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CHIPS Articles: Inaugural Doctrine and Lessons Learned Workshop

Inaugural Doctrine and Lessons Learned Workshop
By Navy Warfare Development Command - January-March 2018
Navy Warfare Development Command (NWDC) hosted its inaugural Doctrine and Lessons Learned Workshop, augmenting face-to-face discussion with online communication tools.

The workshop was created to align the efforts of the Warfighting Development Centers (WDCs) with other Navy commands and to discuss doctrine and lessons learned best practices for WDCs to leverage in accomplishment of their missions, functions, and tasks. The workshop held Nov. 14-16, 2017, directly supported one of the lines of effort established by the Chief of Naval Operations, Adm. John Richardson: achieving high velocity learning.

Representatives from U.S. Fleet Forces Command, WDCs, fleet management site representatives, and other commands and organizations from around the world, set out to remove barriers to doctrine and lessons learned to deliver timely and relevant doctrine to the fleet. The workshop kicked off with a review of the Navy doctrine process and the Navy Lessons Learned Program (NLLP) and quickly moved to open discussions.

“The participants discussed a number of topics related to using Navy lessons learned activities to inform doctrine and tactics, techniques, and procedures,” said Navy Lessons Learned and Analysis Director Mike Lepson. “This effort leverages warfighter experiences, observations, and mistakes, to improve information the fleet is using to be able to ‘Fight Tonight.’ The workshop captured the most pressing doctrine and lessons learned challenges from the fleet. Recommendations from the workshop will inform future processes that will bridge the gap between fleet lessons learned and doctrine.”

Defense Collaborative Services and Facilitator Pro (FacPro), both online communication tools, augmented in-person conversations and allowed participants to contribute at any time. Whether it was to avoid interrupting a briefer or to remain anonymous, these supplementary methods of communication provided additional insight from multiple sources to common problems that may not have been obtained otherwise. For example, one participant commented “[Surface], aviation, and submarine communities do not appear to routinely brief or provide training on the NLLP and [NLLIS] to personnel attending their schoolhouses,” which initiated a conversation among type commander (TYCOM) and WDC representatives about how to better integrate lessons learned into training pipelines.

Another benefit of multiple avenues for discussion and commentary is identification of common issues raised by participants using different media at different times. For instance, a TYCOM or WDC representative points out the harm of stovepiping practices in a conversation and another on FacPro comments, “It seems like every organization has its own lessons learned process/storage. Why not use NLLIS?” On the next day, important issues are revealed and can be addressed.

Other direct participant feedback illuminated the need to “…break [the] cycle of creating products that don’t get read by end-users,” frustrations about the relevancy, currency, utility and accessibility of doctrine, and finally, the use of NLLIS and collaboration at sea (CAS) tools that “…people don’t know.” These discussion and commentary methods enabled participants to better identify problems — the first step in correcting them.

The workshop also reviewed the revised Navy Doctrine Library (NDL). The NDL is an online repository available to the fleet through the NWDC SharePoint portal and allows quick access to all publications maintained by NWDC. The site provides feedback to document owners through notifications sent when users post comments about publications. Library users can elect notification of changes to the library or specific publications using an alert feature.

Bob Wilhelm, NWDC publishing manager, explained, “This is a very exciting time for the Navy's doctrine library and the tools that are used to manage and maintain it. The new Navy Doctrine Library portal site builds on what was developed for its predecessor — the Navy Doctrine Library System (NDLS). The portal-based library integrates with other NWDC products and is simpler to navigate. Library users can also now expand their searches to encompass more than just doctrine. The new library can host a book that contains multiple documents and make all of the documents clearly visible to fleet users.”

“The move to SharePoint based architecture supports a more flexible approach for packaging doctrine,” Wilhelm said. “Future additions may include smaller and more focused documents, multimedia, tablet-friendly documents, quick reference guides, and the like. We will be able to better meet customer needs.”

NWDC continues to upload approved Navy doctrine publications to the CAS library that pushes its content to all CAS users afloat, he said. It is located in [local IP]/NAVY/31/SITE.NSF of each ship's CAS server. Workshop participants agreed that the average sailor probably has no idea that this function is available to them. Having access to this library, even in emission control conditions, is a great benefit to the Navy and an important tool for watchstanders. One of the major takeaways from the workshop is that information like this needs to get to potential users, and fast.

“This workshop was extremely valuable,” NWDC Doctrine Director Bob Oldani said. “We have all of the Navy equities responsible for doctrine and lessons learned together in one room to elicit feedback about processes and best practices, synchronization across WDCs, and the tools available for more efficient doctrine changes and revision. It’s a great start; we will leverage this data towards fleet doctrine and lessons learned process improvement.”

U.S. Fleet Forces Command and two dozen other commands were represented at the workshop. NWDC is planning to conduct annual workshops and is exploring holding the next workshop in San Diego.

For NDL access, please visit: https://portal.nwdc.navy.mil/NDLS/.

For NLLIS access, please visit: https://www.jllis.mil/navy.

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