Thursday, May 9, 2013

The many facets of a JO

You play a lot of roles as a JO.

While I was shopping at a Navy Exchange, I saw an enlisted sailor asking a store clerk about the Sea Service Ribbon and how many he was allowed to buy. She (the clerk) had no idea, so I walked over, asked the sailor when his deployments were, and gave him all the rules on how many ribbons he could get (he merited two).

Later that day, I went up in an airplane and trained two other sailors on how to operate safety equipment in an aircraft. And still later, I worked on a paper about how we would integrate training efforts across multiple commands.

As a JO, you have to operate in the tactical, operational, administrative and sometimes even strategic realms. It's imperative you are ready to do so, and the only way to do this is to prepare when you have down time. Too many JOs are sitting around waiting for training, when in reality the Navy is not going to provide that need to get it yourself. Some things that have helped me are listed below, but it can all be summed up into one question: can you execute the job directly above and directly below you, right now?

- Have you read the EVAL and FITREP instruction from BUPERS? Do you link your bullets to the appropriate board precepts?
- Have you talked with your JAG about what you can and can't do for discipline? Have you talked to your XO about what you can and can't do for rewards?
- Can you write an award? Have you read the Navy's Award Manual?
- How well can you write? If you don't write well, are you practicing and getting better?
- How are your computer skills? If you use Powerpoint all the time, have you actually taken some tutorials so that you can quickly crank out good briefs?

- Can you take your platform (be it a submarine, aircraft, ship, squad, or cyber structure) and execute a mission right now?
- How aware are you of your AOR? Do you know what's happening and why?
- Are you proficient at your Tactical Manual (TACMAN)? Have you read and understand the latest Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for your platform?
- Are you familiar with your casualty procedures? Would people want you in charge when things go wrong?

- Can you string together a series of tactical maneuvers to affect an outcome?
- Are you familiar with the Navy's Operational Planning process?
- Have you written an OPORD? CONOP? Annex? FRAGORD? Could you?
- Have you run an exercise for your platform from start to finish?

- Can you link what you do to the National Security Strategy? Did you even know that existed?
- Have you looked up applicable Joint Publications that govern what you do?
- Can you explain to your sailors how what you do affects enhances the security of the United States?

If not...get moving! You never know when you'll be asked to perform at the next level.