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Maritime Logistics Community News : December 2008
38 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2008 Post Charge Supply officer Career opportunities Attaining Supply Charge is the most significant milestone in a Supply Officer’s career. The opportunities available from this point are diverse and it also is the beginning of a new career phase where the path is no longer directed by the Supply Officer Training and Employment Continuum. So without the direction of the continuum, how does one progress from this point to have a successful career as a Supply Officer? There is neither one simple answer, nor one path to become the next Head of Maritime Systems, Commander Joint Logistics, Head of Supply Community or whatever else your goal may be. The best guidance is to perform well and remain widely employable, which in my opinion is achieved by taking a ‘degustation’ approach to planning your career. Ensure that you gain experiences across the breadth of areas available for employment. While there will always be a need for Supply Officers with specialist skills, limiting yourself to one stream will also restrict your exposure to other areas that give you the skills, knowledge and experience required at the most senior of ranks. In this edition I have asked a number of Supply Officers to reflect on their post charge career experiences to highlight the diversity in post charge employment and career advancement opportunities. There is definitely no single road to success! Commodore Bob Richards Head of Supply Community ILS Management Career Path by CMdR Grahame Falls, RAN Having completed my charge time on STUART in 2005, and thoroughly enjoying the many and varied sea challenges, I was offered the posting as ADAS Deputy ILS Manager in Canberra. Whilst I didn’t know at that time what ADAS meant, I knew that it related to Integrated Logistic Support (ILS) work in a Major Capital Equipment project within the DMO – something that sounded different, very interesting and built on my previous experiences. I soon learnt that the project was actually providing the ADF with an upgraded Amphibious Deployment and Sustainment (ADAS) capability through building two new ships to replace TOBRUK and one of the LPAs. The range of duties not only included developing requirements for the 10 ILS elements (engineering, maintenance and supply support, PHS&T, tech data, S&TE, personnel, training, computing, facilities) but also used my post charge Supply Officer’s knowledge in operational support and in- service support to ensure that these future support concepts were realistic and manageable by the ship’s crew and shore support organisations. I personally found that working with a great team of professional engineers, fellow logisticians and contracting personnel from both a uniformed and civilian background was excellent. To help develop new staff into the DMO, there are some great ILS professional development courses from a 2 day introduction up to a Masters in Logistics Management. The project team may appear totally focused on contract delivery of the ships and support system, on schedule and within budget, but they didn’t lose sight of the big picture which is to transition a new capability to the ADF for operations, that is sustainable through life. Overall, I found that contributing to a project that is strategically important to the ADF’s capability for the next 30 plus years provided a great sense of achievement and satisfaction. Now I might sound like the poster trying to sell you a post-charge position in a DMO project, SPO or LDA but I am also very mindful that we need to develop broad skills at this Command and Management phase of our careers. So I have recently taken a big step out of my comfort zone and taken a challenge in the Strategic Logistics Branch of the JLC developing logistic preparedness and logistic simulation requirements. First impressions are that this position will greatly assist in developing a strategic perspective of logistics rather than the operational or tactical level that charge Supply Officers are very familiar with. Overall, post charge career guidance may not be as structured as pre-charge with distinct milestones, however, I have found that similar principles apply – develop your career plan which balances your professional and personal aspirations, seek guidance from the Poster, peers, supervisors, informal mentors, and Head of Community as required. Ensure you submit your annual Member’s Statement and remain flexible to opportunities that may arise. Post Charge as a Reservist by LCdR d.J. Turner, RAN The issue of career progression and employment for a post charge supply officer has long been an issue that our branch has wrestled with. The issue is certainly one that is not clearly defined and in fact if you were to ask a Supply Officer to comment on this topic you would no doubt receive many different responses. My view on employment post charge is no doubt reflective of my experiences. Unlike the majority of post charge officers my post charge career, until recently (1 July 2008) was served as a reservist. I commenced my post charge employment mid 2005 as the SO2 Logistics Plans at Headquarters Northern Command and since then have held positions in the Capability Development Group as the Logistics Officer on the Joint Combined Training Centre project, the J45 (Logistics Plans) on the United Nations Mission in Sudan Force HQ and the SO2 Logistics Development in Logistics Plans (Support Branch) HQ Joint Operations Command (HQJOC). I certainly refer to my experience post charge as being ‘purple’ and very much focused on the planning and conduct of operations at the operational level. By way of quick example, during my recent posting to HQJOC I have been involved in a number of activities ranging from participation in planning teams to assist the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to conduct Non Combatant Evacuation Operations, I was the lead logistics planner for joint and combined exercise with the French in New Caledonia and the HQJOC representative on logistics projects that have an impact for HQJOC. In January 2007, HQJOC (Transitional) was established, fundamentally changing the way the ADF commands and controls operations. As a consequence of this decision, I believe that a post charge Supply Officer now has a choice of employment in four key areas, being the Navy Program, HQJOC, HQJLC and DMO. All of these areas are critical to the successful delivery of capability to government and as a post charge supply officer it is important that you position yourself to be employable in all four. Whilst I consider broad employability to be critical I also believe that as a branch we need to maintain our relevance to the primary role of the ADF and I suggest the way to do that is to ensure that we engage and actively