LT. MICHAEL A. CURTIS, SC, USN AND BRIAN J. DAVIS, NAVSUP FLEET LOGISTICS CENTER PUGET SOUND
Active duty and Reserve Navy Supply Corps officers from throughout the Pacific Northwest region gathered for two days of education and mentoring at the Junior Officers Training Symposium (JOTS) at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Wash., Sept. 18 and 19.
The symposium, presented by Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) Fleet Logistics Center (FLC) Puget Sound and hosted by Rear Adm. James R. McNeal, commander, NAVSUP Global Logistics Support, was designed to provide junior Supply Corps officers, from ensign to lieutenant commander, with current information on a number of topics such as career progression, leadership, and business ethics. Subject matter experts and senior leaders hailing from communities both inside and outside of the Supply Corps presented lectures, panel discussions, and facilitated workshops during the two-day session.
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NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound and Rear Adm. James McNeal, NAVSUP GLS hosted the Junior Officers Training Symposium (JOTS) at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Keyport, Washington, Sept. 18-19. More than 55 officers had the chance to meet and engage with members of the Supply Corps community.
Over the course of the weekend, more than 55 officers had the chance to meet and engage with other members of the Supply Corps community and learn from experienced senior Supply Corps officers to gain a better understanding of the relationship between the active and Reserve components of the Supply Corps.
One of the unique aspects of the “JOTS weekend” was the opportunity for officers to hear viewpoints about the Supply Corps from other Navy communities. The seminar featured presentations from Rear Adm. Ronald A. Boxall, commander, Carrier Strike Group Three and Capt. Michael Lewis, the commanding officer of USS Ohio (SSGN 726) (Gold). Both spoke about their perspectives on the role of the Supply Corps in an operational environment, what it takes to be successful as a junior officer, and the importance of building trust with senior leadership. Boxall and Lewis also fielded questions from the audience during Q&A sessions.
“We specifically wanted to bring in officers from outside the Supply Corps Community to incorporate other perspectives and points of view for the benefit of our junior officers to get a better idea of what line commanders expect and how the supply officer fits into the overall operational picture,” said Capt. Tim Jett, commanding officer of NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound.
Symposium presenters emphasized the importance of understanding that the job of a supply officer is not only about ordering provisions, processing requisitions, and managing a supply department.
‘As Supply Corps officers, our role is to be the business advisor to the commanding officer,” said Rear Adm. McNeal.
“A supply officer is also a warfighter who should be living his or her values every single day… To get a commanding officer’s respect, you need to be decisive, consistent, and at times, brutally honest, “said Lewis.
Several of the briefings dealt with the importance of officers taking charge and managing their own career paths. Presenters, through lectures and panel discussions, provided advice and recommendations about the nuts & bolts of building a solid foundation for a successful career in the Navy Supply Corps.
A recurring theme throughout the event was the concept that the role of a unit’s Supply Officer is continually evolving and today’s Navy demands a well-rounded, multi-faceted Supply Officer that is not only a logistics expert but also a leader, warfighter, and trusted advisor.
What traits do leaders look for in a junior officer? Motivation, integrity, and balance in their life, according to Boxall.
Symposium attendees also had the opportunity to witness senior officers participating in a simulated selection board, which gave the audience a feel for the actual selection board process - how records are evaluated, and how quickly a career’s worth of work is evaluated by the board members.
“It was a great venue that provided a lot of insight to the junior officers on what senior officers look at and look for when selecting candidates for promotion. The best part of the event was the mock selection board conducted by senior officers. They demonstrated how the board was set up, the briefing and selection process, and the speed at which it is run. It was eye-opening to see a 30 – 40 second briefing of a candidate’s record encompassing 10 years of service,” said Logistics Support Officer Lt. Gina Slaby from NAVSUP FLC Puget Sound.
Other highlights of the JOTS weekend included presentations by McNeal on Leadership & Ethics and The State of the Supply Corps. Time was set aside for individual mentoring, and subject matter experts discussed such topics as career planning, Joint Professional Military Education, Training with Industry, internship opportunities, and Fitness Reports writing.
Along with the diverse and fast-paced presentations, the JOTS provided attendees with opportunities that were a little less obvious.
“This unique presentation offered valuable information to guide the Navy’s future leaders in creating a solid foundation for building a successful career. It was also an excellent opportunity for junior officers to network among themselves and build relationships with their peers,” said Jett.