Danielle Smith

Hail to the Chief (of staff)!

Civilian is at the helm of CFB Esquimalt Base Commander’s team

Danielle Smith serves as the Chief of Staff to the Base Commander at CFB Esquimalt.

There, Smith is the first point of contact with the Commander and is part of the half-dozen senior staff who execute the business of the base.

Smith is also a civilian.

“There are very few civilians in a position as senior as my own, but it was determined that, in the interests of continuity, the Navy might be better served with a civilian in this role,” she explains.

“The truth is that the Base Commanders are often rotated and other senior staff as well can be subject to new postings. That’s just the nature of the Navy, so to ensure that there was continuity in knowledge, it was important to have some stability in my role.”

It’s not a role that Smith ever envisioned filling as she originally came to the Navy as an environmental scientist. “I came to the Navy as a civilian working on what is really a very robust environmental program in the Navy, and in that capacity, I was partnered with military safety personnel and others, and it was a great experience,” Smith says.

Asked to describe the role of Chief of Staff, Smith laughs as she describes her position as “owning nothing, but being responsible for everything.”

“I’m the layer just below the top and I have to monitor a thousand different issues at a time, getting the information and keeping the Base Commander informed.”

To accomplish that goal, Smith relies on what she describes as a fantastic team of professionals who are hugely supportive of her and helpful in achieving the Navy’s goals.

“It sometimes dawns on me that I’ll be sitting at a senior staff meeting and I’m the only woman, and the only civilian at the table. I don’t feel that on a moment to moment basis, but occasionally I do notice it,” she says. “But I can honestly say that neither my gender or my non-military status has ever had an effect on the way I’m treated on base. I get nothing but support and respect.”

Smith also sees her role as instructive and takes every responsibility to help educate the general public on what it is the Navy does on a day to day basis. “We don’t always do a great job at telling our story, and sometimes it’s interesting that people (in the general public) don’t know what we do. Much of it isn’t visible.”

Just Posted

New orca calf in Salish Sea ‘healthy and active’

Birth cause for celebration but things still dire genetically, expert says

Busted water main floods Esquimalt home

Construction crew struck main during CRD wastewater facility construction

Saanich Police nab drunk driver who passed out at two red lights, kept driving

Hot rod motorcyclist, excessive speeding part of busy start to 2019 for Saanich Police traffic

Stolen Macs already replaced, no arrests in UVic break in

Several rooms entered using keys thieves obtained once inside the building

Famous Peninsula chickens adopted out in days

CRD Animal Control re-homed 101 chickens corralled on the Peninsula

VIDEO: Excessive speed on the Malahat captured by dash cam footage

Poster calls driving ‘dangerous, obnoxious and disrespectful’

POLL: Should people have to license their cats?

The Victoria Natural History Society has sent letters to 13 municipalities in… Continue reading

Millennial Money: Don’t let Instagram envy get you into debt

A full 48 per cent of U.S. households have credit card debt

Jury debates fate of man accused of killing 12-year-old B.C. girl 40 years ago

Police allege Garry Handlen told a cop how he abducted, sexually assaulted and strangled Monica Jack in May 1978

Investigating change to B.C.’s licence and quota system

MP Ken Hardie hears from fish harvesters how corporations are favoured under current regime

Letters on way to all homeowners in B.C. speculation tax communities

Property owners have to register to avoid vacant-home tax

UPDATE: One person confirmed dead in Port Alberni motor vehicle accident

Rural residential road remains closed as RCMP, coroner investigate

Good Samaritan rescues cat found in heaps of garbage at B.C. landfill

The cat was abandoned and left to die at the Foothills Boulevard Regional Landfill, the BC SPCA says

Most Read