Navy Recruiting Boss Overruled by Superiors on 6-Day Workweek Plan

Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman
Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman speaks to Professional Apprenticeship Career Track Sailors at the MyNavy HR Career Development Symposium Mid-Atlantic. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jeanette Mullinax)

The Navy has taken the unusual step of reversing its plan to institute a six-day workweek for its entire recruiting workforce just days after the move was reported by

Last Wednesday, the service confirmed that Rear Adm. Alexis Walker -- the head of Navy Recruiting Command -- gave the order to go to a six-day schedule after emails announcing the change began to surface on social media. But on Friday, the Navy said that Walker's boss "issued a pause" on the plan.

Capt. Jodie Cornell, a spokeswoman for Vice Adm. Rick Cheeseman, the chief of naval personnel and Walker's boss’ boss, said that Cheeseman put the move on hold "as the Navy is committed to providing a work-life balance for our personnel."

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The policy sought to address the struggle that the Navy, like most of the other military branches, faces in meeting its recruiting goals for the year. In April, the Navy's second-highest officer, Adm. Lisa Franchetti, vice chief of naval operations, told Congress that the sea service expected to miss its recruiting goal of around 37,000 by roughly 6,000 sailors.

After the recruiter workweek policy hit social media, it was roundly criticized by sailors and veterans on sites such as Reddit, Instagram and YouTube.

Many of the memes and comments posted after the policy became public were simply criticisms of Walker's decision. One comment on Reddit said the extra hours weren't "gonna change anything" and called the move "ridiculous and a waste of good people." Others portrayed Cheeseman as a hero for stepping in and publicly overriding a subordinate officer. reached out to Navy officials for more context and detail about the about-face, but they said they had no additional information to offer at publication time.

Included in the initial social media posts were images that suggested the Navy was also considering ordering sailors slated for recruiting duty to report to their new posts six months early and keeping recruiters already serving in place for an extra year.

Although a service spokeswoman said last week that "the Navy is considering all available options in order to fully man our recruiting stations as we continue to address the projected recruiting shortfalls for 2023," a statement from Cheeseman did not address those possible changes for recruiters.

In pausing the extra working hours, Cheeseman praised the work recruiters are doing and noted that "we had more contracts this past May than we did last May."

"We will continue to do everything to support our recruiters, adjust policy when we see an opportunity, and remain focused on ensuring we have a force ready to fight," Cheeseman said in his statement.

-- Konstantin Toropin can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @ktoropin.

Related: Navy Recruiters Will Work 6-Day Weeks, Face Changes to Orders Amid Recruiting Struggle

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