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Cpo 365

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Building Tomorrows Leaders Today
Robert Aycock
Excelsior College


In 2010, Master Chief Petty Officer (MCPON) (SS/SW) Rick D. West made a determination that Chief Petty Officers (CPO) in the United States Navy were not made in six weeks. They needed to be developed from highly motivated and dedicated First Class Petty Officers (FCPO) through a three-phased, yearlong development and training regimen that will test the FCPO mentally, physically, personally, and professionally. The new and improved way of making tomorrow’s Chief Petty Officer hasn’t gone particularly well with the older Chiefs of yesterday. They believe that all new Chiefs should go through the induction period that they had to go through many years before. Posts from old Chiefs on social media and different websites haven’t settled too well with the newer Chiefs of today. Times have changed and more people these days are aware of hazing and demoralization and it will not be tolerated. CPO 365 phase one begins on September 17th for all First Class Petty Officers. As MCPON Stevens says, “This phase is used to build a foundation for the yearlong training cycle. It fosters a culmination of team building, community service and describes the expectations and accountability that come with the donning of anchors and advancement to Chief Petty Officer.” (2013) Phase two begins when board results are released and builds upon what was started in phase one by preparing CPO board-eligible Sailors for their transition. Phase three, induction, is the final training period. This phase readies the future Chief to lead Sailors and become an active member of the Chiefs mess. Despite what old retired Chiefs have said in the past, CPO 365 is an important program in the United States Navy for First Class Petty Officers because it gives them the opportunity for consistent year-round professional improvement, the continued development of tomorrow's leaders, and is the single sustained method we use to train, build, and develop Chief Petty Officers.


The day a newly frocked 1st Class Petty Officer puts on his/her new rank, they are officially a CPO365 Phase I participant. For the next three years as a FCPO, they will gather the fundamentals of our founding principles of Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles (MVGP). These principles enable the FCPO to gain in-depth knowledge through discussions and team building activities with Chief Petty Officers. MCPON reading requirements for the FCPO give them instructions and knowledge about our history, as well as Navy policies, procedures, and understanding how Chiefs actively communicate.(Howard 2012) This Phase is essential in the foundation for the FCPO to learn upon, engage with the Chief Petty Officer mess and start building the esprit de corps with each other. In the Chiefs mess we are all about helping each other out, like a brother and sisterhood, we have each other’s back and are always ready to lend a helping hand to someone in need. When a Sailor is a blue shirt or E-1 to E-6, it’s usually all about them and how good they did. It’s not until they reach the rank of a Chief Petty Officer or E-7 when they start seeing the bigger picture, it’s not about them anymore. They must now guide, mentor, and lead the Sailors that work below their lead. CPO365 Phase One starts the foundation to be able to do that.

Phase II

Every June, a board of Master Chief Petty Officers gathers in Millington, Tennessee to grade and rank each Chief Petty Officer Selection Board eligible FCPO. The process usually takes around one month and is done ten hours a day, six days a week. Once the final numbers have been counted and filled, a Naval Message comes out with the list of which First Class Petty Officer’s got selected to be a Chief. Welcome to Phase II. In the years past, the Navy was full of curse words and tons of cussing. Today, you are not allowed to curse at a Chief Selectee. The older Chiefs of yesterday really think that the cursing drives home the point and that it should be allowed. You can definitely get the point across by delivering a stern message without having to curse someone out. Twenty years ago when you made Chief, there wasn’t an end of the training day. The Chiefs had access to you 24 hours a day for 2 months. Today the days are still long, and the weekends are even longer. There is a time constraint on when it has to be finished to ensure the Chief Selectees get plenty of rest before the next training day. This is something that drives the old Chiefs crazy and they can’t get over it. “Why can’t we beat them all night long like we used to get beat” says and old retired Chief. It might be a kinder, gentler Navy but there are still tons of daunting tasks, overwhelming pressure to achieve goals, and the pressures to work together as a cohesive unit. Now is the time where they realize it’s not about them, but a bigger picture, a bigger purpose then all about themselves. Some see it, and some don’t, which is why CPO 365 is a huge deal and imperative. It’s the training and development that they have learned over the past year that is going to sink in and the light will eventually come on. The beginning of CPO 365 is where they initially learned to start working as a team and developing team development skills and cohesion. Phase two usually last about six weeks and always ends the morning of September 16 at 0600 in the morning.

Phase III

It’s 0500 on September 16th, the Chief Selectees all gather around together and get any last minute words of advice. The mentors and sponsors of the Chief Selectees give them all the necessary items required for the day's events. From team building exercises to physical training sessions, each training topic has a reason behind it. We don’t just do things just because we had to go through it. This is where the old retired Chiefs start to bicker and complain. They had to eat dead carcasses that were lying on the beach for eight days. They had to get tobacco sauce sprayed in their eyes for an hour. They had to sit in ice coffins for hours on end to try to prove a point. My question is what was the reasoning behind it? Why did they have to go through such a rough and tough night to be able to don the Anchors of a Chief Petty Officer? There are a lot of old timers that are bitter and want to do the same today, but they can’t. It’s against the rules and is considered hazing.(Faram,2014) Teach a man to fish and he will feed himself for life. Fish for a man and you will have to feed him for life. CPO365 gives the newly selected Chief Petty Officers a solid foundation and a great starting point to become a great and successful Chief. They will be taught the ways of how to do the right thing when no one is watching. They will learn and be instilled with ethical values and morals. Even though some older Chiefs had to endure the pain and suffering while going through the right of passage, the Chiefs of tomorrow will be better equipped with being able to deal with the stressors related to being a Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy. Navy Chief, Navy Pride. HooYah!!


Stevens, M. (2013, February 1st.) Chief Petty Officer 365 Development Guide. Retrieved from

Howard, L. (2012, February 8th) Making Chief Petty Officers 365 Days a Year. Retrieved from

Faram, M.(2014. January 27) New Rules for CPO365, Retrieved from…...

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