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HR Officers Refine Skills, Strengthen Philosophy of Profession
U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya

HR Officers Refine Skills, Strengthen Philosophy of Profession

By Javier Chagoya

Lt. Benjamin O'Neill, above, was one of 35 men and women who most recently have all made the lateral transfer to the HR Officer designators of 1200, 1205, 1207, within the last three years. Their attendance in the Human Resources Center of Excellence (HRCOE) HR Introductory Course is a prerequisite to promotion and command qualification in the community.


"I transitioned to the HR community in February 2016, via the lateral transfer board that is navy-wide. The community's leadership puts a high value in the course to have included key staffs, which were able to speak intelligently to the future of the community as well as to the current health of the HR community. This course is an extremely valuable asset to any newly accessed HR Officer and provides great insight into the needs and challenges that are facing our partners on the waterfronts across our organization," said O'Neill.

According HRCOE Deputy Director Lt. Cmdr. Douglas Jones, it's really hard to make the lateral transfer into the HR community. He insists that it's the careful selection process of finding quality officers who have the right fit for the community and who have come to NPS for the prerequisite to move forward in the field.

"We had an engaging and diverse group of HR officers who contributed to the learning environment. I was also impressed with the questions proposed," said Jones. "It showed these young officers we're eager to grasp the concepts within the Navy's Manpower, Personnel, Training and Education (MPTE).

"It remains extremely competitive to transfer and access into the Navy HR community and the quality of our students reflect such high caliber. This course will help them during their initial transition into our community and provides a baseline for them to become future HR subject matter experts. HRs' are dispersed globally, and this is one of the few opportunities for them to collaborate, learn, and network with fellow HRs'. It truly was a great class of officers," added Jones.

Growing the knowledge base and philosophy of the HR community is vital to the Navy to maintain the highest levels of readiness. As outlined by Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson, his recent 10-page directive, "The Design for Maritime Superiority," emphasizes four lines of effort: Strengthen naval power at and from the sea; achieve high-velocity learning at every level; strengthen our Navy team for the future and expand and strengthen our network of partners. It was the CNO's directive, which HRCOE Director Capt. Theresa Lewis kept coming around to in discussions with the HR officers.

"The fleet is always seeking and asking for HR Officer's to be assigned to their staffs. They are sought out specifically for their technical and strategic Manpower, Personnel, Recruiting or Training and Education competencies and backgrounds," said Lewis. "They are also in demand for their exceptional leadership and management expertise,[for instance] as Training Officer on CVNs, Fleet N1s, Staff Directors', Program Managers', OICs', XOs' and COs', in various roles and/or positions throughout the Navy and joint commands at all echelon levels.

"The reality is that the billet base for the HR Community is currently resourced at full capacity and managed carefully to ensure we foresee and respond to the operational workforce requirements, talent and readiness needs of the Navy with the continued effort to strengthen this team for the future. Without a doubt Navy HR Professionals are in high demand across the fleet," added Lewis.

All of the students were very enthusiastic and engaged with the program. HR Community leadership from around the country came on as guest speakers, including one-on-one meetings with HR detailers. It spoke to the importance of the course as introduction to the ideas and philosophy of the community. And for newly transitioned HR professional Lt. O'Neill, this meant that even as small as the HR community is, it's actually a plus because of how tight the network can operate as a force multiplier.

"The community is so small that it helps to really form relationships with those other folks who are involved in supporting the same missions that you are. With more than 10-years in the Navy I have never personally met with a detailer until this course, which shows the level of importance that our leadership places in ensuring that our officers properly understand the values and career path for the community," said O'Neill.


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