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The Secretary of the Navy and the International Food Service Executives Association (IFSEA) established the Capt. Edward F. Ney Memorial Awards Program in 1958. The award is designed to improve food-service operations and recognize the best general messes in the Navy.
After 1999, the Ney Awards are determined by a one-day, surprise inspection conducted by evaluation teams made up of senior Navy mess-management specialists and members of the IFSEA. Prior to that, the inspections were scheduled.