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Category Archives: Education for Seapower

Education and Learning an Operational Imperative

By John Kroger, Chief Learning Officer and Vice Adm. John Nowell, Chief of Naval Personnel

Learning, innovation, and personal and professional development are part of our Naval heritage and continue to be important in enabling the warfighters of today.

Our service is moving forward in recording and recognizing educational and learning achievements in our formal fitness reports to ensure it is viewed as a strategic priority, alongside our ships, aircraft and weapons systems. 

This will give our Navy a warfighting advantage and allow us to thrive and win against any competitor in this rapidly changing and complex global environment.

Education and a commitment to continuous learning is an operational imperative and, through our enhanced talent management processes, we will empower and reward officers who accelerate their intellectual development and improve their performance through education and learning opportunities.

To support these goals, and in conjunction with MyNavy HR’s efforts to integrate education effectively into Sailor 2025 talent management initiatives, fitness reports (FITREPs) will include specific comments regarding education, learning, and support for a learning culture. This requirement will allow us to identify, select, and reward those officers who have demonstrated the commitment and ability to learn, as well as those who encourage and support the learning of others, by placing them into positions of influence at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels.

NAVADMIN 137/20, released May 7, brings together key elements of the Navy’s Education for Seapower Strategy 2020 and the MyNavy HR Sailor 2025 initiative to better align and integrate naval education into warfighting development and talent management. From selection boards to detailing, those officers with a proven commitment and ability to learn, and who encourage others to learn, will thrive, and this must be formally documented and considered in Fitness Reports.

As acting Secretary of the Navy James E. McPherson has said, “To deter and outfight potential opponents in a great power competition, our force of professionals is going to have to outthink them, and we can only do that through continual learning and education. Our action today will ensure that our talent management system rewards officers who advance warfighting effectiveness through intellectual development and represents an important milestone as we implement our comprehensive “Education for Seapower Strategy.” 

Education and continuous learning will hold greater value within the modernized and enhanced talent management system – promotion boards, selection processes, and detailing decisions. To enable this, we must have all of the right information available through our performance evaluation system.

According to the message, documentation in FITREPs must include personal achievements in education and learning that contribute to a culture of continuous learning, improved knowledge, and warfighting effectiveness at both the individual and unit level. Education and continuous learning progress, achievements and contributions will also receive greater emphasis during statutory and administrative selection boards.

The value that education and continuous learning brings to our Navy team’s quest to maintain overmatch against any threat is undisputed. It is imperative to document an individual’s commitment to intellectual growth so that our warfighters have a benchmark to strive for in bettering themselves year after year across their career.

BUPERS Instruction 1610.10E reflects the policy changes and provides guidance to reporting seniors regarding the documentation of professional military education, off-duty education, and other educational and learning achievements pursued during a reporting period. Additionally, personal achievement in education and learning, and support of the education and learning efforts of others, will be linked to block 1.0, 3.0, and 5.0 performance trait content in existing FITREP assessment criteria.

Additionally, reporting seniors are directed to document all education and learning whether Professional Military Education, Navy, civilian, or unit level education. The reporting senior should also consider the degree to which the member performs self-assessment and improvement, pursues professional development and education, improves current skills and knowledge, and acquires new skills.

Specific examples of continuous learning that should be documented include: resident and non-resident professional military education coursework, professional and academic qualifications and certifications, civilian education coursework, personal reading program that includes (but is not limited to) selections from CNO’s Reading List, participation in discussion groups and military societies, writing in national security or military journals, and involvement in learning through new technologies.

Instructions and guidance on filling out the applicable areas of a FITREP can be found in the message.

As the chief of naval operations detailed in FRAGO 01/2019, our nation expects a Navy ready to fight today and the policy updates announced in NAVADMIN 137/20 actively moves the Navy forward in terms of the modernization and transformation needed to ensure we are ready for tomorrow. We will instill continuous learning behaviors to broaden and deepen warfighting knowledge, which will enable adaptation, improvement, and strengthen mission command to outthink and outfight any adversary. The changes to the FITREP system ensure that we, as a Service, keep sight that learning is the ultimate warfare enabler and intellectual development a critical warfighting capability.

In closing, we hope leaders at all levels see the importance in this change – and support every member of the team’s pursuit to learn, develop, and ultimately become better warfighters. poyrazdogany

A New Era of Enlisted Education

Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Russell Smith
Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black

One of the biggest challenges and greatest responsibilities for the Department of the Navy today is getting you — America’s Sailors and Marines — ready for the next fight. The war of the future will likely happen in this generation and it’s not going to resemble what we’ve fought in the last 18 years.

It’s imperative for all of you to be experts in your skill sets and have the mental dexterity to operate in combat environments, so that under high stress in the middle of the night when chaos ensues, you’ll be more capable of taking decisive action to save each other and prevail in combat.

For this reason the Department of the Navy’s 2018 Education for Seapower study could not have come along at a better time, recognizing that tough training combined with the broadened intellectual capability of our Navy and Marine Corps team imbued with a passion for continuous learning will be our foundation. This study fundamentally transformed how we think about and prioritize enlisted education in the naval services by allowing you to focus on your job, while capturing credit for skills learned and performed; confidently helping you achieve your education goals by quantifying the work you’re already doing to cultivate in an accredited associates degree.  

200304-N-PM193-1001 WASHINGTON (March 4, 2020) Graphic created using multiple image sources, photo editing software, and digital design tools to create an infographic highlighting the U.S. Naval Community College. Initial testing of operating capabilities and partnerships are to begin in early 2021. (U.S. Navy Graphic by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Alexander C. Kubitza)

To that end, former Secretary Richard Spencer and Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly’s top priority was to create a United States Naval Community College for enlisted Sailors and Marines — an exciting demonstration of our commitment to you. The USNCC provides enlisted personnel from every background an unprecedented opportunity to learn and professionally grow throughout the course of their career.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON civilians in the information technology and engineering fields.

In partnership with public and private colleges and universities, USNCC intends to offer a select number associate of science and associate of art degrees in fields directly related to the warfighting needs of the Navy and Marine Corps, all at no cost to you — the service member. The opportunity to pursue and even complete an associate’s degree at the beginning of your career will also be transferable to any of our partnered education institutions to further degree programs or certifications.

The USNCC will kick off a pilot program in January 2021 for approximately 500 Sailors, Marines and DON civilians in the information technology and engineering fields. By the end of 2022, USNCC will have more than 5,000 students enrolled and by the end of 2025, every newly accessed Sailor and Marine will automatically be enrolled, which will guide you throughout your military career and beyond.

The tuition assistance program will remain so you can continue your path of learning and pursuing personal growth.

College and a lifelong dedication to learning is incredibly important. Continuous learning helps to develop critical thinking skills, which makes us better Sailors and Marines, better leaders, and ultimately better citizens. The path of military service is a difficult one, education should enhance your role in our national security as well as enable your future goals. The United States Naval Community College will no doubt advance our fleet performance, provide warfighting advantages and ensure that the development of enlisted Navy and Marine leaders remains a critical warfighting capability for our national defense.

191016-N-YG104-0004 WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2019) Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps (SMMC) Troy E. Black and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (MCPON) Russell Smith pose for a photo. SMMC and MCPON met to discuss naval integration and partnership across the Navy-Marine Corps team. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sarah Villegas) U.S. Navy