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Maritime Logistics Community News : November 2009
50 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SPRING 2009 In my time at DNOP, I strongly encouraged many of you to consider factoring ACSC into your career plans, but at that stage had not completed it myself so was unable to provide any ‘first-hand’ experience of what the course is like. Having completed the course in 2008 (not the best posting out of DNOP I know), I am now in a position to add some personal experience to my continued strong encouragement to attend the course. Strategic vs Tactical Thinking Staff Course forces you think beyond the tactical level and look at issues from a strategic perspective. A simple example is looking at White Paper to see that it is more than just the Government’s plans to buy a whole lot of kit, but actually a statement to the region on how Australia sees itself militarily, and what the impact of this statement may have on relationships between countries. A PWO mate of mine (yes, some of them are reasonably normal), who was on course with me and went straight to MFU command on completion feels that ACSC better prepared him for Command than the CO Desig Course. He felt that, whereas CO Desig course reinforced the skills required for Command in a technical sense, Staff Course made him start think of the broader geo-political implications of a warship operating away from Australia. Networking I see one of the major benefits of Staff Course being the networking opportunities it presents. Beyond exponentially increasing the number of people you know in the QANTAS Club and the R2 café, it also gives you a network of people from different services and countries that can assist you in the future. I have been able to use my network from Staff Course to help me understand some issues with ASLAVS I am dealing with in JLC, through to finding the right person in Singapore to discuss logistic preparedness with. While the actual content of the course provided disappointingly little knowledge of the employment of the capabilities of the other two services, your course mates are only too willing to let you know how they do business and are also very keen on finding out how the Navy operates. As a result I now have a much better idea of the capabilities of 17 Brigade (the Army’s primary logistic enabler) and how an Air Operations Centre functions. I also have a better understanding of what Papua New Guinea and Indonesia think of Australia’s role in the region. The routine at Staff Course is probably better than the one you have currently. While there is a requirement for plenty of out of hours work doing research or writing essays you also get 90 minutes for lunch each day, knock off early most Fridays and have sport nearly every Wednesday. In addition you don’t have a phone to answer (a blessing having been at DNOP) or email to worry about. Staff course is also designed to give you time to sit back and think about things. This can range from development of your personal command philosophy through to considering the implications to Australian security of the global war on terror. Education Education and qualifications make up 10% of the selection criteria for promotion to LCDR all the way to CAPT. It is therefore, in your own best interests to try and improve your formal education qualifications, and Staff Course can assist. As Radar mentioned in his article, the Navy Single Service component of Staff Course contributes significantly to the award of a Masters of Maritime Studies through the University of Wollongong. In addition to this, elements of the main program of Staff Course contribute to the award of a Masters of Arts through the University of Wollongong. While you can’t complete either of these Masters from the course work alone, with a little extra effort during the year (usually a subject or two in your own time) you can achieve it. Last year at least six of the Navy class finished with full Masters degrees. Overseas Study Tour If none of this motivates you to want to go to Staff Course how does an all expenses paid overseas trip with a bunch of your mates sound? As part of the ADF’s engagement with our regional neighbours, the Staff Course conducts up to five overseas study tours each year. In my year, the tours were NZ, Singapore/Malaysia as one tour, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam. I lucked in by being selected to go to Vietnam and the best part about it was that, unlike if I was on a ship visiting, I had to organise absolutely nothing about the trip and just got to enjoy the experience. I could keep going on about it, but I am sure by now you get the idea that, in my opinion, there are plenty of reasons why Staff Course is worthwhile. While I don’t think we will ever get to the point where it is compulsory for promotion to O5 like it is in the Army, I do think that if you are serious about promotion you should be pushing to attend. Finally I agree with Radar who at the end of his article said ‘ ...you would have to have rocks in your head not to do it.’ Why attend the Australian Command and Staff Course? BY CMDR NATHAN ROBB, RAN After reading WOSN Radar Monaghan’s article in the last Navy Supply Newsletter entitled ‘Why attend the Single Service Component of the Staff Course’ I thought it was appropriate to write a brief article on why I believe all officers should attend the full Australian Command and Staff Course.