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Maritime Logistics Community News : Winter 2011
17 NAVY SUPPLY NEWSLETTER WINTER 2011 need Supply Officers in strategic and operational level headquarters) and then return to their chosen specialist career path. Postings that do not obviously fit into either specialisation would still be open to all Supply Officers – overseas postings or recruiting jobs provide valuable broadening/family/development opportunities on the priming pathway. Breadth of experience becomes more important for promotion at the senior levels; however, the current method of accruing experience on an ad hoc basis is not providing a pool of consistently prepared candidates for promotion. As a starting point to the priming journey, the Supply Community needs to investigate what constitutes the ideal experience, training and education required for the Commander Joint Logistics (CJLOG) and Head of Maritime Systems (HMS) positions and then work backwards to see how to best incorporate these elements into the career progression of the logistics specialisations. In order to meet the proposed vision of Navy Supply Officers being the first choice for senior positions in those Defence agencies that demand logistics excellence, we need to understand what Supply Officers need to achieve in their careers to better prepare them for the highest levels of responsibility. Sea charge should remain a compulsory gate through which all Supply Officers must pass. In the priming model, charge experience becomes even more important because it provides Supply Officers with operational and seagoing credibility and a baseline of training and experience prior to selecting a specialisation. Priming should only occur after sea charge so that all Supply Officers are given the opportunity to taste the fruits of JLC/ JOC and DMO prior to charge. After their charge posting, Supply Officers will need to come to a mutual agreement with Navy regarding their career direction for the next decade and beyond. To work effectively, priming requires a dedicated coordination mechanism to ensure that individuals understand the journey on which they have embarked and acknowledge the consequences of detouring from the agreed direction. Ongoing commitment is essential to ensure that priming is rigorously continued into the future – the Supply Community cannot afford to allow it to be just a flavour-of–the-month concept or individuals will end up being disadvantaged and disenfranchised. Future Heads of Community must sign up to the concept and maintain the momentum. The proposed change to the current Supply Officer career progression model will require significant analysis to determine whether the specialisations are sustainable and that the Supply Community can cope with the potential reduction in flexibility and less numbers in the respective posting pools. Organisational/structural needs will need to be balanced with the needs/wants/desires of the individual. Whilst not everybody wants to be CJLOG or HMS (or the one-star positions within these organisations along the way), every Supply Officer should be offered the opportunity to be competitive for these positions when they reach the upper ranks. There will be a number of policy questions that need to be considered but should not be allowed to become barriers to further investigation. Such considerations include: the implications of transferring specialisations, the process to be implemented when the number of volunteers for one specialisation are insufficient, and the titles of each specialisation. A cautious approach is required to ensure that Navy Supply Officers can still access the full range of employment opportunities currently open to Supply Officers – it would be a shame to sacrifice some of the amazing postings available to the community under the current progression model. In summary, preparation for the most senior positions in Defence should not commence at the Captain or Commodore level – it should start from the day we join Defence. To help make this happen, the Navy Supply Community catchcry should be ‘prime or perish’ to ensure that Supply Officers are more consistently competitive for higher positions whilst accruing deep specialist knowledge in one of two specialisations. Supply Officers should pursue a specialisation after sea charge to better prepare them for responsibilities at the highest levels of Defence and allow them to maintain their professional development and recognition in a way that is respected by the relevant Defence Groups and civilian industries. The Navy Supply Community must take decisive action to ensure that we level the promotion and posting playing fields whilst providing the most value to those Defence agencies that demand logistics excellence. About the Author CAPT O’Keefe is the Commanding Officer of the Joint Warfare, Doctrine and Training Centre and the Commander of the ADF Peace Operations Training Centre. He was previously the Director Navy Professional Requirements (Engineering and Logistics). He is a graduate of the Defence and Strategic Studies Course. Proudly supplying the Australian Defence Force for over 20 years aus-tech.com.au • Gas detection systems • Gas detectors • Calibration gases and kits • Applications engineering • NATA certified Our Knowledge. Your Solution. Austech Navy supply April 2011.indd 1 21/03/2011 1:27:21 PM