Over the past few weeks and months, recruitment of officers to the Light Division has been steady and the numbers of officers now under my command have grown substantially. There are currently a high proportion of officer cadets that have trained under different instructors and in different USFP systems. It is becoming apparent in training and combat patrols that there are no set ways of communicating with one-another on the bridge. I have therefore been working with my first officer to develop training courses that will be used to standardise communication and improve the effectiveness of bridge communications.
The first focus was combat orders and a way to quickly and effectively communicate tactics and manoeuvres to the crew, without being misunderstood or having to micromanage officers. The new combat orders are a refinement of the Attack Patterns from the first release of the Tactical Handbook. Through trialing them in simulations with senior officers, extremely effective orders have been created that communicate whether to take aggressive or defensive action, how aggressive or defensive to be and the types of manoeuvres or firing patterns to employ in one quick and clear order. Of course, they only work if the crew are clear on the meaning of the order (which is where the training is going to come in of course!)
The next focus was to look at how officers select and relay information to the captain, from simple confirmation when they receive a new order, to providing key information at vital moments. At the moment, there are no set ways of presenting information verbally, or confirming orders or responding and acknowledgeing the contribution of information by an officer. What is currently being considered is the use of simple words and phrases that can be used. With my own crew, I have simply acknowledged I have heard information by saying "Confirmed." This quickly tells an officer, "I have heard what you've said and have taken it on board."
The whole purpose of developing training is to standardise the way in which the crews of the Light Division work, with the overall aim of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of operational crews. Being able to communicate effectively in any situation is the first step to achieving this aim. The next will most likely be improving the skills of the officers, and then finally refining tactics. In the end, I hope to have a Division made up of professional and experienced officers who can stand as an example to all other crews of the TSN.