Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Navy's "A" and "C" schools - the Navy's public schools must challenge our Sailors and make better use of their time

Vice Admiral Tom Copeman is commander of Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Forces US Pacific Fleet.  He is responsible for delivering readiness to the fleet.

The training Sailors require is a crucial part of Vice Admiral Copeman's priorities.

"If we really want our crews to fight and win, we need to lay that foundation right there in the school house," he said. "The schools - our basic, integrated and advanced training - must be focused on preparations for high-end combat operations. I think of it as improving the 'Public School System' ("A" and "C" schools) by increasing the hands-on training for our Sailors and taking a hard look if we are delivering the information in the best manner."

To start with, Admiral Copeman said he intends to invest $170 million into schoolhouse upgrades for surface engineering, with plans to do the same for combat systems and its respective school houses.

Copeman said he wants to reverse the trend of many Sailors spending large amounts of time at school only to require in-depth supervision once reporting aboard ship to do basic maintenance or watchstanding.

"Our schools must challenge our Sailors and make better use of their time," he said.

Fortunately, our schoolhouse at the Center for Information Dominance Corry Station, Pensacola Florida is doing this now.


Anonymous said...

I recently (in FY12) went through a "C" school at Corry, it was less than impressive, especially when compared to how this NEC is being talked about in the fleet.

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 10:56

I went through "A" school at Corry. Not impressed at all. Powerpoint is not training. I don't care how motivated the instructors are. I'm in the fleet now and starting all over again.

Anonymous said...

The CTR schoolhouse is filed with, for the most part, unmotivated instructors who seem to have taken orders there because they perceived instructor duty and an MTS qual as a step-up on the competition in the great race to out on khakis. Most of them had no fire burning inside to affect positive change. A few were wearing the IDW pin, and more than a few were stress-testing their NWUs (barely within standards).

There was a "C" school instructor who missed a morning of instruction for his Instructor of the Year board......he then promptly failed that fall's PRT.

Whatever happened to instructor duty being something we screened for, on par with pushing boots and recruiting?

Corry is not all that it is made out to be. Some courses of instruction are being poorly managed, particularly in the CTR realm.

We hear a lot of talk about how the skipper is doing well and DUIs/ARIs are down from last year, but it's pretty sad that we measure success by that metric. In CTR "A" school the students no longer write basic reports. The racks of gear that the students used to familiarize themselves with are gone, as the training is now CBT. The instructors teach the training guide and cough loudly when they come to something worth remembering for the test. They have the solutions memorized but usually can't tell you how you should get that answer as they don't even possess the skills that they are teaching.

All in all, the schoolhouse that I was exposed to is in pretty bad shape.

Anonymous said...

Training in A and C schools are BS. Training by PowerPoint or CBT. I am surprised that anyone learns anything.

Anonymous said...

Where this should begin is boot camp. Not sure what they learn there, but it seems very little. Basic weapons quals should be an integral part of this along with, Basic 3M.

The Navy is being run far too much like a bussiness and less like a profession of warriors. Most ADM's are so far removed from the pain the fleet is in. I can count on one hand, and have fingers left over, the amount of CO's I have served with recently that I would go into battle with and have confidence that I would survive.

Far to much is pushed onto the ships for the basic training of new recruits. When it goes wrong the Leadership then cries it's the Chiefs fault.

Currently at a training command and all it is "Death by power point". I try to talk to the classes about the importance of what we do and the theory behind our tactics but I am one voice. You can never replace the value of Hands On instructor (Human)led training.
Very Respectfully,

A crazy old 6120 LDO

Sean Heritage said...

