Keeping the blogosphere posted on the goings on of the world of submarines since late 2004... and mocking and belittling general foolishness wherever it may be found. Idaho's first and foremost submarine blog. (If you don't like something on this blog, please E-mail me; don't call me at home.)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

NavET Qual Change -- I Don't Like It

This CSP news release talks about how all NavETs will be required to eventually qualify Assistant Navigator.

"Lt. Cmdr. Michael Whitt, Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet personnel readiness officer, said the change means submariners holding the ET rating will eventually be required to become a certified ANAV.
“By your second tour as a navigation Electronics Technician, you have to complete ANAV qualifications within 24 months,” said Whitt. "The commanding officer would have to report that the person is not qualified and determine plans for qualification or if the person is capable of getting qualified. We want the [E-8] selection board to know who is working towards the ANAV qualification.”

Here's why I don't like this. If there's a qualification that not everyone has to get, everyone, including those who sit the qual boards, has the idea that the qual is more "elite". You end up with only those who really want to put in the extra work going for the qual, and there's less pressure on the CO/Nav to sign people off who aren't ready yet. Not that I can guarantee that this will happen with ANAV; it's just that I've seen it every other time they've made a previously optional qual mandatory. An example of this, outside the Sub Force, is Surface Warfare quals. That used to be a fairly tough qualification; now that it's mandatory, the standards really seem to have dropped. When I was on Stennis, we had about six guys from USS Jefferson City who did a three week "exchange" tour on the carrier; half of them earned their surface water wings in those three weeks. I know submariners are better than everyone else, but that's a little "extreme".

Going deep...

Update 1623 21 July: The guys over at Rontini's Submarine BBS hold forth on this subject....


Blogger WillyShake said...

Well said. I think it would mean the dilution of what should be a very exclusive--because vital--certification.

The argument they use, which is basically the dearth of qualified ANAV's doesn't seem to me to be commensurate with qualifying everybody.

Why don't they instead offer pay initiatives or promises of fast-track promotions if they really want to encourage not just anybody but those with initiative and intelligence?

Permit me an awkward analogy, but it seems to me that they've hit upon a Marxist response to a need for labor when in fact they should be using incentives, not compulsion, to solve the issue.

7/21/2005 12:49 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

shakeman is right...maybe not Marxist, but very authoritarian.

7/21/2005 1:22 PM

Blogger Vigilis said...

You make a good point Bubblehead, but weren't you the guy telling us about the elexctronic voyage management system (VMS)? My experience has been that those qualified to maintain high-technology equpment must know how to use it. There is no choice. We know we can't afford to "deadhead" dead weight on subs; everyone must pull his weight. Those that do not measure up or keep up get fired. We have all seen that, from enlisted to officers.

I will guess this news item of yours is prepatory to announcements concerning mandatory rVMS readiness and utilization, as well. Please keep us informed with your usual diligence.

7/21/2005 1:34 PM

Anonymous Skimmer said...

Looks like the COMSUBPAC personnel readiness officer is looking to weed out the dead weight in the ET rating. Very Forward Thinking! Or is he just looking for a BULLET for his fitness report? Say it isn't so. I have too much respect for submarine community to think this is possible!
Whose idea was it to merge the QM and ET rating, anyway! Yea, I can see that the skill sets are similiar??????
How many ANAV's have been fired since that? How many out of area?
I'm suprised (and glad) that there hasn't been more, serious navigation problems. I mean come on!

7/21/2005 2:08 PM

Blogger Bubblehead said...

I think the only time I talked about VMS was mentioning how the San Francisco grounding reports faulted the SFO crew for not utilizing it during workups; I mentioned that probably most boats had the same comment, because the system, and particularly its interface, wasn't really "perfected" yet.

7/21/2005 4:34 PM

Blogger Lubber's Line said...

Shipmates, step back a bit and look at where the ANAV qual is to be enforced. It’s at the second tour or hitch that’s 6+ years in with at least 4 at sea. From my experience, that’s where an ET should be at an E6-E7 paygrade. By this time, most ETs have completed all their in rate watch station quals. My recollection is that the NavET chiefs I served with in the 80’s were the division LPOs and didn’t do PMs any longer, most of their time on patrol was qualifying and standing COW and Diving Officer.

