In The Supply Corps…

BY LT. J.G. JARRED MACK, SC, USN,
BUSINESS FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT INTERN
NAVAL SEA SYSTEMS COMMAND

If one thing is constant in the Navy, it is that nothing is constant, and if you are anything like me, you often find yourself asking why? Why was something cancelled? Why is the lead time 18 months for a part? Why can’t you do something or are required to do something? Being the supply department head on a minesweeper as an ensign highlighted how much I knew about shipboard supply operations but also made me realize how little I knew regarding big Navy supply, logistics, financials, and operations. When it came time to select my next set of orders, I was determined to find a position that would promote long-term learning and growth both professionally and personally in order to bridge the gap between my understanding of shipboard operations and shore-side supply operations. After long consideration and the solicited advice of several of my Supply Corps mentors, I looked at one program to help facilitate my understanding of the big picture – a Supply Corps internship.

Lt. j.g. Jarred Mack

I applied for the business financial management (BFM) internship in Washington, D.C. and was selected for the position at the Naval Sea Systems Command. I have only been onboard for a few short months, but in that time, my eyes have been opened to the world of major acquisitions, contracting, and budget formulation.

Beginning in the program executive office for littoral combat ships (LCS), I was thrust into the heat of things, working with the acquisition team. Our team manages a budget in excess of $4 billion dollars for the sustainment and modernization of the LCS fleet. I have quickly immersed myself in the world of financials by sitting in on meetings, giving high–level program manager–level briefs, and training for my BFM level 1 online. The internships are designed to provide high level exposure in a specific field to junior level officers with the idea that you will continue to sharpen those skills over your career. Many senior level positions require a high level of expertise, and an internship is an excellent way to build your knowledge base.

Understanding the complex and lengthy budget formulation, submittal and approval process was the first concept I began to tackle while delving into the numerous instructions, regulations, directives, and memos. The many questions I had previously pondered about began to be answered.

The internship has set the path forward for my career. To be successful at the higher levels of leadership and professionalism, you need a skillset. Learning and mastering a skill in one of the Supply Corps core functional areas is imperative to your ability later in your career in order to be detailed to the more challenging billets. The internship program affords young junior officers the opportunity to lay their initial career foundation and, in many cases, actually become qualified in a specific career field.

The skills I gained while attending the Navy Supply Corps School prepped me very well for my professional and personal development. I was educated on the basics of shipboard supply operations. I also learned how to problem solve, find innovative solutions, work through complex issues, and seek out the counsel and advice of shipmates. Those skills will lend themselves very useful throughout my career and should never be forgotten.

May/June 2017