GAO Report on Surface Warfare Officer Training

November 15, 2019 7:36 AM - Updated: November 15, 2019 7:46 PM

The following is the Nov. 14, 2019 Government Accountability Report, Navy Readiness: Actions Needed to Evaluate the Effectiveness of Changes to Surface Warfare Officer Training.

From the report

The Navy has relied on added skill checks conducted throughout a SWO’s career to ensure that each SWO has basic ship-driving skills, but has not put key processes and assessments in place to evaluate comprehensively the effectiveness of its changes to ship-driving training. Senior Navy officials stated that it could take 16 years or more to know if the planned changes to SWO training were effective in increasing Commanding Officer ship-driving proficiency across the fleet and stated that they intend to closely monitor the implementation of changes to the training. However, GAO found that in planning an approach for evaluating the changes, the Navy has not:

    • identified a method to solicit fleet-wide feedback on the quality of the increased ship-driving training received by SWOs;
    • planned to routinely conduct ship-driving competency “spot checks” that were instituted after the 2017 collisions despite Navy inspectors having found concerns with more than 80 percent of SWOs’ ship-driving skills;
    • provided standard criteria to ship Commanding Officers for qualifying SWOs to drive ships, contributing to significant variance in ship-driving experience and competency levels across the fleet; nor
    • developed a specific plan to analyze and use information from logbooks in which SWOs are to document ship-driving and related experience.

Without addressing these challenges, the Navy cannot assess in the near term if the significant investments made to expand and enhance SWO ship-driving training are effective; further adjustments are necessary; and Navy ships are being operated safely at sea.

Download the document here.

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