Engineering the future of Navy

This article has photo gallery Published on POIS Phillip Cullinan (author)

Official portrait of Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence. (photo: Lauren Larking)
Official portrait of Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence.

Navy engineering has had some significant changes at the top in 2017, with an aviation specialist and a submariner now leading Navy's team of technical specialists.

Rear Admiral Colin Lawrence is the new Head Navy Engineering, which includes oversight of the Navy's seaworthiness management system, engineering policy and Naval Flag administration.

Working closely alongside him is Command Warrant Officer - Navy Engineering Warrant Officer Christopher Rowley.

Both Rear Admiral Lawrence and Warrant Officer Rowley believe that the future of the engineering community lies with those who embrace new methods as the future warships will be so dependent on advanced technology.

The Rizzo Reform program, which reviewed repair, maintenance and sustainment of the Navy’s amphibious fleet and was completed in 2014, containing 24 recommendations, all of which were accepted by Government. But this was just the start for a complete overhaul of Navy engineering.

Rear Admiral Lawrence said that since then more time has been spent on developing a new ‘Seaworthiness System’.

“My primary role as Head Navy Engineering is to take that implementation and go from the theoretical design of the new system and drive it through and implement it in Navy,” he said.

"More people are joining the Navy that have been brought up with technology; they will be very adaptable to be able to use the advanced systems that they will need to to maintain and repair engineering problems of tomorrow."

Warrant Officer Rowley said that his role was to help the engineering community have a voice directly into decision -making.

“Sailors and officers in the fleet have great ideas, with their assistance we can analyse what we do now and make long term decisions," he said.

The Command Warrant Officer will spend a considerable time visiting engineering units across the country to speak to the technical workforce and those under training. He encouraged all from the engineering community to stop and talk to him. 

“The whole point of me going there is to talk to people. I want to know what you have done or what you are going to do. I want to hear them say ‘when I am a Chief Tiff or Petty Officer, I will strive to have these goals’,” Warrant Officer Rowley said.

Rear Admiral Lawrence is advising all of the engineering community to read the Chief of Navy's publication The Navy and the Nation

“It sets out the reason for the shipbuilding program that we are heading into. We have to be part of that so we have to start setting our sights to the future and work out how we develop the people who can develop that future,” he said.