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CHIPS Articles: Naval Information Forces hosts Fleet Waterfront Applications Workshop in San Diego

Naval Information Forces hosts Fleet Waterfront Applications Workshop in San Diego
By Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric Coffer - February 8, 2016
Naval Information Forces (NAVIFOR) held a four-day Fleet Waterfront Applications Workshop on Naval Base San Diego, Feb. 2-5.

Fleet Waterfront Applications Workshops are hosted by the NAVIFOR Fleet Functional Area Manager (FAM) and are intended to provide training and best practices on shipboard network systems and applications. The workshops are open to all ratings and designators, government civilians and contractors.

These workshops stemmed from information gathered by the NAVIFOR Fleet Applications and Solutions Team (FAST) over a four-year period. According to more than 2,100 surveys completed by shipboard personnel across all ratings, Sailors identified configuring, troubleshooting and maintaining shipboard systems and applications as their most challenging issues.

“Sometimes the issues are operator related, training related and in some cases the program itself simply has faults,” said John Toomer, NAVIFOR Fleet Functional Area manager. “The purpose of the workshop conducted this week is intended to help the fleet with just-in-time training on these systems.”

Sailors don’t always possess the tools and resources to fix a problem with a system and that can be a major problem while at sea.

“Sailors might receive a 500-page training manual for a system but it doesn’t replace a two-way conversation with a subject matter expert or SME,” said Toomer. “There is a benefit from being in these workshops and to be able to physically see that SME and ask them questions.”

The workshops help the participants share their issues with the FAM team who in turn work to empower them with the training, skills and solutions needed to manage and maintain applications and shipboard systems on their own.

“The ultimate goal is to work our way out of these training workshops,” said Toomer. “This would mean that the knowledge of the users is increasing and the issues Sailors are having with these applications are going away.”

Those who attend the workshops come away with valuable knowledge that they can take back to their ships, creating a “train-the-trainer” mentality.

“Getting contact information and learning all the resources to make sure we are staying compliant and up-to-date on our systems is an important tool from the training,” said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Ryan Fox. “I think that the training and resources we gathered from the workshop will greatly benefit our command now and in the future.”

The greater the attendance at the workshops, the less the ships will need to contact subject matter experts to help troubleshoot system faults.

“If we can get leadership on ships to allow their Sailors to attend this workshop, I think that would be one way to reach our goals,” said Toomer. “The more we can increase participation and attendance in these workshops, the fewer trouble tickets we will see in the future on many of these systems.”

The Fleet Functional Area Manager’s Office is designated as N41 under NAVIFOR. NAVIFOR’s mission is to drive readiness for global Information Warfare commands both afloat and ashore and to free the operational Information Warfare commands from administrative distractions so they can focus on operations.

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