27 June 2012

The Ship is the Classroom

RADM Dave Thomas, Commander, Naval Surface Force, Atlantic (CNSL) and his team have established several waterfront initiatives over the past two years to deliver maintenance training directly to our Sailors on the deckplates. These various assist teams, mini-camps, and Maintenance and Operator Shipboard Training (MOST) initiatives provide valuable training for our Sailors on their equipment, in their spaces. Since every ship is unique, this style of ship-specific training avoids the broad “not exactly what you will see on your ship” course content often experienced by our Sailors in schoolhouse instruction. Instead, this training is truly hands-on, over-the-shoulder instruction that emphasizes standards and demonstrates “what right looks like.” The training embodied in “the ship is the classroom” delivers hull-specific instruction, instills pride of ownership, brings system experts from the technical communities to the waterfront, provides technical oversight to maintenance, and eliminates the need for some generic schoolhouse courses of instruction.

Below is a list along with a brief description of each initiative/team. I’ve seen a number of these teams in action on my ship visits and I believe these efforts are a very big step toward teaching our crews how to take ownership of their gear on their ships. If you have any questions or observations you’d like to share with me (the good and the bad!), leave me a comment here and I’ll do my best to find you an answer, or at a minimum ensure your feedback is passed to RADM Thomas and his team. All the best, JCHjr

Corrosion Control Assistance Team (CCAT)
• Train, document, and execute shipboard preservation; tool repair

Maintenance Assistance Teams
Deck: boat and J-bar davits, sliding pad eyes, life lines, UNREP equipment
Valve: main and secondary drainage valves and remote operators
Auxiliary: AC&R, steering, anchor windlass, compressed air
Gun: CIWS, MK 38 25mm
Gas Turbine: Intake/update preservation, water wash, controls
Electrical: Circuit breakers, power panels and motor controllers

Readiness Assistance Teams – “Find, fix, train, document.”
Engineering and Combat Systems (ERAT / CSRAT)
     o Plant light-off and assessment preparation (e.g., hot and cold checks)
     o Builds competency, confidence and a culture of self-assessment
     o Improves PMS accomplishment and CSMP management o Technical documentation validation (OSS, tech manual, PMS)
     o INSURV and TYCOM MCI preparation; SOE tailoring and execution
     o Builds competency, confidence and a culture of self-assessment
     o Technical documentation (OSS, tech manual, PMS) and CSMP validation

Mini-camps - NAVSEA ISEA SME hands-on, shipboard training on troubled systems
• Deck (8 complete)
• Oil Pollution Abatement (4 complete)
• Helo Hangar Door (scheduled for August 2012)
• Controllable Pitch Propeller (planned)
• Compressed Air (planned)
• Lube Oil System (planned)

Advanced Warfare Training – IAMD (current) and ASW (planned) shipboard training
• Phase 1: Self-assessment and Groom Training (SAGT) on multiple sub-systems
     o System alignment, trend analysis, and maintenance execution
• Phase 2: operator and maintainer training
     o Battle Orders, kill chain and DTE proficiency
• Phase 3: CIC watch team training o Battle Orders/OPTASK, core tactics, comms, mission planning

Deck Self-assessment and Groom Team (D-SAGT) (PMS-317 sponsored training)
• Initially focused on LPD-17 Class ships
• Phase I: NSTM, PMS, PQS review + assessments of 21 deck systems
• Phase II: classroom and hands-on training of each system
• Delivers ‘turn-key’ training products for each system

CNSL Material Standards Assessment Program (MSAP)
• PMS execution, Zone Inspection compliance, program management


Anonymous said...

While there are benefits to holding training on ships vice a dedicated school house, the problems that exist in all of the other shipboard programs that don't work is competing for the sailors time. They aren't focused knowing that after the specific training they still have PMS, rate training, watch, etc, etc.You know the drill.
The new programs continue to highlight that the Navy Training Command is STILL broken since we "found all those savings" about 10-11 years ago. Sailors are NOT trained against the same standards that we hold the contracting community (OSHA/EPS/Standard Items). Ask any sailor about a standard item and look at the 'deer in the headlight stare' you get back.Example; Corrosin control, we all know it accounts for almost 45% of the budget, yet we don't train USN painters...at all. How many petty officers (BMs) do we send off to get NACE training? who does the QA at sea to check surfaces at bright, shiney and free of crap before they slap on 1/4" of paint without feathering the surface? They learn from the guy onboard who learned from another, and so on. Next trip check out the paint locker(don't bother on LCS, they don't carry any paint) and what's in it. Is it really stocked with the correct milspec paint? Do they know that low solar paint goes on PCMS or is it 'pick a gray color that looks close and cover that peeling paint'? When we train the the kids BEFORE they arrive at their Commands you'll get a better product and you won't compete for that 'minimum manned' personnel's time and you might help them reduce that corrosin control problem we have on every ship. Just some feedback as requested.
Retired 0-6

David Klein said...

