Building the Future Ready training systemBy David Hindmarsh November 27, 2020
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, DPN link 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.
[i] COMD FORCOMD Directive 17-20, Developing The Military Professional In An Era Of Accelerated Warfare-The Forces Command PME Plan 2020-2025
[iii] This article will focus on the transformation of the LOIC and LOAC and not the critical foundation Logistic Officer Basic Course (LOBC), this will still be largely residential.
LOBC is the ab initio training for logistics and health Lieutenants to be experts in their tactical application of their corps. This should always be a residential course, immediately following training at the Royal Military College – Duntroon, as it is builds Lieutenants foundation knowledge in their corps roles and responsibilities. This course will experience little transformation, except within the classrooms methods of delivery, already transformed. However, optimisation of the course program and learning outcome progression between ASLO and other Army Logistics Training Centre schools should occur to scale back the time away for students from entering their workplace and optimise their learning progression between schools.
[v] COMDT ALTC Directive 2-20, Implementation plan for ALTC Training Transformation
[vi] CSS Officer Employment Specification, dated 03 Oct 18 and Health Officers Employment Specification, amdt 4 01 Sep 18
[vii] The FORCOMD PME plan states individual postings and UE positions within the joint force are largely at the O4 level and above for officers. This would reinforce having joint courses at our senior captain years to enable progression to be an O4. ASLO are proposing to the Combat Service Support Officer Review to bring the ADFWTC suite of joint courses into the SOLOC at our senior Captain years to enable them to be O4s, therefore optimising education that is focused, relevant and nested in the JPME continuum.
[viii] The Logistics Officer Advance Course (LOAC) learning outcomes in a “strategic” planning perspective; Learning Outcome One – Outline current strategic defence logistics and Learning Outcome Two – Participate in logistics planning to support force level operations. This level of learning is conducted too late in the career path does not enable to staff officer grade three planner, as prescribed outcome of the assessed activities.
Learning outcome one is a series of joint presentations (only four presentations within the four-week course facilitated by joint enablers) in updating the logistics community on current practice, predominately within Mounting Operations.
Learning outcome two is just another operational level staff military appreciation process (SMAP) activity, conducted from the Force Sustainment Group perspective (another operational level Brigade Headquarters). Staff officer grade three (SO3) logistic planners make up the majority of planning and implementation appointments within this operational level service headquarters. SO3 logistic planner’s targeted learning is within Logistics Officer Intermediate Course (LOIC). As such, the SOLOC has shifted to conduct this learning outcome within the LOIC, and use this operational Brigade Headquarters activity as a precursor to Combat Officer Advanced Course (COAC) Module 3 to enable SO3 take up appointments within the Sustainment and Combat Brigades.
If we analyse deeper into the strategic level planning which LOAC is to afford students, encompassing mounting support planning from the National Support Base through a logistics bridge to the theatre of operations, this planning would actually encompass and rely heavily on joint enablers and effects, quite rightly enabled by the Joint Military Appreciation Process. How can the Army School of Logistics Operations (single service) simulate a joint planning environment, with no additional resources? Bottom line it cannot; however, we can reshape the SOLOC, which can leverage off other and joint training centres for an enabled continuum without an increase of resources or training days.
[ix] COMD FORCOMD Directive 17-20, Developing The Military Professional In An Era Of Accelerated Warfare-The Forces Command PME Plan 2020-2025
[x] COMDT ALTC Directive 2-20, Implementation plan for ALTC Training Transformation
COMDT RMC-A Directive 3-20, RMC-A approach to Army’s future ready training system
[xi] Due to COVID, this phase was online and facilitated by ASLO instructors but the intent post COVID is to return this to a residential delivery model.
[xii] Cognitive social learning theory (Bandura 1977, 1986), suggests that humans learn behaviours by observing others and choosing which behaviours to imitate. Social learning allows for fluid exchanges in conversations.
Cognitive social learning theory also related to retention of knowledge, peers teaching peers and peer coaching. Bandura asserts that most human behaviours learned through observation, imitation and modelling.
[xiii] Figure 2: Transforming the Logistic Officers Intermediate Course. The LOIC has remained at the right point in our career (3rd Year Lieutenant to 1st year Captain) with the purpose to enable the Captain to be a SO3 logistics planner that integrates and synchronises tactical and operational level effects. There has been a clear separation of the course learning content;
Self-Paced Online Distance Education Phase
Any military professional can self-enrol into the self-paced online distance education package located on ADELE (U). This is be all individual LOIC learning material and completed prior to any residential phase.
All online learning material is available now, and covers;
- Decisive Action Training Environment (DATE) training package
- LO 1 – Plan and Site CSS elements in support of operations
- LO 3 – Perform as a logistic staff officer in a formation and tactical setting
- LA 3 – Current deployment planning tool (VIPA) ADELE-U familiarisation package
- Strategic Nesting Module – Interaction with senior logistic commanders and joint enablers and effects.
- LA 1 – Corps Specific Siting TEWT
- LA 2 – A Echelon Concept of Logistics Support (COLS) Siting TEWT
- SA 1 – CSST COLS Siting TEWT
We are also looking to have a proficiency raised against this package, so panelling for the residential session is constant. All military professionals have access to the learning and assessment instruments, so that students can easily map the LO and assessments with activities conducted in units to enable RPL applications.
Collective Residential Phase
This phase targets employing students’ knowledge in the collective planning and execution space, which its duration is significantly reduced (6 days ARES/SSO and 15 days ARA). A panelled student will progress through:
- LA 4 - Current Battle Management Tool (Logistic specific outputs on a BMS terminal)
- SA 2 - ASLO FSG SMAP (ARA/SSO/ARES)
- LO 2 - Participate in career progression and management (DOCM MOC PAC)
- SA 3 - COAC SMAP (ARA Only)
There has been stigma surrounded by 87 periods of accessible, focused and relevant online learning. This 8.7 residential course days includes; 47 periods of lecture presentations, reformatted into self-paced learning modules, three Siting and Concept of Logistic Support TEWT (two learning activities and an assessment) and a learning activity to be proficient in utilising the Australian Defence Force’s Current Deployment Planning Tool (Vital Planning and Analysis [VIPA]). All of which are learning conducted by an individual without any group involvement. The 87 periods is the maximum learning time if conducted face to face within the classroom, online some individuals can take in content at a considerably faster pace. The 87 periods is also there as evidence for Reserve students to justify ARTS. The stigma surrounding this accessible self-paced learning is that students are classifying it as pre-course work. The online learning students undertake, is the course. This means, once complete you would then attend a reduced residential course period. ASLO is working to make this online learning an automated proficiency and accessible to any rank, trade, SERCAT, corps and service.
[xiv] Subsequently, through accessible learning content, Lieutenants now have access to the intermediate course content. This supports approximately 25% of logistic and health Lieutenants, who are posted to an out of corps position or into an Operations or second in command role. Through online learning have access to education that can enable them for that role without having to wait for a residential course three or four years down their career path.
[xv] Lieutenant Colonel Raymond A. Kimball and Captain Joseph M. Byerly, U.S. Army, To Make Army PME Distance Learning Work, Make It Social article posted in the US Military Review, May-June 2013 speak to social engagement and collaborative participation are growing in importance, so future learning models must incorporate more opportunities for both.
[xvii] Instead of being hamstrung to a course ratio of 1:5 (Siting TEWT), and requiring substantial Training Support Requests (TSR), a residential LOIC can occur for of over 100 students (1:10 – SMAP) without a single TSR.
[xviii] The leading risk identified with the following analysis is contextualisation to operational BOS effects. Whilst some of the ACOTC skill sets analysed identify a direct duplication of training, others are assessed as deficient due to the requirement of a direct BOS correlation. Therefore, to understand contextualisation, analysis should occur down to teaching points.
[xix] The ACOTC operation phases is duplicated across the training centres and are too manoeuvre focused, with little to no equal effort placed against supporting the Battle Operating System (BOS) outputs. This creates a stigma that the supporting BOS concepts are not valued or learning emphasised for all in equal footing to manoeuvre. Subsequently, supporting BOS conduct an intermediate phase of learning to catch up what is missed, under-appreciated or to realign the correct learning and synchronisation of BOS operations through corps schools. Whilst this occurs, manoeuvre corps rely on experience until they reach their advanced course. The SOLOC intends to educate and enable our students to integrate logistic and health effects in the battlespace and then test them when our continuum integrates within the Combat Officer Advanced Course for Module 3: Combat Operations in a Combined Arms Environment. This activity brings all BOS effects onto an equal footing and places them all within an enhanced and integrated SMAP and simulation activity. It is the best environment to test and enhance tactical acumen of our junior officers and prepare them to be SO3 planners within FORCOMD.
[xx] The Royal Military College – Australia has commenced their training transformation with intent to address learning duplication with adjacent Army training centres or Australian Defence College. This collaboration needs to occur at the tactical level, teaching points and their delivery, otherwise their course transformations will be analysed within their training centre stovepipe, and ultimately course continuum teaching points will not change will remain duplicated across training centres.
[xxi] Figure 3: CURRENT OFFICER TRAINING PROGRESSION COMPARISON
- This continuum looks at the each corps basic, intermediate and advanced courses (as described in their relevant MAE) and compares them in each individual training progression. To generate best efficiencies and to emphasise the duplication between corps schools and ACOTC, each training model should not analysed in isolation.
- The duplication identified is within the ACCC/ACMC OPS phases and the Intermediate/Advanced Corps operations courses, either by straight duplication or by duplication within the progression of learning to achieve the learning outcome (LO). This results in inefficiencies, leads to an overtrained workforce, extended/needless time away from home units and heightened tempo.
- Individual and staff planning is conducted within all courses and are all targeted at tactical and operational level planning and execution, this is highlighted in the same learning outcomes identified with between the currently active course Learning Management Packages.
[xxii] Figure 4: OPTIMISED OFFICER TRAINING PROGRESSION
- This training progression is recommending analysis within each respective BOS training continuum to enable education to be relevant to support each rank progression. This will prompt identification of possible duplication between BOS OPS Intermediate courses and COAC to enable a progression to a COAC Mod 3 culmination to enable BOS synchronisation through simulation
- Detailed analysis of the other ES training progressions down to TEP need to occur to analyse across the continuums to identify efficiencies in BOS synchronisation whilst optimising training resources, example LOIC & COAC Mod 3.
- This continuum will reduce the days in training within our intermediate training continuum phase. From 12 weeks, down to possibly 5 weeks (ACCC/LOIC).
[xxiii] Benefits of Training transformation collaboration;
- Focused roles and responsibilities of schools to generate centre of excellences: RMC-A – CLMT&E, ALTC – Logistic Operations, CATC – Combined Arms Operations and Integration of effects, ADFWTC – Joint Operations.
- Capitalise efficiencies in an optimised training progression, sharing resources and learning opportunities (e.g. LOIC and COAC) for individuals and teams to develop their intellectual edge to enhance the training outcome.
- Promote individual self-improvement as an inherent part of being a military professional and enable access to learning content cross TC collaboration opportunities
- Reduction of duplicated learning to optimise the learning pathway and progression. This will allow an enhancement of activities to reinforce LO designated for schools without an increase of training days. It will also allow corps to formalise the introduction of joint courses into their progressions to nest within the JPME continuum.
- Reduction in the overtrained workforce. Example a logistician, signaller, engineer or fires officer’s employment is not as a manoeuvre combat team commander. Therefore why be assessed in its application through the ACOTC.
- Reducing training days to support a reduction in tempo for individuals, families, unit, CofC and TE/TC.