Undersea Warfare The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force. Winter 2004 U.S. Submarines... Because Stealth Matters Cover for Winter 2004
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Job Task Analysis: Speeding the Blade of the Revolution in Training
by William Kenny, Submarine Learning Center Public Affairs

For future training to better benefit Sailors, the Submarine Force, and the Navy, the submarine community needs an assessment of how individual training is conducted now – examining the “when,” “where,” and “how” of the business so that we can begin making required changes. The Revolution in Training provides a roadmap, and Job Task Analysis (JTA) is a primary tool for plotting a course for each Sailor’s life-long learning.

CWO4 James Brink, a Submarine Learning Center (SLC) JTA Assessment Team member, offered a quick definition of the concept. “Simply put,” Brink ex-plained, “JTA is a procedure for each rating that breaks down all the Jobs and Tasks required for normal performance and then Analyzes these to determine complexity, difficulty, training requirements, safety hazards, and relative time demands.

“JTA is an important tool for future submarine training,” he said. “Navy leaders need to analyze the overall health of a rating’s professional development vector, schedule training when it is needed – or delete it if unnecessary – assess training gaps, and evaluate what Sailors are ‘trained on.’ At the same time, they should be finding ways to document proven skills and provide Sailors with civilian equivalency certificates.”

For Submarine Force training, JTA is not a priority but the priority, said Brink. “All submarine ratings for which the Submarine Learning Center is responsible have completed the initial phase of the JTA process. We need to identify every job or task a Sailor performs to fully validate the ones identified in fleet surveys and also to support the training specialists who define corresponding Skill Objects (SOs).” By definition, Skill Objects are a grouping of like tasks. These tasks are trained together, performed together, evaluated together, dependent upon one another. They also require similar knowledges, skills abilities, and tools (KSATs).

“Job Task Analysis ensures that
Sailors are given the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need to perform their jobs and assure success.”

As FTCM(SS) Somales pointed out, a big JTA challenge was just getting the process started. “Our Job Task Analysis began by reviewing all documents that describe Sailor tasks, including PMS, qualifications, courses of instruction, technical manuals, input from subject matter experts, and numerous other sources. This data was then placed on a professional development continuum in accordance with fleet surveys that told us what Sailors were actually doing.”

“You start at the beginning, and you don’t stop identifying tasks until they are all accounted for,” Brink added. “This is the ‘dirty work’ of studying the professional development vector. Once the jobs and tasks are laid out, additional analysis shows how the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and tools (KSATs) are supposed to be provided. If the necessary KSATs are not being supplied, the Navy needs to provide them. If appropriate KSATs have been provided, but Sailors aren’t retaining the information, the corresponding training may then need to be scheduled just before it’s needed – a just-in-time scenario.”

In the submarine community, the fire control technicians (FTs) went through JTA first, and FTCM Somales recalls an associated pitfall. “We found ourselves at times being too specific in some areas and actually in danger of losing the overall concept,” he said. This was due mostly to ‘over-exuberance,’ as I call it, since we made sure that we did the job right the first time and captured every task a Sailor might do, no matter how minute. We improved throughout, getting better as we went along.

“I’m hopeful we’ll complete the initial phase of JTA during the early summer.”

CWO4 Brink echoed Somales on both the direct and indirect value of JTA. “Without intending to be dramatic,” he noted, “JTA is the foundation of the Revolution in Training. Without JTA, a submarine would never leave the pier. For the Sailor, it results in improved retention, because he can sense when his skills are at their peak, and he’ll be more likely to enjoy his job because he’s better at it. The JTA process reduces the time a Sailor spends in the schoolhouse learning KSATs he may not need until long after he’s onboard his ship. And by then, those KSATs may be obsolete from lack of need!”

Master Chief Somales added that for a community with a heritage in technological innovation, driving the Revolution in Training with JTA was not only logical, but also inevitable. “Our training system has served us well but doesn’t fully capture the potential of new technology to provide training to our Sailors. With these new developments, we can provide not only training that’s relevant and timely – we’ll be able to update and provide that training much more rapidly. And we’ll also provide each Sailor the capability to see exactly where he is along his career path and to set goals and make changes based upon his progress.