Admiral - Many of the initiatives you describe appear to be very similar to the long standing CEMAT program we have for aircraft carriers. The CEMAT contract vehicle has been available for west coast surface ships but when MARMC recompeted this in 2007, east coast surface ships were not included - I do not know why. CEMAT is a 'Find, Fix, Train' program and could easily serve as a model if not the actual means to do exactly what CNSL wants. Not sure why we continue to reinvent the wheel on efforts that have proved themselves successful on other platforms. There's no pride of ownership on good ideas and we have provided feedback on CEMAT in various forums over the years (e.g., 2008 USFF/CPF tasker on self-assessment, Flag panels during ASNE Fleet Maintenance Symposiums, and informal staff discussions with other TYCOMs/RMCs). The CEMAT contract is in the process of being recompeted by NSSA (current contract runs through 08 March 2013) and could be another tool in CNSL's toolkit if they are included in the Statement of Work.

Very Respectfully,
David Klein
Naval Engineering Programs Manager

ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Retired O-6, I agree that the ideal solution would be along the lines of what you outline below, and it would be great if we had a system in place where our Sailors were perfectly trained before they arrive on their ships. But we are where we are - we had to get going and deal with the situation in front of us while we try to fix the larger system to deliver proper maintenance training to our Sailors. The steps that RADM Thomas has taken to do the best he can with what he has seems to me to be exactly the right approach for the situation he faces. All the best, JCHjr

ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Mr Klein, thanks very much for this note and for reading my Blog. I totally agree with you that there's no pride of ownership on good ideas - I'll take 'em wherever I can find 'em!

I've passed your info on to RADM Dave Thomas and the incoming CNSP, RADM Tom Copeman; sounds like we can take great advantage of what CEMAT offers. Thanks for your interest and all the best, JCHjr

Anonymous said...

I'm a Norfolk cruiser CO and will chime in with my thoughts which I have also shared with RADM Thomas. While I'm happy to hear about efforts to deliver better trained Sailors to my ship, those will take time. Maybe in 5-7 years they’ll deliver me the kind of seasoned, experienced Sailors I remember having as my LPOs and Work Center Supervisors when I was a DIVO and DH. That’s great for the long term but I’ve got a ship that is in the basic phase now, has an INSURV in early 2013, and deploys shortly thereafter. I also need training now for my current LPOs and Work Center Supervisors so they become the types of CPOs and LDOs that we need vice writing them off while waiting for next year’s recruits to gain 15-20 years of experience. These assistance teams are helping my ship and Sailors today and I want more of them.

Here are some examples of the good things my ship has already received. The CCAT team has trained about half of my crew on corrosion control and preservation. They’ve provided me the air compressors, tools, materials, and primer that my Sailors need to maintain a 20+ year old ship. They visit the ship and provide real-time on the deck plates assistance and training. We’re making great progress with their help and I have confidence that we’re doing things the right way vice just applying a coat of paint to cover up the ugly areas. During my SRA, CCAT helped my crew preserve my RAST trough after BAE attempted to give me a $108K bill for the S/Y to do it. ERAT was tremendously helpful for my Engineers as they prepared for a very successful LOA. I’ve also had the DMAT, CSRAT, and SAGT teams onboard and could go on talking about all the great training and help they’re providing.

I’ll take as much of this training as CNSL, NAVSEA, and others can provide. If people are looking for more ideas, I’d suggest more assistance in Deck, Guns, and Damage Control. These are three common problem areas for our ships because we take relatively small and junior groups of Sailors, give them ownership of large numbers of spaces and significant pieces of equipment, and provide little training to help them do their jobs. It should be no surprise that ships continue to struggle in these areas during INSURVs, 3M inspections, and the training cycle.

ADM J.C. Harvey, Jr USN said...

Captain, thanks very much for this response - you've perfectly articulated what we're trying to do on the waterfront. And I hear you loud and clear - more Deck, Gunnery and DC. I'm on it. All the best, JCHjr