The end result is more than likely that NavET E6 and E7’s are going to spend more time at the plot table than at the BCP, bad for the Ship Control watch section good for the in rate knowledge set and advancement. To me it sounds like another rung was added to the ET qual ladder.

You can make a generalist verses specialist argument but senior ET E6s and E7s usually let the junior E6s and E5s do the PMs and troubleshooting when equipment is down. In other words, they manage the division and only step in when things aren’t being fixed. E7 seems logical point for a managing type position of Chart prep and Voyage planning.

I still think pulling the QM rate from Subs was a bad move, but what’s done is done and enforcing the ANAV qual at the senior end of the ET rate makes sense to me.

7/21/2005 10:23 PM

Blogger submandave said...

While lubber has the qual timimg right, I've got to echo a bit of what Willie and Joel said. Rather than forcing low-achieving ETs from the force, I, too thing the effect will be more one of lowering the average quality of ANAVs. It somewhat reminds me of Sen. Kerry's idea to increase the number of SOF troops. Waving a magic wand and saying "now you are ANAV" just doesn't cut it.

It is better to demonstrate the material advantages of excellence (something at which the military in general sucks) and letting those with greater ability and/or drive rise to the occasion than hauling out the big stick (something the military in general is too prone to do) and threatening the unmotivated or lower achieving.

7/22/2005 12:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked with Lt Cmdr Whitt and I know he is one of the biggest asses to ever walk the face of the earth. He is your stereotypical "kid who got beat up for his lunch money, turned LDO and now is making the world pay."

His idea, which is in pace with our military thinking, is to make mandatory qualifications for everyone. While in one side of thinking, it's good to have people qual'ed, it is pigeon-holing people into molds they may not fit. Not everyone is meant to be a leader, some are better workers. Not every sub ET should have to qual ANAV (I too disagree with merging sub QM and ET's). I see the logic in saving money, combining more duties, but we're going overboard killing our people with too much work and not enough of them to go around.

Mr. Whitt is also the author of the tour extensions in Guam, where everyone has to do longer tours now. More "streamlining" that screws over people looking for a short tour and go.

7/25/2005 9:27 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

All good comments but the truth of the matter is that the navy is short on anavs. We do get paid more for the job as well 575 a month to be exact but this isnt enough to make people want to do it because like the co, nav, xo, if you make a mistake (ie san fran) you will pay for it and most likely your going home. The other problem for thoes of you who dont know is that back in 96' the navy combined the rates of IC, ET, and QM to equal NAV ET's now as you can see now everyone is good at one not the other but very very few can actually say they have mastered even one.
Forcing people to qualify although may fix the problem of shortage in the fleet but in my belief will only create more problems at sea due to the lack of knowledge. but just for the record im on my second tour E-6 and came in after the rate merger and i am relieving as the anav w/in the month. So it can be done. Also the requirements for anav have changed not only do you have to pass a board but you must also attend perspective anav school (hi.,ct.) and pass a oral interview with parent squadron the bottom liner is the commador. So let me tell you from experience its very hard to get the qual and not have the required knowledge. The question is will that person apply it whe he has his boat. thanks for the time guys. ET1 (ss)

11/06/2005 1:22 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a recently retired (20yr) NavET/former Submarine QM. It used to be that an ANAV was a Quartermaster who was carefully groomed over the years from a fledgling Seaman Recruit to an experienced and seasoned QM1.

The rating merger, and subsequent ANAV school (I helped develop the pilot course at SUBSCOL Groton) that has this once elite job title being mass-produced.

I remember, just after the rating merger, when a group of us QM's were standing around the smoke-pit and half-jokingly griping about the merger, saying that it was only a matter of time till the boats started bouncing off the bottom and each other.

We can all see now that that was not so much of a joke as it was a prediction.

I blame a major portion of the Navy's navigation-related mishaps on the merger.

Bring back the Submarine QM rating (and un-merge the rest) and save the Force.

MAPepin - Groton, CT

6/05/2008 10:39 PM


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