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CHIPS Articles: Knowledge Management in Navy Strike Groups - So What?

Knowledge Management in Navy Strike Groups - So What?
TACTRAGRUPAC trains, mentors and assesses fleet errors
By Tim Snyder - October-December 2009
As knowledge management initiatives become more prevalent in the fleet, every carrier strike group (CSG) and amphibious ready group (ARG) commander should ask "How will knowledge management help me and my organization?" Tactical Training Group, Pacific (TTGP) has been working to help CSG and ARG knowledge management officers (KMOs) and primary staff officers answer this question since 2004.

TTGP's success in spreading KM training and initiatives throughout the Pacific Fleet has resulted in measurable improvement in strike group operations. To implement and inculcate KM into the CSG and ARG ethos, TTGP executes a three-phase approach: training, mentoring and assessment.

Training

With initial direction from the Naval Network Warfare Command (NNWC) in 2004, TTGP began supporting Navy strike group KM efforts through the development and execution of an Afloat Knowledge Managers Course (AKMC). This four-day course trains Information Professional (IP) Officers that are scheduled for assignment to carrier and expeditionary strike groups as the staff KMO.

The course is given twice per year with one scheduled on each coast. To date, more than 230 individuals have attended the course, providing an ever expanding group of individuals who are schooled in KM techniques and are able to articulate the "so what" of KM to Navy organizations. The course includes a day of information management (IM) training that provides an overview and best practices for use of common afloat IM and collaborative systems, such as the Collaboration at Sea tool set, Combined Enterprise Regional Information Exchange System (CENTRIXS), chat tools and Battle Force Email, and three days of KM training.

The AKMC includes guest speakers from industry, government and military organizations providing a balanced view of KM and a diversity of perspectives and ideas for implementation of KM techniques.

The course has also been given, in a modified format, to U.S. 7th Fleet, the Royal Australian Navy and at the Naval War College.

For CSGs and ARGs in the Pacific Fleet at the beginning of their Fleet Response Training Plan (FRTP), TTGP provides a one-day course called the Network Centric Warfare Commanders Course. The NCWCC, which is comprised of classroom instruction and student participation, provides an understanding of NCW concepts, origins, principles and architectures.

Training in the construction of a netcentric culture, as well as improving information and knowledge sharing, management and flow, is discussed in detail.

The NCWCC provides CSG and ARG leadership with recommendations on how to effectively share knowledge throughout their organizations by leveraging their people, and using well thought-out processes and available technology tools.

The NCWCC covers shipboard and aircraft command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I) architecture and systems; collaborative tools; coalition networks; IM and KM techniques and best practices; and reviews processes available to effectively use specific CSG or ARG netcentric tools.

The NCWCC focuses on information flow into, out of and within the CSG and ARG command and control (C2) architecture and concludes with a practical information mapping exercise to highlight and understand the information needs and battle rhythm of warfare commanders and commanding officers.

The primary attendees for this day of training include CSG and ARG commanders, their warfare commanders, ships' commanding officers and key planning officers.

Mentoring

As a part of the FRTP, TTGP knowledge management mentors are involved in each CSG or ARG supported event, providing mentoring to staff personnel, watchstanders, senior planners and commanders within the group. This phase includes two one-week schoolhouse training events (with war games), as well as three one-week shipboard fleet synthetic training (FST) events.

Tactical Training Group, Pacific mentors are placed within the major C2 hubs of the CSG and ARG and provide mentoring and advice in the execution of internal and external IM and KM processes.

Assessing

Tactical Training Group, Pacific, in collaboration with Commander, Strike Force Training Atlantic (CSFTL), using the guidance contained in the Universal Joint Task List (UJTL) Manual (CJCS 3500.04C), developed knowledge management and information management measures — the Navy Mission Essential Task Lists (NMETLs) that are used to assess the effectiveness of KM efforts within CSGs and ARGs.

Beginning in fall 2006, TTGP began using draft versions of these measures to evaluate Pacific Fleet CSGs and ARGs, and upon approval of these measures in spring 2008, both CSFTL and TTGP have been using the measures for each and every deploying CSG and ARG and forward deployed groups.

There are 23 separate measures that assess the effectiveness of people (training), processes and tools. Since the original measures were drafted in 2006, TTGP has seen a steady improvement in CSG and ARG KM effectiveness and a significant improvement in those CSGs and ARGs that have participated in the Pacific Fleet Response Training Plan more than once since this three-phased KM approach was implemented in 2006.

Figure 1 shows the steady improvement demonstrated by Pacific Fleet strike groups. Tactical Training Group, Pacific maintains that this demonstrated improvement is directly related to the continued exposure of CSGs and ARGs to the training, mentorship and assessment provided by the KM team.

Knowledge management techniques are generating direct and visible improvements in the way that Navy strike groups plan and execute complex operations. The three-phased approach that TTGP executes with each CSG and ARG ensures that KM principles are highlighted as a key enabler to mission accomplishment. By embracing KM principles when developing and exercising C2 processes in its FRTP cycle, the fleet is better able to plan and execute assigned missions.

Tim Snyder is the chief knowledge manager for the TACTRAGRUPAC NCW Syndicate. For more information about TACTRAGRUPAC and course information, go to www.ttgp.navy.mil/.

TAGS: KM
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 21, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and ships from participating nations take part in a NATO mine countermeasures exercise upon the completion of Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX). JTFX is a scenario-driven tactical exercise supporting major combat operations for the Harry S. Truman Strike Group. The exercise provides training for the strike group to proceed into a Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise for final deployment certification. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals.
ATLANTIC OCEAN (Sept. 21, 2009) The aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and ships from participating nations take part in a NATO mine countermeasures exercise upon the completion of Joint Task Force Exercise (JTFX). JTFX is a scenario-driven tactical exercise supporting major combat operations for the Harry S. Truman Strike Group. The exercise provides training for the strike group to proceed into a Fleet Synthetic Training - Joint (FST-J) exercise for final deployment certification. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class David Danals.
Figure 1--Pacific Fleet IM/KM Assessment Results 2006-2009

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