It shouldn't be lost on anyone that this is SURFOR driving change and not "The Centers" innovating on their own. TYCOMs must be a part of the training solution vice leaving it to the schoolhouse. I'd say you were giving CID too much credit, but there seems to be pockets of genuine interest to change delivery. We are wasting a great deal of time and money in brick and mortar schools delivering little more than powerpoint slides. I hear so many comments similar to 1 and 2 above WRT their experience at our schoolhouse. In the early 2000s, the Navy was executing what we were marketing as the “Revolution in Training”. Many of us look back at what changed during that time and laugh. Not smile with pride, but laugh as to say who were we kidding? It may have been an evolution in training, but a revolution it was not. It's not what instructors teach, but what students learn. It's not just content, but also delivery. Our methods are lacking and the NETC curriculum process is overly constraining. I can't help but think the best way to change delivery is to write it into the requirement (i.e. be specific about the delivery, not just the Training Objectives) and make workforce development a deliberate partnership between the schoolhouse and operational commands (WRT IDC, we outsource too much to CID and absolve ourselves of responsibility).

I just learned that I will be working Joint Cyber Training and Workforce Development at USCC later this year and am looking forward to being a part of the team that delivers the "revolution" of which our predecessors spoke years ago. Rest assured, I will be leveraging the talent of this audience toward that ends.

Anonymous said...

The Fleet gets sailors that cannot perform because the Fleet has not adequately articulated how they should be trained? Really? You want to lay blame with ‘requirements definition’?

Also, there IS a partnership between schoolhouse and the fleet - always has been - schoolhouse is supposed to deliver the 80+% solution and the fleet polishes the rough edges and finishes off with a target focused performer. Unfortunately, in more and more recent times the partnership appears to be a little one sided, with the fleet left holding the bulk of responsibility to get a sailor OJTed and then ultimately operational.

VADM Copeman clearly sees the problem and understands that he needs to reverse the trend. The question is “Will his subordinate leaders hear him cough and understand that he just gave them the answer to the test question?”

Sean Heritage said...

Anon 0948 - Given your words about a requirement, I believe your comment is in response to mine (at least partly). I am not looking to blame anyone. My initial reaction is to first look in the mirror. The blame game gets us nowhere. I am merely attempting to identify a potential solution and understand how we are letting the schoolhouses off the hook. The requirement seems to articulate the WHAT, but doesn't begin to address the HOW. If the schoolhouse is not interested in innovating, than why not force them to by including the HOW in the requirement. The schoolhouse will proudly state that they are satisfying the training requirement (i.e. delivering curriculum that addresses each of the articulated knowledge, skills, and abilities), what they fail to see is that the means they are using to deliver said training and the ways by which they are measuring KSAs delivered is flawed. The schoolhouses are falling short and the way to hold them accountable is through specific requirements.

Truth is, I believe we are in violent agreement. My ability to communicate may be causing some confusion. I am very interested in the answer to your final question. Hope others pass SURFOR's test. I am eager to do my part.

Anonymous said...

I had a great experiance in the CTR school house. My instructor was extreamly motivated and took the time to go indepth on all of the power points. I guess if you don't like the marching and being expected to have military bearing they Corry will not be that much fun but all commands are what you make of it and none are perfect. If you focus on the bad you will have a bad experiance.

Anonymous said...

Captain Lambert,

It is with great disappointment that I read and reread Admiral Copeman’s message about the inferior job that the “A” schools and “C” schools are doing to produce combat ready Sailors from these courses. My only shore duty during a Navy career was instructor duty, and in my opinion that duty was nearly as intensive as sea duty, and even though one did get to go home after certain hours, that only led to more study and preparation at home to be prepared for the next day’s training. This same routine continued for over three years at Guided Missile School Dam Neck, Va, from 1963 on and I always felt gratified that our students would go to sea on an FBM Submarine from that school and be combat ready. The record of the FBM Submarines for the last 50 years has been extraordinary and that record was only achieved because we trained our Sailors to be combat ready. I have not been consulted on the status of today’s training problems, but I believe that someone should tell the Chief of Naval Technical Training, that is who the main man was in my day that was in charge of Navy training, to “Anchor Up”.

Very Respectfully,

Anonymous said...

RIT solved all of this.

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