Naval Reserve Update Including the Total Work Force Model
Presented by Commodore David Greaves, RAN, Director General Australian Navy Cadets and Reserves (DGANCR)
I would like to begin by thanking the PresidentPresident, distinguished guests and DRA members for providing the opportunity to deliver this presentation.
A focus of my mission, as DGANCR, is to support strategic direction of the NR workforce to deliver on future Navy capability requirements. This is achieved not only through liaison with Navy organisations, but also through close engagement with various areas within the ADF towards improvement employability for members of the Reserves. For example, our enduring role within the Joint Reserve Working Group, where we support reviews into the conditions of service provided to ADF Reserve members. Navy also remains engaged with employers of NR members, through regular attendance at Defence Reserve Support Council activities.
An example of this engagement is the current planning underway to deliver a Boss Lift experience to 15 civilian employers of Reserves 18-20 September 2019. The tentative schedule, which is subject to operational requirements, will be:
• Tour of HMAS Watson for activities in the warfare simulators;
• Flight by MRH-90 helicopter Watson to HMAS Albatross (Nowra);
• Hands-on experience in the MH-60 Romeo simulator;
• Ground transport Albatross to HMAS Creswell (Jervis Bay), dinner and overnight;
• Ship’s boat Creswell to HMAS Canberra;
• Hands-on experience in all-ship activities and overnight passage to Sydney;
• Entry to Sydney harbour and offload in Fleet Base East.
This opportunity will provide participating civilian employers with good exposure to what Navy does and how their Reserve employees provide a vital contribution to Navy’s capability.
We also have a strong working relationship with the Navy Personnel branch on the development and delivery of improvements for the career management for the Reserves, where we are able to use information that is provided from NR members with whom regular face-to-face meetings are held. Contact with our part-time workforce is further enhanced through the use of Adobe Connect and ForceNet, where members of the NR are able to remotely participate in the discussions and have greater access to information that is relevant to their service.
These combined DGANCR and Navy People Career Management Agency annual clear lower deck (previously town hall) meetings continue to be held in each State and Territory, with NR members receiving first-hand briefings about changes to the Reserve service environment, and provides them an opportunity to raise any concerns/frustrations that they may have. Messaging continues to emphasise that all Naval Reserve service opportunities are based on a capability delivery need, with conversations shaping expectations, and feedback continues to allow me to fulfil my role as advocate for the Reserve workforce.
The salary budget for the Naval Reserve was once again fully expended for last FY and future budgets continue to increase each year, which presents the opportunity for the part-time workforce to provide a greater contribution to capability. To ensure the available budget is better utilised in the delivery of Navy capability, Navy PERS branch continues to enhance the stability and predictability for its NR members, through the introduction of new policy to provide full transparency in the awarding and modification of funded reserve days. There is also a push to employ NR members, from single year employment (SERCAT 3) to multi-year employment (SERCAT 5).
Examples, where the NR workforce is being shaped around capability delivery to meet expanding commitments was provided. This included:
• Consideration to realign and grow the Navy Health Reserve workforce to support Maritime Role 2 Deployable Health capability requirements in alternate areas of operations.
• Innovative ways that we may be able to employ NR members within the future Navy Cyber Capability.
• Future NR support to the Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aerial Systems Squadron, including ground control stations, operations rooms, information management, and maintenance.
• Ongoing support to maritime operations on operational relief duties across a wide variety of platforms.
Naval Reserve Strength
The total strength of the Naval Reserve is 6,867; with 3,526 in SERCAT 2; 3,042 members in SERCATs 3 and 5 (2,044 of whom regularly render service) and; 299 rendering SERVOP C (CFTS). At the current rates of contribution the Naval Reserve provides 691 effective years of service, which equates to 5.7% of Navy’s capability and represents 16.1% of Navy’s trained workforce. It has been acknowledged that this active participation of NR members is a significant enhancement to Navy’s current capability requirements. To further enhance these numbers, Navy is seeking to increase the number of part-time members rendering multiple-year service through SERCAT 5, which will provide greater assurance to both the member and the position owners.
Naval Reserve Contribution
The NR contribution to on-water and other full-time capability is considerable, with Navy continuing to support part-time members who regularly contribute to the border protection operation. In FY18/19, this contribution was in the order of 1,834 service days, whereby 35 NR members delivered 76 separate engagements on Armidale Class Patrol Boats. For the broader Fleet and operational activities in FY18/19, 40 part-time members contributed 2,255 days, through 69 separate engagements as operational reliefs on warships. Additionally, 125 part-time members provided 154 SERVOP C engagements in support of Fleet activities and 3 members served in the middle-East region, also on SERVOP C.
Reserve operational support is expected to become more challenging in line with the uplift in the ship building arena, where personnel with the required skills base will be competed with between Navy and Industry, which may result in people leaving Navy to take up industry roles. Should this eventuate it is likely to negatively impact Navy’s workforce numbers that are required to crew future vessels. Hence, as also mentioned during Head People Capability MAJGEN Fox’s earlier presentation today, there is work to be done that looks as developing partnerships with industry to ensure that efforts are complimentary and shared employment arrangements may be developed.The means in which Navy is seeking to better harness the flexibility inherent in the TWM was discussed, including an update on Project VERTO that aims to achieve design and development in 2019, followed by transition, evaluation and adjustment in 2020. Project VERTO is looking at structural reorganisation that enables career management across the TWM, with the intention of instituting greater opportunities for NR members as an integral part of the Navy career management framework. In concert with this, other work underway in the Navy People, Policy and Governance area, includes the review of policies, procedures and regulations pertaining to SERCATs 2-5. This work aims to enable more seamless transition across the full suite of SERCATs and further promote and enhance the TWM.
Details were then provided on the importance, utility and compulsory registration for all members of the Navy within ForceNet, as it aims to be the primary corporate communication tool for messaging Navy personnel. Discussion also included the need for NR members undertaking Reserve employment to undertake Mandatory Annual Awareness Training, as a duty of care at the beginning of their posting allocation and before other service is rendered. Both of these requirements also ensure that Chief of Navy’s statutory requirements are met, and ensures that the Reserve remains aligned to Navy’s core values.Due to the highly specialised nature service at sea and the associated long training pipeline to develop the necessary skills, Navy continues to have a large cohort of Reserves that are ex-permanent force. However, Navy does recruit ab-initio, for professionals from the legal, medical, musical and shipping sectors, where they are managed closely through their Heads of Community.
In summary, Navy is in a healthy state when it comes to engaging its part-time workforce to contribute to the delivery of Navy capability.