Guest Blog By: Lt. Marissa Legg, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet
In January 2017, the chief of naval operations (CNO) released ‘Navy Leader Development Framework,’ outlining his guidance on how the U.S. Navy needs to develop operational and warfighting competence, as well as character through schools, on the job training, and self-guided learning. Following this framework, he sent out a message later in the year outlining an implementation plan that tasked all community leaders to establish strategies and continuums aimed at developing leaders in both the enlisted and officer ranks; up to command senior enlisted and major command levels, respectively.
Developing the Petty Officer Leadership Course:
While working to meet the CNO’s tasker, Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CNSP) staff identified a gap in petty officer leadership training that has existed since the discontinuation of the Navy’s leader development program (NAVLEAD). Currently, junior enlisted Sailors receive the Petty Officer Selectee Leadership Course (POSLC) at their commands prior to being promoted to E4, and then they aren’t required to complete any other formal leadership schools or training until prior to advancing to the rank of chief petty officer and, possibly later, the Senior Enlisted Academy. In order to fill this gap and improve the continuity of competency and character of the Surface Force’s junior enlisted Sailors, CNSP is pursuing the effectiveness of standing up a Petty Officer Leadership Course (POLC).
What is POLC:
The current POLC contains a course of instruction created by the Naval Leadership and Ethics Center (NLEC), with the assistance of CNSP and Afloat Training Group (ATG). In total, there are three different courses, each lasting three days. The courses are the Foundational Leader Development Course, which provides training for seaman; the Intermediate Leader Development Course; which provides training for petty officers 3rd class; and the Advanced Leader Development Course, which performs training for petty officers 2nd class. Each course is designed to touch on topics such as self-awareness, the naval profession, naval leadership, and ethical decision making, with a focus to upcoming leadership positions and expectations. A big difference between this course and POSLC is a dedicated training environment. Sailors come off their ships, enter into a non-attributional environment, and get the opportunity to network with other Sailors in their paygrades from across the waterfront.
Specifically for the program’s pilot series, senior enlisted leaders from ATG San Diego, who have received instructor training and qualification, will be conducting the training. There will be four classes of each level, each class with 25 Sailors. In order to attend the class, Sailors are nominated by their command master chief and granted acceptance into the course by CNSP’s Force Master Chief Jason E. Wallis.
Moving forward with POLC:
With the conclusion of each pilot class, lessons learned, as well as student and command feedback will be used to make necessary curriculum and training adjustments prior to the next session. All data will be collected with an eye toward providing a permanent program for the Surface Force in the future, with potential for adoption of practices Navy-wide. The pilot series, delivery of courses and collection of data, will take just shy of one year to complete. The first course begins Oct. 2 with kick-off remarks from Vice Adm. Tom Rowden, Commander Naval Surface Forces.