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Maritime Logistics Community News : Summer 2010
38 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER SUMMER 2010 Maybe you're getting a decent up-top trip, maybe even RIMPAC? It all sounds good but don't lose sight of why you're there -- to gain experiences and knowledge to pass the all-important Primary Qualification Board. Your Journal (including the assignments) will only take you part way in preparing you for your Board. What I intend to do with this article is suggest some hints that you may find useful in gaining your Supply Officer's recommendation, and for readying yourself for the trip back to Supply School. Earn your Harbour Watch-keeping Certificate Becoming an Officer of the Day is an important step for you as a Ship's Officer. But believe it or not, it will pay dividends when it comes to passing the PQ Board too. Although the subject matter is different, the approach and preparation are quite similar. You must learn procedures and policy and know how to apply them in various scenarios -- well the PQ Board is no different. Additionally, the OOD Board itself is carried out in a similar fashion to what you will encounter back at Cerberus so it will be a way for you to practice the method with which you answer questions and the presence you convey in front of the Board members. Make sure you get feedback on these points. Keep a Diary Work diaries are a great way to get value out of the most mundane activities. This is because it will force you to consider a wider perspective on seemingly everyday stuff. For example, should you find yourself in a stores line bringing on victuals during the day, write a paragraph later about the experience and try to add in as many things about what went into organising that activity and what will occur after it's complete. You'll find yourself digging up questions about finance, contractor performance, human resource management, the planning cycle, endurance, rations management accounting, etc -- the list goes on. The important thing is to be reflective and critical. You'll raise more questions than you can answer, but that's what you want! Start hitting up the subject matter experts and get the knowledge in your head. Think Management My Pusser taught me a valuable lesson (actually he taught me more than one but this is the one that stuck): Officers plan and manage, Senior Sailors supervise and train, Junior Sailors work. Now, that being said, you as an ASO will need to get your hands dirty to learn anything, but in so doing will earn your place in the hierarchy. But I digress. Those two words, plan and manage, are the key to passing the PQ Board because it is the perspective you must take on each of our areas of responsibility. So, when you think about how you might tackle a given problem or issue, think about those two words and how they apply. Knowing the number of the Web Form to fill out to investigate a stores loss is not enough -- you've got to know the planning and management implications of what the process means. Departmentalise This is a tip I picked up from another ASO. When you look through your ship's longcast, consider the implications of planned activities on each of the sub-departments for which Supply is responsible. How does it affect processes and people? What plans might need to be put in place to achieve the activity? What are the rub points and how might you deconflict them? How might we gain other advantages? Rest assured that these are the questions that are being asked in weekly planning and Regulator's meetings. Try to get along to these as an observer (if not a participant) and you'll pick up plenty. What this process will do, moreover, is get you thinking like a manager because if you want to move on to the next stage of your career you can ill-afford to be merely transactional. Be an Active Divisional Officer If you haven't completed the Junior Officer Leadership Course then you are at a slight disadvantage in being an Assistant Divisional Officer -- but only slight. The procedures and policies are all within easy reach in a ship as well as a wealth of knowledge and experience from other DOs and the COSEC. The important thing is not to be a bystander when it comes to Divisional work. Sit on the DSO's shoulder when issues crop up and soak up what's happening. Read the more important policy documents to do with personnel management (ABR10, Defence Instructions for Unacceptable Behaviour, Compulsory Termination, etc). When reports, warnings, censures or other paperwork need to be generated, read up on what must go into them and again consider the planning and management issues that may ensue. Get Across the Supply Charge Knowledge Map Don't leave this one too long. I suggest you pin it up wherever your workspace is and refer to it often. It will be on the DSO's mind quite a bit too so be sure to get their take on it. The board is basing their questions on this piece of paper so it stands to reason to know it. It will also help you highlight those areas in which you may be lacking experience. Let's face it, your ship will not go everywhere and do everything in one calendar year. There are going to be activities in which you will not gain exposure and the map will point you towards areas where you're going to have to read up and ask questions. Conclusion Looking back over my year in Kanimbla, there are many things I would have done differently in preparing for my board. The one single thing I'm glad I did do was get involved. Trust me when I say that too many things will pass you by if you just stick to finance and service funds. Knowing how to operate your POS terminal is in no way as important as knowing and understanding the impact the Canteen has on the Ship's morale. Also remember that even though your success is largely in your hands, we as Supply Officers have a true community from which to draw support and advice. Good luck! How to get the most out of your ASO time Exciting isn't it? The day you find out in which ship you will spend the next twelve months beavering away to finish your Journal? BY LEUT M. LOITERTON, RAN