Navy starting to cut its mandatory General Military Training courses

Japan (Mar. 10, 2017) Kinjal Dalal, senior Safe Helpline manager, speaks to Sailors about the Safe Helpline app used to help victims of sexual assault during a brief onboard Commander U.S. Fleet Activities Sasebo March 10, 2017. Safe Helpline is a worldwide app that is managed 24 hours a day for the use of anyone who has experienced sexual assault. (U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kristopher S. Haley/released)

The Navy is beginning to recognize its Jurassic training program needs a facelift, with some leaders saying General Military Training is impersonal.

The GMT programs require sailors to be annually subjected to hours of training on topics ranging from sexual assault to suicide prevention, and leadership has decided to eliminate many of the courses allowing commands to deliver the information however they choose.

The Navy Times reports the requirement that course completion be documented in the Fleet Management and Planning System database is also going away, though officials recommend commands keep local training records.

The Navy’s goal is to become more personal with its sailors.

“It puts training back in the hands of sailors, eliminates passive, impersonal, and ineffective approaches to training, and enables a powerful and personal focus on integrity, accountability, and character through an interactive learning dialogue,” Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of naval personnel, announced Monday in a message to the fleet.

Online courses will still be available to serve as a guide for commands looking to create their own training programs. However leaders will not be required to re-create the online training material, Stars & Stripes reports.

“Bottom line we heard you, we fixed it,” Burke’s message said.

The Navy is looking toward the past to decide how it conducts future training. Leadership’s guidance for how they want to conduct training — face-to-face.

Local commands will conduct face-to-face training in small units on topics such as suicide awareness, sexual-assault prevention and equal-opportunity regulations, according to the new guidance.

“It puts training back in the hands of sailors, eliminates passive, impersonal, and ineffective approaches to training, and enables a powerful and personal focus on integrity, accountability, and character through an interactive learning dialogue,” Burke said.

Top Navy officials are not mandating classrooms, but instead asking individual commands to be creative and pick times such as quarters for muster or all hands calls to have personal discussions with smaller groups of sailors about these topics.

Sailors are welcoming the change. They say it’s been challenging in the past to complete GMT… especially when underway.

“I found training online frustrating as the website was always down or slow,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Tiffani Baker, a quartermaster aboard the USS Benfold told Stars & Stipes. “We only have some many computers on the ship. I would have to go to the USO, [Fleet Recreation Center] or the library.”

Sailors are also showing concern about the procedures saying face-to-face can present its challenges.

“If training is being held and they gather everyone together, but a third of the command is [temporary additional duty] or at school or something, they would have to coordinate to make sure that everyone has the proper training,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Trevor Reese, a fire controlman aboard the Benfold told Stars & Stripes.

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Author

  • Jim Verchio is a staff writer for Popular Military. As a retired Air Force Public Affairs craftsman, Jim has served at all levels. From staff writer to Editor-In-Chief, he has more than 30 years experience covering military topics in print and broadcast from the CONUS to Afghanistan. He is also a two time recipient of the DoD’s prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for journalism excellence.

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