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Improvements to Training Streamline Navy Boot Camp

Navy Newsstand

Story Number: NNS040121-03

Release Date: 1/21/2004 10:05:00 AM

By Chief Journalist Rhonda Burke, Naval Station Great Lakes Public Affairs

GREAT LAKES, Ill. (NNS) -- Improvements made to the Navy's basic military training curriculum for enlisted Sailors will allow the training to be delivered in 60-days vice the current 63-day cycle.

The curriculum changes were recommended after extensive study of the current training processes by the staffs of the Recruit Training Command (RTC), Naval Service Training Command, and Naval Education and Training Command, who are the Navy's top trainers and curriculum architects.

"We are confident that we can provide the high quality, basically trained Sea Warrior that the fleet requires in a 60-day curriculum cycle," said Rear Adm. Ann E. Rondeau, commander, Naval Service Training Command, who is responsible for 98 percent of the Navy's accessions training programs for both officer and enlisted personnel.

This decision was based on a thorough review of the curriculum, including improvements that have resulted in increased training opportunities for recruits. Additionally, infrastructure improvements to RTC are creating a more training-centric campus that eliminates unnecessary marching and waiting time, and allows an opportunity to recoup some training hours while increasing the quality of the training.

"In addition to our responsibility to recruits to effectively prepare them for the fleet, we also have a responsibility to continually re-evaluate our processes, to ensure they are the most efficient and cost effective possible," Rondeau said. "This decision is both good for the Navy and our Sailors, as well as for the American taxpayers."

The time savings will be accomplished without a reduction in training curriculum from the current boot camp model. In fact, the curriculum will actually be expanded based on recommendations from the Board of Advisors (BOA), a group of 15 fleet and force master chiefs who evaluate the basic military training curriculum on a semi-annual basis. This change has the full support of the BOA and Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/AW) Terry Scott, the Navy's top enlisted Sailor, and it has been approved by the Navy's Chief Learning Officer, Vice Adm. Alfred Harms, commander, Naval Education and Training Command.

"This decision has been made with careful debate and thought by the top enlisted leaders in today's Navy, and we are confident that it is the right course for the future, and most importantly, for our Sailors," said Force Master Chief Michael McCalip of Naval Education and Training Command, who chairs the BOA.

Much of the time savings, approximately 60 training hours, has resulted from the elimination of Service Week, a week in which Recruits routinely worked in galleys, administrative spaces and various grounds-keeping duties for a five-day period. This portion of boot camp was eliminated from the curriculum in October 2003, based on the recommendations of the BOA. These training hours have been refocused to include additional time for live fire weapons training, computer training, swim remediation, mentoring, and special medical and dental screening. Weight training will soon be added to the physical training curriculum, as well.

Additionally, more than 45 training hours are projected to be recouped through the elimination of transit time, as the new self-contained barracks facilities are completed as part of a 10-year recapitalization program for Recruit Training Command. The new barracks facilities contain classrooms and galleys for meals, eliminating the need for recruits to transit between central classrooms and eating facilities during the day. Currently, two such barracks are in use, with two more projected to be in use by early spring 2004. In all, 15 self-contained barracks are being constructed at RTC.

The reduction in training days has also been made possible through improvements in teaching methodology used to deliver traditional Navy core curriculum lectures on topics, such as seamanship and heritage. Through the use of technology in the new barracks classroom facilities, which are equipped with individual computer stations, the lectures being presented to today's recruits are much more visually impacting and interactive than the traditional lecture format in use for many years. This interactive lecture format has been shown to result in higher retention of the material presented, resulting in a better-trained basic Sailor. Some curriculum requirements will also be moved in the training schedule to afford a more efficient flow of training to the recruit.

The Navy estimates a cost savings of about $20 million annually due to these changes, based on the daily cost of training recruits, as well as the manpower costs of the RTC Staff. The Navy is expected to train 40,000 enlisted recruits in 2004, comparable to the number trained in 2003.

The first recruits to be trained under the new curriculum reported to boot camp in January 2004.

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