Undersea Warfare The Official Magazine of the U.S. Submarine Force Fall 2003 U.S. Submarines… Because Stealth Matters Cover of Fall 2003 Issue
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NSWC Submarine Races Encourage Innovation

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Undersea Warfare 2002 CHINFO Merit Award
Submarine Learning Center -
Leading the Way for Undersea Warfare Learning in the Information Age

by CAPT Arnold Lorting, USN

Photo caption below

Chief of Naval Operations ADM Vern Clark comments on Sea Power 21 at the Naval Submarine Base New London, Connecticut.

Photo by PHC Johnny Bivera

The Submarine Force has clearly transitioned from the industrial age of warfare and entered the information age. Just look around your ships. You have more information resources, more processing power, and more decision aids in your BQQ-10 sonar system than you could have found on an entire submarine just a few years ago. Accelerating rates of technology insertion, greater information availability, and shorter decision times characterize the warfighting environment in the second 100 years of the U.S. Submarine Force. Our challenge now is to ensure that submarine education and training keep pace to support the submarine Sea Warriors who will operate and fight our boats in the 21st century.

The Revolution in Navy Training

Declaring 2002 a “year of revolution” for Navy training, the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) announced a whole series of changes in policy, processes, and organization to create a new learning environment for the information age. This initiative – an element of Sea Power 21 – is known as Sea Warrior. Under the leadership of Task Force EXCEL (Excellence in Education and Learning), the Navy has embarked on realizing the CNO’s vision of a Navy committed to creating a process of life-long learning for all personnel. For each Sailor – officer and enlisted – his or her entire professional and personnel development will be planned and mapped out in terms of a five-vector model (5VM) to allow maximum opportunity for personal development, self-improvement, and success. Performance shortcomings in the fleet will be dealt with from a human resources approach, looking for all possible causes for problems and recommending a correct mix of solutions. Finally, the Sea Warrior himself will be the central component in a system designed to ensure that human capabilities are enhanced and optimized.

Why does the Submarine Force need a Training Revolution?

We are blessed with a professional education and training system in the Submarine Force that is the envy of the rest of the Navy. The hallmark of the Submarine Force has always been exceptionally well-trained and prepared Sailors. Integral to this success has been the constant involvement and support of the Director of Naval Nuclear Propulsion, our Type Commanders, the Director of Strategic Systems Programs, and the Director of Submarine Warfare. This unequaled support has resulted in the delivery of world-class trainers and training capabilities by the NAVSEA Submarine Training Support Program Office (SEA 07L). Moreover, we have established a culture in the Submarine Force that values training and education highly and clearly understands the unacceptable consequences of operating a submarine without the best-trained Sailors possible. Therefore, our task is not to fix something that isn’t broken, but instead to create a “revolution within a revolution.” In other words, our goal is to seize on the initiatives and human-centric philosophy of Task Force EXCEL and use them to push our own training and education system into the Information Age.

Photo caption follows
The Submarine Learning Center will be responsible for coordinating the efforts of our six submarine training sites, creating and maintaining our submarine training vision.

Navy Training Alignment

To support these coming changes in the Navy’s training system, the organization known as the Chief of Naval Education and Training (CNET) has been replaced by a new entity, the Navy Education and Training Command (NETC). NETC, headed by VADM Alfred G. Harms, Jr.
as the Navy’s Chief Learning Officer, will create for the Navy its future training and education vision and an accompanying strategy. A new Naval Personnel Development Command (NDPC), led by RADM James K. Moran, has already stood up in Norfolk to ensure standardization, efficiency, and adequate support for innovation in Navy training.

Finally, the day-to-day direction of submarine shore training will be guided by the Submarine Learning Center, under CAPT Arnie Lotring and CMC Pete Berns.

The Center, located at SUBASE New London, will be responsible for coordinating the efforts of our six submarine training sites, creating and maintaining our submarine training vision, obtaining budget resources for individual training, creating integrated 5VM career paths for all submariners, leading efforts to improve performance, and overseeing and administering the submarine rating-exam process. These efforts will continue to be guided and supported in close coordination with the Type Commanders and the Director of Submarine Warfare.

Challenges for the 21st Century Sea Warrior

The future undersea warfighting environment will be marked by accelerating technical sophistication, growing information density, and increasing complexity in both operations and assigned missions. In this context, we must adapt our current sequential training processes – divided into apprentice, journeyman, and master training increments – into continuous learning opportunities, both ashore and at sea. Our shore trainers must match shipboard configurations exactly and be useful for both the advanced training and certifications required by the TYCOMs (including integrated battlegroup operations) and automating the individual and team assessment process.

We must break down the boundaries between the sea and shore training communities, which in the past have often resulted in different requirements, incompatible training products, and wasted effort. Our submarines must have direct access to the unlimited training resources of our schools, and time at sea should be spent learning, instead of getting ready to learn. Our schools must take on new roles and methods of instruction, including going to sea to teach when required. And finally, we will look for appropriate opportunities to allow our Sailors to gain civilian certifications derived from what they are trained to do onboard our ships.

How Will We Implement Sea Warrior?

First of all, the Submarine Learning Center will be reviewing each of our enlisted ratings this year to update and verify those knowledges, skills, and abilities (KSAs) needed for our people to succeed now and in the future. This job task analysis (JTA) will involve all fleet areas and personnel. When this JTA is completed, we will re-design our training paths where required, eliminating and updating curricula as necessary, and look for new methods of delivery, including civilian courses and new training technology.

Second, we will accelerate the recapitalizaton of our training infrastructure by abandoning those trainers that are of little use anymore and then researching and investing in state-of-the-art COTS-based training devices, simulations, and stimulation systems, such as the advanced Submarine Multi-Mission Team Trainers (SMMTT) and VESUB ship handling systems already in use. These new trainers will provide more in-depth learning experiences and allow us to match your ship’s configuration even as we continue to upgrade and modernize.

Third, the Submarine Learning Center will be leading the effort for learning-knowledge management (L-KM) for the Submarine Force. The CNO stresses that a critical element of the revolution in learning will be “delivery systems”. We will seek to provide submarines access to on-line learning via the Navy’s Knowledge-on-Line (NKO) portal at sea and in port. Our technical data will be delivered electronically by means of initiatives such as TD-KM using SYSCOM distance support and the FORCENet integrated environment, while interfacing with critical fleet programs such as the SNADIS initiative. Our continuing emphasis will be to allow access for all submariners to the rich resources and experience of both shore schools and crews at sea, wherever they are and whenever they want to learn.

Finally, we will continue to challenge all our past assumptions about how training and education have been accomplished hitherto. The Learning Center and our other submarine schools will strive continuously to provide training that is effective, efficient, and engaging. We will always remain committed to our tradition of training excellence and ensuring that our submariners are the finest trained and best prepared in world.

CAPT Lotring is the Commanding Officer of the Submarine Learning Center.