The Navy is in the third year of a training overhaul that will move forward considerably in 2017 with a program called Ready Relevant Learning, expected to be fully finished in 2020. 

The training has now been rolled into the Navy's ratings modernization, which will rely on this system to give sailors training and re-training as they expand their careers into new skill sets.

The effort started when Navy personnel officials realized that initial entry training was taking too long to get trained sailors to the fleet, meaning the Navy needed more bodies to fill billets. The Navy has long given sailors very broad "A" school training up front and often didn't give formal training for the rest of a sailor's careers.

Now, the focus is to give sailors 30 percent of that training up front, on the way to their first fleet assignment and they'll get the other 70 percent in chunks that come at various times throughout their career.

Right now, the Navy is working to develop virtual training that will be given in fleet concentration areas or by distance learning through the web or smartphone applications. This will prevent sailors from costly travel to brick and mortar schools around the nation.

The effort started with six pilot ratings last year, and will expand to more career fields in 2017.

Mark D. Faram is a former reporter for Navy Times. He was a senior writer covering personnel, cultural and historical issues. A nine-year active duty Navy veteran, Faram served from 1978 to 1987 as a Navy Diver and photographer.

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