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CHIPS Articles: Sea Warrior: a True Revolution in Training

Sea Warrior: a True Revolution in Training
Interview with Vice Adm. J. Kevin Moran, Commander, Naval Education and Training Command
By CHIPS Magazine - October-December 2005
Encore! Encore! When the CHIPS staff heard Vice Adm. Moran brief the Sea Warrior vision to the spellbound audience at the FORCEnet Engineering Conference in June, we had to ask the admiral if he would discuss some of the aspects of the Sea Warrior vision with CHIPS.

This interview is a follow-on to Vice Adm. Moran's interview in the Jul-Sep 2005 issue where he talked about Navy Knowledge Online serving the educational and training needs of today's Sailors.

CHIPS: What is the 5 Vector Model and what does it mean to Sailors? Can Sailors tailor it according to their career goals or is the 5VM standardized according to rating?

Vice Adm. Moran: It is flexible, and it is both standardized and tailorable. I call it the Sailor's resumé. It is a way of capturing the requirements for a position in the U.S. Navy, and it is a real resumé for a Sailor. For example, the professional vector for an electrician's mate was built by a Job Task Analysis (JTA) that asked, 'What it is this Sailor needs to know and when does he or she need to know it?'

We worked with a company called SkillsNET® because its algorithm is linked to the Department of Labor statistics and standards. When you are done doing the JTA, you take that data and apply it to the algorithm and out comes a series of skill objects. Skill objects are simply a way of bundling knowledge, skills, abilities and training into small, manageable, chunks of human resource data.

Then you lay these skill objects out at the apprentice, journeyman and master levels on the vector and take it to the community in the fleet that has responsibility for that vector, in this case the Commander of Naval Surface Forces, to get the data verified. We would then ask the admiral and his staff, 'Do you think that this is in fact the requirements for electrician's mates in terms of what they need to know and when they need to know it throughout their careers?' When he said 'Yes,' it became the requirement for electrician's mates.

The professional vector is the requirement. Sailors who are electrician's mates build their resumés based on the requirement. That's why I say that the 5VM is both a requirement and a real resumé. Does the Sailor have control over it? Absolutely. When Sea Warrior comes to life, the Sailor's challenge is to improve that resumé to be ready for the next position.

CHIPS: In your brief you talked about how commanding officers will have the ability to view a Sailor's 5VM to make sure he or she is the right fit for the job. Would the commander only look at the professional development vector or would personal development be viewed as well? For example, if someone took the initiative to learn a foreign language or some other useful skill would that be of interest?

Vice Adm. Moran: Let me first say we are not quite there yet. We have two of the three databases we need to be able to do exactly what you describe in the question, and we are just starting the third one now. We need that third database for the gaining command to be able to see the requirements versus the Sailor's resumé.

You can go on Navy Knowledge Online today and look at 5 Vector Models for Sailors, but all the 5VMs are not fully populated. We are not detailing by the 5VM yet. We have to complete that third database to do the interactive detailing you just asked about. If that third database were operational, the gaining command would be able to see that someone could, for example, speak a foreign language, although that may not be relevant for the position that individual is interested in. In the vision we have today for Sea Warrior, the gaining command will be able to look across the 5 Vectors of the model to see if the individual fits the position.

CHIPS: It appears that Sailors will need to be self-motivated to make this training approach work. Is mentoring or leadership help available through Sea Warrior to keep Sailors motivated?

Vice Adm. Moran: You are absolutely right. Right now our training and development process in the Navy is a push system. You get orders — we are pushing you to the next command — and we are pushing you through the training in the development piece. Sea Warrior is a pull system, so Sailors will be able to improve their resumés to get ready for the next position. Realistically, we know there will be folks who are like General Colin Powell and General Douglas McArthur who will stick out like a sore thumb, and mere mortals like most of us that will have some holes in our resumés, and we know there will always be those individuals that will be a bit of a challenge.

Along with building Sea Warrior, the folks at Navy Personnel Command (NPC) have been working on a new performance and mentoring process to work with Sea Warrior to help Sailors to succeed. I would defer to them for a more definitive definition of the new mentoring program they are working on, but the short answer is yes.

CHIPS: How does the 5VM impact manning?

Vice Adm. Moran: Sea Warrior will be the process to manage our Human Capital Strategy to deliver readiness so the 5 Vector Model, that resumé, will be the integral part of the entire manning process.

CHIPS: You mentioned the third database being built for interactive detailing. Are Sailors able to send a resumé to apply for job openings?

Vice Adm. Moran: Not at the current time. We need the third database to be built in order to do a gap analysis between the SkillObject™ requirements for a position and what is actually in the Sailor’s resumé. The JCMS, JASS (Job Advertising Selection System) Career Management System, which is the current online interactive detailing tool, is a spiral-developed process. It is a more robust way of detailing than we’ve been able to do in the past, but we are still moving toward Sea Warrior functionality, so we are not there yet. We are actually in an interim step. Sailors can’t compare their resumés yet, but they can compare parts of their profiles to see how well they fit a position.

CHIPS: So when Sea Warrior is fully developed will it allow Sailors more independence in making career choices?

Vice Adm. Moran: Absolutely!

CHIPS: We talked a little bit about training requirements. For example, how do you know that an E-6, Information Systems Technician on a carrier has the right skills to do the job?

Vice Adm. Moran: There are really two parts to that answer. First, you have to look at what an IT needs across the entire continuum and somewhere in that continuum are the knowledge, skills and abilities needed for that E-6 IT position on the aircraft carrier. We already have built SkillObjects to capture that requirement. Then when you actually build that position on that aircraft carrier, you move the SkillObjects with the knowledge, skills and abilities requirements in the database to define that position.

