Dear NNOA Shipmates,

I hope this note finds you and your families well.  I don’t need to reiterate the difficulties of our current crisis across the planet as we are all getting a constant feed on traditional and social media.  We have a senior living with us so we are being particularly cautious to follow the CDC guidance and I hope you are doing the same.  Our nation and world will come out of this situation by each of us doing our part.  I want to give a personal BRAVO ZULU to all on the front lines of this crisis in our medical community.  You and your families are TRUE HEROES and we are all benefiting from your great courage in facing COVID-19.

I would also like to congratulate the NNOA Chapters who have taken advantage of our ZOOM capability to meet virtually.  The Mighty Quantico Chapter and Coast Guard Headquarters are two great examples of the use of technology to overcome.  Well Done Shipmates!

The NNOA Board of Directors and Leadership Advisory Panels have been consulted regarding how NNOA should proceed this year in response to the pandemic.  As you know, restrictions and adjustments have been wide ranging across the US Government regarding travel, budgets, and participation in events.  With this in mind and after checking with key leaders in the Sea Services, we have decided to take the following actions:

  1. Cancel the NNOA STEM event scheduled for 20 April 2020.  We will look at scheduling a new event in the fall.
  2. Postpone the NNOA Inclusion and Diversity (I & D) Workshop scheduled for 27 May 2020.  Even if the restrictions are lifted, we need to give the participants time to adjust their schedules following all the perturbations from the shutdown.  It is clear that this will take some time as funds and other resources have had to be reassigned to deal with the current crisis. We are looking to reschedule this workshop for the fall. Please note that our annual awards will continue, and we want to get your input so that stays on track.
  3. Cancel the Annual NNOA Leadership & Career Development Symposium scheduled for 4-6 August 2020.  This was the most difficult decision to make as it is our most important event.  Similar to the I & D Workshop, the repercussion from the shutdown will take away resources and attention for much of the year.  My discussions with leaders in the Sea Services alone has indicated that they would likely not be able to support this year and could not commit until they got to the other side of the crisis.

As a mitigation for this year, we are looking into an enhanced webinar in-lieu of our in-person symposium.  I know this is a sub-optimal solution, but I think we all have become more adept at teleconferencing and we will make it work the best we can.

NNOA will shift the symposium rotation by scheduling our 2021 event in Portsmouth vice San Diego.  Our Treasurer is in contact with the hotel to ensure there is no cost incurred by making this shift with the hotel.  We are also contacting our corporate partners regarding this change.

I appreciate your ideas and thoughts on how to make the most of the situation. Please feel free to let me and the NNOA Board of Directors know your thoughts regarding our way forward.

Thank you all and continue to be safe!

Very respectfully,

Sinclair M Harris
Rear Admiral United States Navy (Retired)
President, National Naval Officers Association (NNOA)