Chief Petty Officers, and First Class Petty Officers, as well as the CMC. The Commanding Officer addressed the class at the conclusion of each course.

The CMC attended every Department Head meeting in order to ensure the enlisted personnel were well represented. Too often, the Department Heads looked at the ship's requirements without consideration of the enlisted. He also attended the Planning Board for Training for input to the ship's training schedule.

The Chief Petty Officers were very active in ship's policy development. They know the ship's underway schedule as well as the all the ship's requirements. On numerous occasions, the first draft of a ship's policy (or update) was written by an assigned Chief Petty Officer with inputs and discussions with other members of the CPO mess. The draft was then presented to the Department Heads by the CMC for their discussion and revision. It would then go to the Executive Officer and Commanding Officer.