It’s stubby pencil work; you build the requirement for all ITs and somewhere in there is a SkillObject for a particular chunk of knowledge, skills and abilities. You look at those positions in the fleet and move SkillObjects into that positional map so that you capture the requirement for that particular job on a particular unit. For example, a 1st class electrician’s mate on a carrier would need different skills than a 1st class electrician’s mate on a DDG.

CHIPS: Do you have feedback on how Sailors rate the 5VM?

Vice Adm. Moran: Yes, we have. A 3rd class master-at-arms from Sigonella, Sicily, wrote: ‘I just want to say that of all the time that I spend [spent] on this site, this 5VM is just fantastic!!! It helps me tremendously! Fantastic Job! Love the new look! Thank you so much!’

A 1st class aviation electrician’s mate from the Fleet Aviation Specialized Operational Training Group (FASO) wrote: ‘The new layout looks good.’

On a recent survey question posted on Navy Knowledge Online (NKO) that had 2,337 total responses we found the following responses. Question: ‘I need more information about...’

·How to use my 5VM … 44.0 percent of respondents agreed.

·How the 5VM will affect advancement … 48.2 percent of respondents agreed (this was the top response).

The 5 Vector Model FAQ page has received more than 23,000 hits since January 2005. The 5VM FAQs are available on the Naval Personnel Development Command Web site at https://www.npdc.navy.mil, and are also available via NKO at https://www.nko.navy.mil.

CHIPS: Does the 5VM work the same way for all enlisted ratings?

Vice Adm. Moran: Yes, the vision is that the 5VM will work the same for all of the ratings. It is a recipe so it will work the same. We are in the process now of building the SkillObjects for officers. Right now the recipe is the same, but it could change based on our continuing work. The 5VM is also in a spiral-development process.

CHIPS: A lot of young people join the service for educational benefits. Is Sea Warrior being used as a recruiting tool?

Vice Adm. Moran: It is interesting that you mentioned that. It is not in the recruiting part of our business yet; but we are discussing it.

CHIPS: A smaller fighting force could mean less opportunity for advancement. The data you collect in the 5VM could be used as a rating approach to a performance-based system to reward top per¬formers. Is Navy looking at different ways to create incentives for top performers?

Vice Adm. Moran: What you are getting into now is the Navy’s Human Capital Strategy, which you will be able to lay on top of this recipe to build incentive packages. Capt. Scott Van Buskirk [now Rear Adm. Buskirk] is working the Navy’s Human Capital Strategy for the Chief of Naval Operations. What they come up with remains to be seen. But clearly, you can see how this recipe can be used in terms of compensation and other human resources tools to tailor the force.

CHIPS: Is Sea Warrior technology flexible enough to continue to evolve?

Vice Adm. Moran: There are a couple answers to that question. One of the challenges we will have is technology. To stay flexible and relevant, we will have to have governance over these data¬bases to change the data that links to the requirements. Then we in the training and education business must be able to change content in our school houses in order to deliver the knowledge, skills and abilities needed by the Sailor going to key positions that effect readiness.

Commander, Fleet Forces Command is working on the governance that we will have to lay over the top of these databases. Common things like who can make changes and when can changes be made are critical issues. Then you’ll need an IT system that can cover the vision. The IT system needs to be robust, it needs to be ubiquitous, and it needs to be able to scale.

We are on a journey, and we are still in the crawling stage, but there is a lot of stuff coming together. What I’m working on is building the foundation, getting the databases built and trying to get my hands around the challenges of building an IT system capable of meeting the vision. Then the CNO will decide what Navy Human Capital Strategy to lay on top of this Sea Warrior architecture.

CHIPS: In your previous interview we talked about the NKO portal. Is the intent for Sailors to “live” in that enclave to do their work?

Vice Adm. Moran: Clearly, there is a lot of daily work that will not be in the NKO en¬ironment. The vision is that NKO is linked to a reach back tool that will help a Sailor do his or her job in terms of troubleshooting and reach back to technical assistance. We partnered with Distance Support, a program run by the Naval Sea Systems Command, because the Sea Warrior vision fits nicely within the Distance Support program.

When we get a new weapons system in the Navy, we also get a technical pub and training program. We would like that from day one to be delivered in a format that we can put into our metadata library and use as a tool to deliver content in the schoolhouse or online as a product that helps Sailors trouble-shoot equipment and ensures that they are looking at the same piece of content they saw back in the schoolhouse.

In terms of the workday, I’m always concerned about how much we can fit into a standard workday. The vision for this self-improvement was not to give us a 10-hour workday and go home and do six hours of homework. We want to get this vision into a Sailor’s workday. We know that some hard-chargers will do that extra work and it’s OK, but for us mere mortals, we have to fit this in the standard workday. We are trying to understand the complexity of this issue. We have done some work on a couple of ships trying to understand how much we can fit in with this kind of a vision.

CHIPS: I was going to ask how Sailors would be able to fit this responsibility in with all the operational duties they have.

Vice Adm. Moran: It is not just workload, you have to have the devices available, and they have to be linked to the content. Then it is a policy decision on how you fit it into the workday. When you do settle the policy piece, then you think about how many devices of what kind do we need for the ships so that each Sailor has access to do what we just talked about. It’s an impor¬tant issue that we need to come to grips with. But even if I get all of this 30 or 40 percent right, you won’t recognize the United States Navy. It is that dynamic of a vision.

Vice Adm. J. Kevin Moran at the FORCEnet Engineering Conference briefing the Sea Warrior vision June 28, 2005.
Vice Adm. J. Kevin Moran at the FORCEnet Engineering Conference briefing the Sea Warrior vision June 28, 2005.

Computer screen showing the 5 Vector Model module.
Computer screen showing the 5 Vector Model module.

IT 5VM Example.  Shows a list of job titles that can be clicked to plot job on 5vm.
IT 5VM Example

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