What does it take to develop and maintain the most powerful naval force in the world? For one, it takes unwavering commitment to providing cutting-edge technical training that transforms civilians into highly skilled, mission-ready Sailors.
The education and continued professional development of many of the United States Navy’s 400,000 active duty and reserve Sailors rests on the The Naval Education and Training Command (NETC). According to the Navy, “the Naval Education and Training Command recruits and trains those who serve our Nation, taking them from street to fleet by transforming civilians into highly skilled, operational, and combat ready warfighters, while providing the tools and opportunities for continuous learning and development.”
After initial naval training and specialty selection, most personnel continue their education at one of the NETC Learning Centers and learning sites located throughout the United States. The mission-specific coursework offered at NETC Learning Centers is a combination of classroom and hands-on training rooted in innovative technology and techniques.
Nine NETC Learning Centers are accredited by the Council on Educational Occupation (COE) and one school is currently a candidate for accreditation. In 1975, the Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT) became the first Navy Learning Center to achieve accreditation with COE.
- Center for Service Support (CSS), 1981
- Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training, 1976
- Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CEODD), 1983
- Center for Information Warfare Training (CIWT), 1975
- Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS), 2004
- Center for Seabees and Facilities Engineering (CSFE), 2004
- Center for Security Forces (CENSECFOR), 2007
- Submarine Learning Center (SLC), 2004
- Naval Chaplaincy School and Center (NCSC), 2011
- Surface Warfare Officers School (SWOS), candidate
Accreditation is a remarkable and celebrated recognition, but it’s only the first step for institutions dedicated to demonstrating continued academic excellence. The time and resources needed to maintain accreditation are substantial. For example, an accredited institution is required to submit an annual report to show compliance with COE standards and criteria. Every program must have an advisory committee that meets at least twice a year to document curriculum changes, analyze academically pertinent statistics, and assess student and faculty surveys. The resulting report offers both COE and NETC a clear window into the successes and pain points of every program.
Accreditation reaffirmation typically occurs every two to six years after initial accreditation or subsequent reaffirmation. The process requires attending a self-study workshop, preparing a new institutional self-study report, and hosting a team visit. Cooperation and participation from the institution’s governing body, administration, and every member of the staff is vital to the success of the self-study. This significant undertaking is a clear indicator of an institution’s commitment to its students, community and the workforce.
The COE Accreditation Process
The self-study allows the institution to assess itself on its ability to deliver on its own goals and objectives and meet the ten standards set by COE. It is also an opportunity for the school to identify deficiencies in compliance or educational offerings and determine a plan for continual improvement. When deciding whether an institution will be granted reaffirmation, the visiting team relies on the self-study report, student and faculty interviews, supporting documentation, and observations about the institution’s services and facilities.
While preparing for reaffirmation of accreditation in 2015, the Navy’s Center for Service Support (CSS) estimated that approximately 2,000 man-hours were invested into the self-study and planning portions of the process. The mission of CSS is “to provide Sailors in the Naval Administration, Logistics and Media communities the necessary skills, knowledge and education to enhance lifelong learning and to support the Fleet’s warfighting mission.” John Smith, CSS curriculum evaluation and accreditation manager at the time, described the preparation for the site visit:
“The process of Reaffirmation began in the summer of 2014 with key CSS personnel attending the required self-study workshop. Chairpersons were chosen to evaluate CSS’s compliance with 10 standards, write narratives explaining compliance, and compile exhibits that support the narratives. These narratives were then combined into one final document known as the Self-Study.”
In January, 2017, Center for Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving (CENEODDIVE) was preparing its self-study report and readying for a team visit scheduled for March, 2017. Lt. Cmdr. Mike Monroe, director of training, said the COE review is a welcomed outside review of the training programs provided by CENEODDIVE:
“This is an important validation of the high ethical and educational standards of training that is provided to all students that attend CENEODDIVE courses. COE’s review and comments are one of many review programs that focus on continual improvement to quality instruction.”
Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training (CNATT) initially achieved accreditation in 1976 and has maintained it for four decades. The Center was recognized during COE’s annual meeting held in San Antonio, Texas, on November 2, 2016. CNATT Accreditation Liaison Officer Randall Getchell emphasized the value of this achievement:
“Successful completion of the accreditation process by CNATT and our 27 learning sites throughout the United States and Japan signifies that personal and professional skills development in the Navy and Marine Corps are soundly designed, delivered, and measured. Sailors and Marines are provided the knowledge, skills, and capabilities to attain higher levels of professionalism and technical expertise.”
One of the core values of the United States Navy is Commitment. Through accreditation and continued reaffirmation, NETC Learning Centers have demonstrated unwavering commitment to ensuring that those who proudly serve our country continue to receive quality technical training on par with what is offered by other national and international institutions. In fact, training offered by the U.S. Navy is considered to be some of the best military education in the world.
CNATT’s Getchell stated:
“The young men and women who are learning in the classrooms we have — whether its maintenance administration, aviation power plants, or aviation electronics, to name a few — are receiving an education which has been vetted and tested among the best in the world.”
With its variety of technical programs, the Navy offers many opportunities for the enlisted to advance their careers, strengthen the nation’s workforce and contribute to the nation’s security and stability.