Author Topic: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships  (Read 1910 times)

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jollyjacktar

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Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« on: January 11, 2018, 06:51:10 »
In order to both attract younger folks into becoming sailors and improve the quality of life for those who already are, Wi-Fi hotspots will soon be fitted out on ship.

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Navy dropping 'draconian' policy on warship Wi-Fi, admiral says

Finding work-life balance for sailors forces navy to revise decades-old policies

By Murray Brewster, CBC News  Posted: Jan 11, 2018 5:00 AM ET| Last Updated: Jan 11, 2018 5:53 AM ET

For the navy's most senior enlisted man it was a seminal moment.

It was — in today's terms — the most ordinary of scenes, but the fact it was taking place in a mess aboard the frigate HMCS Charlottetown was extraordinary.

Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Michel Vigneault was amazed to see a sailor having a Facetime conversation with family back home on a smartphone.

The moment neatly captured the conundrum he and the top brass have faced in making the navy, which has for a decade been perpetually short of sailors, an appealing place to work.

The moment encapsulated two issues: the longstanding prohibition on Wi-Fi coverage aboard warships and the amount of time sailors are away from home.

Both have become central to the retention and recruiting makeover that is underway as part of the Liberal government's recently introduced defence strategy.

The ban on Wi-Fi was an obvious irritant.

"I realized then how important it is. Maybe not for my generation, because we didn't grow up with that, but for younger sailors, being connected is very, very important," Vigneault told CBC News is a recent interview. "Everything we can do to enable that for the benefit of the sailor and his or her family is very, very important."

Infrequent chats

The navy has dropped what its top sailor called the "draconian" policy on the technology and has embarked on a program to install Wi-Fi on each of its warships.

"There are other navies that operate with NATO that have Wi-Fi in far more spaces than we do." said Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, commander of the Royal Canadian Navy. "And we're saying 'No you can't have it aboard' — period? That's crazy."

The U.S. navy began installing 4G LTE networks aboard its ships in 2012, while Canadians sailors have over the same period of time been forced to stow their cellphones while at sea — particularly when in secured areas — and rely on the occasional satellite phone conversation with family at home.

Those infrequent chats conducted through "morale phones" were largely dependant on the warship's jammed-up operational network.

Lloyd said last summer the crew of HMCS Toronto bought a Wi-Fi kit and installed it for use in non-secure locations aboard the ship, demonstrating it could be done expeditiously.

The coastal patrol ship HMCS Summerside had done the same, according to a navy publication.

The Wi-Fi works while a warship is in port — home or otherwise — and Lloyd said they are working on creating access while the ship is at sea, in much the same manner airlines now offer connectivity for passengers in the air.

Aside from obvious security issues, which the navy insists it has a handle on, the introduction of Wi-Fi brings with it questions about privacy, social media addiction and, potentially, policing of content. Many of those issues are covered by the military's overall social media policy, but until recently they were not matters individual ship commanders had to routinely consider.

Work-life balance

Getting the quality of work-life balance right has also forced the navy to revisit and revise long-standing deployment policies.

The shortage of sailors has meant an increase in what is known as "detached postings," which has seen crew members do back-to-back deployments at sea for months on end.

"There is nothing worse than going from ship to ship," said Lloyd. "We are [now] measuring, down to the sailor, the number of detached postings there are."

A flag officer — namely a fleet admiral or task force commander — will now have to sign off on deploying a sailor for more than 180 days per year.

And ideally, Lloyd said, the navy is trying to avoid sending someone to sea for that length of time years in a row.

It is a sea change for an institution that, for decades, gauged its effectiveness not by how long individual sailors were away but by the numbers of days its individual ships spent on the ocean.

Just how far out of step the navy has been with the rest of society was underlined when senior brass met recently with pollsters to discuss, among other things, getting millennials interested in a career at sea.   

Lloyd said the research found the navy was — in some instances — going in precisely the opposite direction to the expectations of the next generation.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/navy-warship-wifi-1.4481346

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2018, 08:07:58 »
This is a most excellent move and announcement.  Well done to RCN leadership!
Lead me, follow me or get the hell out of my way

jollyjacktar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 11:00:12 »
For those of us inland on IR, I am curious if the 180 day will apply to us as well.  Would be nice to see a HLTA every 180 days instead of once a year like Santa Claus.  I plan to send this question up the flag pole and see what happens.

Offline captloadie

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 11:46:00 »
For those of us inland on IR, I am curious if the 180 day will apply to us as well.  Would be nice to see a HLTA every 180 days instead of once a year like Santa Claus.  I plan to send this question up the flag pole and see what happens.
IR is a personal decision. Operational deployments are not. Why would we give them equal benefits?

Offline Furniture

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 07:01:03 »
I have been told about the plan to do the 180 day thing for a few years now, and can personally attest that up until August there was no real enforcement of it. I sailed for an 8 1/2 month trip, finished my post deployment leave and a week later was back at sea for BSSRT and RAS WUPS with a new crew on my old ship. Anything they can do to make life at sea a bit better for the people that actually sail is a major bonus.

jollyjacktar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 08:54:05 »
IR is a personal decision. Operational deployments are not. Why would we give them equal benefits?

A full posting is not always a possibility for some and IR becomes the only logical avenue to pursue.  Just as Operational Deployments are not always forced, I have two under my belt that I volunteered for.  It's not a black and white world.  Besides, there are monetary and leave benefits for being on deployment to compensate the member for their participation.  Both situations have family back at home who would benefit with an improved QOL with having them back if possible after 180 days for however long that might be.  Why wouldn't you want to see both families benefit?

Offline Halifax Tar

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Re: Wi-fi hot spots coming to RCN ships
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2018, 11:17:02 »
I have been told about the plan to do the 180 day thing for a few years now, and can personally attest that up until August there was no real enforcement of it. I sailed for an 8 1/2 month trip, finished my post deployment leave and a week later was back at sea for BSSRT and RAS WUPS with a new crew on my old ship. Anything they can do to make life at sea a bit better for the people that actually sail is a major bonus.

My first thought is that command teams should stay in place for at least a year post deployment.  Too often they switch out upon arrival at home port and the new command team wants to go, go, go with no sympathy for what was completed prior to their arrival.

My two Naval deployments had the commands switch our the day after we got home.  I will reserve my opinions on the actions of the incoming command teams for the C&POs mess over a drink.
« Last Edit: January 12, 2018, 11:19:48 by Halifax Tar »
Lead me, follow me or get the hell out of my way