SAN DIEGO – Commander Naval Surface Forces launched the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) Pro Book, a comprehensive web-based proficiency management system designed to help document and track important elements of SWO training and qualification at a ceremony, May 20 at Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (SURFPAC) headquarters.
The force-wide SWO Pro Book contains applications to aid surface warfare officers in attaining required qualifications and in managing those qualifications and skills across a career, as well as providing resources to aid in building proficiency in the SWO community.
“The Pro Book gives us a way to gain fidelity of tracking where a young officer stands with respect to career milestones and experience,” said Naval Surface Forces Commander Vice Adm. D.C. Curtis. “With the Pro Book, an officer can show up to a new command with a history of proficiency consisting of the evolutions, the drills, the trainer hours, and courses completed. The school houses, the officer and the ship have access to this information so the best possible training can be provided. A CO (commanding officer) can use the information to gain background on the officer to best align the officer’s skills with the existing wardroom”.
SWO Pro Book also concentrates training and learning resources in one place, at a SWO’s fingertips. Easy access to this suite of tools enables all SWOs to better manage their progress toward qualification milestones and professional proficiency throughout their career. It also affords senior SWOs the ability to establish metrics for proficiency and allocate training resources to areas of deficiency.
“Building proficiency and maintaining high standards of performance in key SWO skill areas such as shiphandling are critical to the overall readiness of the surface force,” said Capt. Bob Kopas, Assistant Chief of Staff for Training at SURFPAC. “Proficiency is the skill, ability, expertise, aptitude and adeptness of an individual to successfully complete a task. That knowledge and the application of that knowledge over time, taking into consideration the number of shore tours in a SWO career path, are necessary to reach a high level of performance.”
“Pro Book helps us establish the metrics and harness the data needed to compare performance with experience and ensure ‘qualified’ watch standers are ‘proficient’ watch standers.” said Kopas.
The SWO Pro Book initially will be focused on navigation and seamanship competencies. Future versions could include other core skill areas, such as tactical and engineering qualifications. The information could also be used in pursuit of Coast Guard or Merchant Marine licenses.
A joint SURFPAC / U.S. Surface Force Atlantic Fleet (SURFLANT) initiative, SWO Pro Book was developed by Surface Warfare Officers and fully integrates with Surface Warfare Officer School (SWOS) instructional goals and shiphandling curriculum.
“This is the first release -- the Pro Book has been designed as a continuum; it will improve and expand over time, and, at each step, will vigorously seek inputs from SWOs regarding functionality, measurement criteria, new resources to be included, etc,” said Kopas.
SWO Pro Book is a web-based application that rides on the Internet for ease of use, access, and standardization, while retaining the ability to stay technologically current. It also represents a step forward in modernization and is built with the ability to integrate with or replace older administrative and readiness tracking applications.
Surface Forces conducted a six-month pilot program aboard three ships, during which the SWO Pro Book prototype was tested at sea. Many lessons learned from ships’ officers were harnessed, and have been incorporated into the current Pro Book. For example, SWO Pro Book is designed with a “Low Bandwidth Option” that reduces graphics, database drag and some functionality but allows access to its core properties even under stringent low bandwidth circumstances.
“Fleet feedback has been continuously applied in this developmental process and will continue to be critical as the Pro Book evolves and grows to better support our officers,” said Kopas. “Based on my seven years of command experience, I fully understand the burdens placed on our officers and we have designed SWO Pro Book so that it can fuse to existing processes with minimal impact.”
To register for the SWO Pro Book, visit https://swoprobook.netc.navy.mil from a .mil or .edu account. Once a user account has been established, the same address can be accessed from any internet connection.
For more news from Commander, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, visit www.surfaceforces.surfor.navy.mil or follow the Surface Force at www.facebook.com/SurfaceWarriors.