The Navy kicked off a new program Oct. 5, designed to give high performing officers and Sailors experience at large corporations for approximately one year. Three participants began work today with Amazon in Seattle, Washington, and two with FedEx, in Memphis, Tennessee, as part of program's first cohort.
As Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus first announced in his May 2015 speech at the Naval Academy, this program is designed give our Sailors exposure to leading-edge business practices, techniques, and technologies with the competitiveness of the corporate business cycle.
"This program is a win-win for both the Navy and corporate America," said Chief of Naval Personnel, Vice Adm. Bill Moran. "We need Sailors in our Navy who think differently and aren't afraid to challenge the status quo. This program will help our folks learn different problem-solving approaches, leadership styles and business models that they can bring back to the Navy. It will also provide a unique opportunity for Sailors and civilians to interact, and hopefully inspire others to serve their country."
The Navy's five participants were selected by their community leaders, and while assigned to Amazon and FedEx, they will work as normal employees of each company.
"We are proud to partner with the Navy in launching this program and are excited to learn from the officers during their time at Amazon," said Dave Niekerk, an Army veteran and Culture & Engagement Leader at Amazon. "We know our company and customers will benefit from their contributions, as we do from all Amazonians with military experiences. These officers working on daily process improvements and solving complex problems will have the opportunity to make quick assessments, implement plans and drive them to completion."
Shannon A. Brown, Senior Vice President of Human Resources for FedEx Express, expressed similar sentiments.
"FedEx is tremendously proud of our long association with all branches of the U.S. Military, and we look forward to working with Cmdr. Rice and Cmdr. Finley," she said. "We will do our best to make their FedEx experience beneficial, and we will undoubtedly learn much from them as well."
Next year, the Navy is working to expand the program to 10-15 officers and 10-15 enlisted per year. The program is open to officers O-3 and above with greater than five years of service and who have completed their first operational tour, as well as to enlisted E-6 and above.
Sailors participating in the program will remain on Active Duty with the Navy paying all of their salary and benefits. Following their industry tour, Sailors will work with their community detailer to receive a special assignment known as a utilization tour where their new skills will be put to best use by the Navy.
Those participating as part of program's first cohort are: