U.S. Navy Bolsters Navigation Training for Quartermasters

Cmdr. Peter Halverson, director of N72 Fleet Training at Surface Warfare Officer School Newport, Rhode Island, speaks with the graduating Quartermaster A School Sailors June 20. The class was the first to go through the school using an updated curriculum.

By The Maritime Executive 06-25-2019 09:43:46

The U.S. Navy is now training its first sailors with its the updated Quartermaster (QM) “A” School curriculum, which was revised in the wake of the deadly USS Fitzgerald and USS John S. McCain collisions. The post-accident investigation cited training deficiencies among the many systemic factors behind the casualties.

Under the updated curriculum, the graduates will head to their next command as certified operators of a new Voyage Management System (a Navy term for a specially-tailored ECDIS), which features a streamlined user interface. Other changes include increased laboratory time, four weeks of terrestrial navigation training, and an addition of 40 hours of celestial navigation training.

The Navy says that its enlisted quartermasters and operations specialists are also receiving significantly increased ARPA, AIS, lookout, and radar operator training, as outlined in the Readiness Reform Oversight Committee’s (RROC) Report to Congress.

“QM students will experience challenges in VMS, celestial navigation and rules of the road training just to name a few areas in the newly updated course. Stepping up the knowledge level in our future QM’s, much will be expected of them once they report aboard their first command," said SWOSU Great Lakes Commanding Officer Cmdr. Terrance Patterson.

The new QM curriculum is part of a much broader effort to overhaul the Navy's training programs: U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer has launched a sweeping realignment of the service's training operations, from entry-level to postgraduate education, placing a new budgetary and policy emphasis on learning for servicemembers. Spencer's office undertook a strategic review of the ways in which the Navy prepares its personnel for service, and has recommended the formation of a "Naval University" with a civilian head and a single budget line, unifying both authority and funding for all education in one place. The policy's first priority is to establish a Naval Community College system for enlisted personnel.