First MLO earns charge qualification through revamped process

Published on LEUT Kelli Lunt (author), ABIS Chris Beerens (photographer)

Maritime Logistics Officer Commander Sean Noble, RAN, runs through some of the procedures involved in the Maritime Logistics Officer role at sea for Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kristen Russo for her upcoming Maritime Logistics Charge Qualification Board onboard HMAS Perth. (photo: ABIS Chris Beerens)
Maritime Logistics Officer Commander Sean Noble, RAN, runs through some of the procedures involved in the Maritime Logistics Officer role at sea for Deputy Maritime Logistics Officer Lieutenant Kristen Russo for her upcoming Maritime Logistics Charge Qualification Board onboard HMAS Perth.

The new Maritime Logistics Charge Qualification Board (CQB) was unveiled on November 12 at HMAS Kuttabul with its first candidate passing.

Director Training Authority Maritime Logistics & Health (DTA-MLH) Commander Rebecca Levitt was pleased with the innovative changes developed by Lieutenant Commander Donna Kean, following concerns the format remained vastly unchanged for over ten years and was no longer appropriately assessing candidates’ readiness for sea Charge.

“Whilst the old format could test technical proficiency, it did not allow the candidate to fully demonstrate their leadership and management style. The redeveloped CQB which draws on industry standards, now offers an innovative solution which provides a broader assessment, but also provides the candidate with an experience which closely resembles going for a job interview,” Commander Levitt said.

“Now, the Lieutenant Maritime Logistics Officer (MLO) has a timeframe with which to apply in writing to the CQB Chairman, outlining why they are ready to be interviewed. Should their application be accepted, they will present to a panel of two Commander MLOs and one Commander non-MLO. They are tested in two parts, firstly with scenario-based questions which test their technical proficiency as a seagoing MLO, and secondly with questions which ask them to describe their experiences at sea which demonstrate their leadership skills.

“The objective is for the board to be less onerous while still being an effective assessment. The Royal Australian Navy Maritime Logistics School (RANMLS) has conducted a number of forums to educate MLOs on the new concept.”

Following completion of the qualifying period as a Deputy Head of Department of HMAS Perth, the first Lieutenant MLO to sit and pass the new look CQB, Lieutenant Kristen Russo, praised the new process.

“I liked that the focus of the Charge board was more on demonstrating your leadership and management ability and potential, as opposed to rote learning theory and being able to repeat lists verbatim,” Lieutenant Russo said.

“I was very happy with my successful results. My advice to others is to focus on reflecting on your year at sea as you approach the board and leadership and management scenarios you have faced and how you would apply lessons learnt in the future.

“The knowledge is still important but you should be able to answer the questions based on experience, and not studying every policy or Defence Instruction, and so on. Believe me, that's not fun!”

To ensure that the candidate is able to phrase their answers according to their audience, a non-MLO board member is a part of the panel. Lieutenant Russo’s non-MLO board member was the Fleet Weapons Electrical Engineering Officer.

“The addition of the FWEEO on the board was beneficial, as it made me consider, in everything I was saying, whether he understood the Supply 'jargon' and if I would have to elaborate or explain my answer further.”

Lieutenant Russo has returned to HMAS Perth to consolidate her knowledge and celebrate the successful award of her Charge qualification.