Army requires transformation collaboration between all Training Centres/Training Establishments (TC/TE). This will address learning duplication and friction to facilitate education that is accessible, focused, relevant and nested in the Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) continuum.[i] ASLO has demonstrated how training transformation can occur;[ii] however, further transformation is still required to optimise learning opportunities and align career courses.
Transforming the logistics continuum to support a future army training system
The suite of logistics officer courses (SOLOC)[iii] follow a tactical, operational and strategic level learning continuum. ASLO is transforming the SOLOC [iv] to challenge how, where and when education is conducted[v]. Since 2019, ASLO instructors have focussed the course content to better align with career progression and workforce needs. Shown in figure 1[vi] is the current career progression; however, additional transformation is necessary to optimise learning and support the Future Ready Training system (note, available on DPN only). This transformation will enable ASLO to:
- scale up panel sizes whilst simultaneously reducing our Training Support Requests (TSR) and the length of residential courses
- make our courses more accessible to foster PME
- explore other opportunities to optimise logistic officer career progression
- facilitate and capture the professional development activities officers currently complete (e.g. SMAPs, TEWTS, other planning activities) in units, on exercises and operations, as other industries already do for continual professional development (as Engineers Australia require for chartered engineers).
Feedback on the Army CSS Officer Employment Specifications indicates the requirement for officers to develop their skills to work in multi-domain environments. At ASLO, we currently introduce these skill sets to Lieutenants on the Logistics Officer Basic Course (LOBC), develop them on the Logistics Officer Intermediate Course (LOIC) and then reinforce them at the strategic level to senior Captains and Majors on the Logistics Officer Advanced Course (LOAC). In my view, this progression does not meet the workplace needs as identified as follows:
- Analysis of the gazette, with reinforcement from the FORCOMD PME Directive,[vii] indicated that at least a quarter of the students undertaking LOIC already support multi-domain exercises and operations rendering the LOAC too late in their career development.
- The LOAC duplicates a learning outcome delivered on the LOIC. LOAC LO 2 – Participate in logistics planning to support force level operations and LOIC LO 3 - Perform as a logistic staff officer in a formation and tactical setting both have plan logistic support to operations through a SMAP as their assessment plans.
- There is only very limited joint training in this progression even though a suite of Australian Defence Force Warfare Training Centre (ADFWTC) joint courses exist to provide this education.
The solution to this problem is relatively simple. By reallocating the LOAC learning outcomes[viii] to the LOIC, the reduction in training time for logistics officers allows the incorporation of the ADFWTC joint courses into the Logistics continuum (figure 1). If conducted at the Captain or Major ranks, these courses will develop multi-domain skills sets and networks and, more importantly, nest logistic officer development within the JPME continuum.[ix] The nascent ADC Strategic Logistics Course for 05 officers will reinforce this progression.
Commandants ALTC and RMC-A, have recently challenged their staff on how and where education is conducted[x]. In response to both commandant directives, and within our remit as LOIC instructors, my peers and I have now transformed the LOIC. We have reshaped and simplified the Learning Management Package (LMP) and differentiated between teaching points (TEP) that serve individual learning from those that serve collective learning, as identified in figure 2. Subsequently, this has allowed ASLO to deliver the course in two phases,
1. Self-paced online distance education phase on ADELE-U, completed in home units, at a student’s convenience and without a time restriction.
Anyone in Defence (who has an ADELE-U account) has access to all LOIC learning and assessment material. Where necessary, this approach better facilitates the recognition of prior learning (RPL). This will capture the professional development activities already conducted in units and sets the condition for greater learning in the workplace whilst further reducing their time on a formal course.
To address identified issues with the current logistic continuum, ASLO has challenged when learning is completed. By placing all individual learning online, military professionals can access the content at their convenience[xiv]. This does not remove the need for some face-to-face learning, as learning from others in a residential, group environment can be just as important.[xv] With the separation; however, our ‘collective learning’ phase is now only six (SERCAT 5 GSO or SERCAT 7 SSO) or 15 days long (SRECAT 7 GSO) as opposed to 14/21/30 day courses[xvi]. This transformation has boosted our training ratios[xvii], effectively doubled the throughput and obliterated the TSR, whilst enhancing the learning outcomes for students. Subsequently, students and units will see benefits in reducing time away from home and tempo, whilst promoting a Future Ready training system.
Training transformation collaboration[xviii]
Training transformation cannot occur effectively within training centre stovepipes. We have made as many reasonable changes as we can within ASLO, but to have a true Future Ready transformation effect in Army’s Training System all officer training progressions need to be collectively analysed and optimised at the TEP level. [xix],[xx] In view of this, figure 3 shows how the SOLOC nests within the ACOTC and the JPME continuum. My view is that each training centre ought to be a distinct centre of excellence, i.e. Army Logistics Training Centre (ALTC) – Logistic Operations, Combined Arms Training Centre (CATC) – Combined Arms Operations and Royal Military College – Australia (RMC-A) – Command Lead Mentor Training & Ethics. However, it is evident that duplication of learning outcomes exists between training centres, such as the Ops learning outcome delivered by both the LOIC and COAC, which LWC for ACCC/ACMC duplicates this learning.
A proposed model for career progression that enables education IAW FORCOMD PME Plan 2020-2025 and the ADC JPME Continuum is in figure 4.[xxii] This continuum recommends the removal of the duplicated Ops learning outcome within LWC, that COAC is re-labelled as an intermediate manoeuvre course and that the incorporation of the ADFWTC suite of courses occurs. Students can access learning content of each training centre to gain significant benefits[xxiii]. These changes will increase the tactical acumen of our junior officers to contribute to multi-disciplinary teams, reduce the time away from home units and enables education that is accessible, focused, relevant and nested.
This optimised career progression model is attempting to enable education that is accessible, focused, and relevant, while remaining nested, which will empower our junior officers to conduct the intended roles at the intended rank levels. Optimising learning outcomes creates space to pursue other highly relevant joint training (i.e. JOPC, JLPC etc.) and reinforces the heart of Accelerated Warfare. It also develops Army’s people who contribute multi-disciplinary teams and the expectation that Army contributes to the joint force as part of One Defence. Cross collaboration between TC/TE is essential to make further improvements. To validate the above proposition and address Chief of Army’s Future Ready training system, further analysis is required at the TEP level of SOLOC, ACOTC and other courses.