New Chief Petty Officer Leadership Training

A new method of delivering leadership training to chief petty officers (CPO) is now part of the continual growth and development of Sailors. In conjunction with Navy Knowledge Online (NKO), computer-based leadership training is now delivered to every newly selected chief petty officer through a partnership with an online business skills training provider.

The CPO Selectee E-Learning program consists of three Web-based courses offered by the Ninth House Network. Situational Leadership II, Resolving Interpersonal Issues, and Managing Change provide approximately 10 total contact hours of training.

The Ninth House CPO E-Learning course is a pilot program and currently only available to new chief petty officers.

Nearly 90 percent of the total 5,418 active-duty, Reserve and TAR chief selectees have enrolled in the program. Many of the chiefs are completing more than just the required three courses, and since it is a yearlong program, the number of chiefs completing the training is still increasing daily. Chiefs without Internet access because of a deployment were given 60 days to complete the training upon return.

According to Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy (SS/AW) Terry Scott (MCPON), the Navy anticipates a great return on this investment.

“This is the beginning of our investment in our future leaders. First and foremost, it provides knowledge and sharpens the skills that will serve these chiefs well into their future as deck plate leaders. Secondly, it exposes them to a new way of learning and provides insight into the effectiveness and application of distance learning.

“This method of transferring knowledge to our Sailors will become more and more common as we continue our revolution in training,” he said. “And it's essential that the chief petty officers who are taking us into the future, become familiar with it.”

The courses were delivered to the chief selects through a combination of both the Internet and NetCD® packets. NKO provided the portal for the chiefs to access and log in for the training. The CD-ROM packets contained the course's multimedia files, which helped those with bandwidth limitations by avoiding the need to download the files.

This training offered the added benefit of introducing many of the chief selects to NKO. Once they established their NKO account and logged on, the chief's NKO profile also served to log them into the Ninth House Network's training server, eliminating the need for a separate Ninth House Network login process.

“Setting up the training this way enabled us to provide the chiefs with a ‘one login solution’ and seamless NKO integration with the training,” according to Senior Chief Electronic Technician (AW/NAC) Steven L. Pierce, the program’s technical manager. “We were able to track every student's progress through a database which fused data from the individual chiefs, NKO and the Ninth House Network.”

This database was used to generate reports for MCPON and the entire Senior Enlisted Advisory Panel, consisting of all Fleet, Force, and Chief of Naval Operations-Directed Command Master Chiefs. These reports detailed the progress of every panel member’s clemency, commands, and individual chiefs. By assigning every chief to a member of the Senior Enlisted Panel and providing them with timely management data, the panel members could track the participation of each chief in their clemency. 

Another key to this year’s CPO E-Learning Program’s success was improving on the lessons learned from last year’s pilot program.

“Last year, we wanted to launch a Web-based leadership training program that would introduce the FY03 chief selects to the concept of e-learning,” Scott said. “It was the first step in identifying the challenges of delivering web-based training on a Navy-wide scale. We learned several lessons from last year's effort, and those lessons were put to good use this year. The two largest challenges were distributing the course CDs throughout the entire Navy, and providing data to the Senior Enlisted Panel so they could manage the program within their area.”

Many of the chiefs completing this course found it gave them a different perspective on leadership.

“This training was beneficial to me by showing the different types of leadership styles and the different times and situations to use each,” said Chief Information Systems Technician (AW/SW) Angela Mitchell, aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73). “It provides an entertaining approach that keeps your attention and interest while making you focus on the impact of decisions you make.”

The tremendous success of this program, with an estimated 11,500 total courses completed, is due in large part to the dedication of the senior enlisted leaders who deployed this training.

“The chief petty officer community as a whole took ownership of this venture and was committed to its success,” said MCPON. “This could never have been such a huge success without their leadership and dedication.”