The Navy's radical training overhaul took a big step forward this week as the logistics specialist 'A' school got the go-ahead to begin training under the new concept of "block learning" — a key component of the Navy's future manpower plans.
The move will impact sailors training for both the surface and submarine logistic's specialist ratings, which handle supply and postal duties in the fleet.
The overhaul is the result of a multi-year plan that will move the Navy's training away from long, all-in-one 'A' schools toward a training philosophy that stresses career-long training. Under this new concept, training is broken into chunks — or "blocks" — that will be delivered according to a 20-year path.
This delivery method will lead to the Navy cutting initial training time for most skills by as much as 30 percent, according to Rear Adm. Mike White, commander of Navy Education and Training Command.
That's because a sailor's training will be tailored to the billet they are on their way to or already in, minimizing the time required to get sailors into those jobs and enhancing fleet readiness, White said.
This part of the new plan is called "Ready, Relevant Learning" and is a key training foundation of the Navy's ratings modernization announced last year that will allow sailors to qualify, advance and be assigned in skills related to their own.
That, in turn, will open up new duty assignments and advancement opportunities throughout a sailor's career.
The new training delivery finally received funding this year and the LS rating is the first out of the blocks. Surface sonar technicians and quartermasters are expected to soon follow suit.
Another 15 ratings are poised to make the move next year, while 34 other ratings are currently in the early stages of development and will gradually be implemented over the next few years, Navy officials say.
The new LS training is just the first step and will only impact logistics specialists just out of boot camp.
The new course — referred to as "Block 0" — focuses on the basics of afloat and aviation logistics, including procurement and inventory management, as well as the documents and directives required to perform these tasks.
The new curriculum cut the postal clerk portion of the training, shortening training time by seven days, White told Navy times. A review of the rating showed that sailors generally don't even perform those duties during their first couple of years.
For now, LS sailors who eventually get assigned to postal tasks will pick up the next level of training — Block 1 — no later than 24 months after checking into their first command.
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.