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Chief Petty Officer Jorge Ouiroz gives Officer Candidate Jason Roseberry some time to think in the “lean and rest” position.
Photo by Chief Petty Officer Chris Desmond.

by Rear Adm. Arnold Lotring, USN

Navy training has undergone a remarkable transformation since former Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Vern Clarke’s “Revolution In Training (RIT)” initiative began. The comprehensive Executive Review of Navy Training report and Task Force spread sheet clearly indicated that the “Information Age” would demand new approaches to education and training for our 21st century leaders. The RIT initiatives have resulted in arguably the most dynamic period of change and transformation in training ever seen in the history of the Navy.

Besides the RIT, the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) has also provided the Navy with a variety of lessons-learned as a benchmark for measuring the development of Sailors. Specifically, Navy leadership realizes that preparing Sailors at the entry level is a strategic advantage. Moreover, studying how a Sailor contributes to joint war fighting has provided the catalyst for accessions training program evaluation and new alignment. This will ensure that the Navy will develop tomorrow’s leaders, continue to increase its footprint in the joint war fighting arena, and maintain the lead as the premiere military combat force.

Navy leadership has recognized a need for improvement and alignment of resources. Because of this, the RIT and GWOT concepts are now being applied to our accession training programs. From the complete re-capitalization of Recruit Training Command Great Lakes to our most advanced technical enlisted and advanced officer training, we have boldly embraced change in every facet of
learning strategy and delivery to ensure our Sailors are fully prepared for the changing face of war fighting in the 21st century.

The future strategies for officer training in the “Information Age” will have to account for the accelerating rate of technology change, increasing rates of information availability, and the absolute strategic imperative of using the diverse characteristics and abilities of all our officers and enlisted personnel to rapidly form successful combat teams for complex problem solving.

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Junior class officer candidates stand next to the ceremonial bell used to signal the arrival of distinguished guests during
the commissioning of 47 members assigned to Class 0404 as ensigns in the United States Navy.
Photo by Chief Petty Officer Chris Desmond.

Officer Accessions Training Today

The current process of non-ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps] or non-USNA [United States Naval Academy] officer accessions training relies on separate and distinct academics and training groups. With the exception of Officer Candidate School (OCS), these programs were historically developed to specifically support individual officer communities. OCS is a 12-week program emphasizing basics to establish the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for new candidates with little or no previous military experience. The Limited Duty Officer and Chief Warrant Officer Indoctrination School (LDO/CWO) consists of a five-week program to assist newly commissioned officers, with prior senior enlisted service, with their transition to the wardroom. Officer Indoctrination School (OIS) is a five-week program designed to build the foundation for officers in restricted line communities with little or no prior military experience. Finally, the Direct Commissioned Officer Indoctrination School (DCO) is a two-week program designed to prepare reserve-restricted line officers, also with little or no previous military experience, for active duty service. Although each current training group represents separate academic and military experience, the Navy remains focused on initial preparation of these officers to rapidly become successful leaders and members of a wardroom in any organization in our Navy.

The Future of Officer Accessions Training

Training experts in Pensacola, Fla., Newport, R.I., Great Lakes, Ill., and training group stakeholders are now guided by a new strategy collaboratively developed by Naval Service Training Command. Following the recent disestablishment of OCS in Pensacola, that strategy will now see all officer accessions training returned to Newport R.I., forming a new center of Officer Development training. Officer Training Command Newport (OCTN) will be the single largest producer of Navy officers—over 2,800 annually— and provide an opportunity to leverage technology, bringing officer accessions training into the 21st century. Designed to educate and train Navy officers well into the 21st century, OTCN will create an environment built on learning excellence. This will include a campus-style atmosphere optimizing technology as one catalyst for positive sailor outcome. In other words, OTCN will leverage the Navy RIT by invoking the strength of the Navy Integrated Learning Environment (ILE) delivery systems. This system will now deliver curriculum content based on Science of Learning principles enhanced through judicious technological applications. With this in mind, Naval Service Training Command is pressing forward with plans to enhance the following critical officer attributes to meet the future environment—leadership, joint warfare, business acumen, problem solving, effects-based and critical thinking, management, and strategic planning. These are some of the foundational competencies for our new officers that we will begin to develop during their initial training experience.

Team Building and Collaborative Learning

The LDO/CWO training curriculum will be blended with the OIS and DCO curriculums. This new officer training course will allow our newest naval officers, some with a rich Navy experience, to play an early leadership role in the development of officers with limited experiences. This new course will heavily focus on developing in our officers the ability to build and lead teams through practical exercises and experiences. The revised course includes a new emphasis on basic military training, team skills to include fire fighting and damage control, and an injection of personal health and fitness training.

Collaborative Learning Experiences

With the relocation to Newport, OCS will also be re-engineered to take full advantage of the co-location with the other institutions of training and education in Newport including the Navy War College, Surface Officer Warfare School, Naval Academy Preparatory School, and, eventually, Navy Supply School. Curricula, instructors, and facilities will then be leveraged to provide exceptional access and sharing of these ever-improving learning resources.

Investment in the Future

Facilities in Newport are being upgraded to properly accommodate this new center of officer accessions training. A major renovation to Callaghan Hall will provide a state-of-the-art integrated learning environment facility and a new combat training pool facility is being built. In the future, new barracks will be built to replace existing and outdated berthing facilities.

To develop 21st century leaders, we can ill afford our traditional methods of isolated training-group approaches to officer accessions training. We must now use state-of-the-art learning strategies. We must make a long term commitment and investment to provide an environment that will properly train all our officers to the expected standards and rigors of naval service. The new officer training curriculum will also recognize that our new officers are adult learners. These newly commissioned officers will bring with them exceptional skills and abilities but, most importantly, they will bring with them rich and deep experience foundations. We must blend and employ the diverse cultures, talents, and experiences that each of our future leaders bring into our Navy. The new curriculum will emphasize opportunities to optimize the previous experience of the students while employing problem solving events to stress the importance of the team. The academic rigor of courses has been increased to provide these future leaders with the right foundation for success. The future of officer accessions training and development is being created now in Newport, R.I.

Rear Adm. Lotring is Commander, Naval Service Training Command, and is responsible for all enlisted and officer accession training programs for the Navy with the single exception of the U.S. Naval Academy.

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Recruits work to stop a leaking pipe on board USSTrayer(BST-21). Photo by Scott A. Thornbloom.