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April 28, 2011
By LEUT Todd Austin
THIS month, we take a look at
the first of the Performance
Signature Behaviours, "Cha-
llenge and Innovate", which
asks that we challenge, question and be
open to change, generate new ideas and
support creative solutions.
This particular behaviour is always
at the forefront of the type of work our
clearance divers and mine warfare sailors
do on a daily basis, particularly when
they were tasked to assist during the
recent flood disaster in Queensland.
CMDR Michael Maley, the Chief
Staff Officer of the Mine Warfare and
Clearance Diving Group based at HMAS
Waterhen, said because of the remote
localities and the unknown factors asso-
ciated with the tasks they were involved
with, "Challenge and Innovate" was
always in use.
"Whether we are conducting diving
operations on ordnance or assisting in
operations like Queensland Flood Assist
where the conditions were unknown at
the outset, we need to be able to adapt,"
CMDR Maley said.
"What most people don't know is that
we have clearance divers deployed in
the deserts of Afghanistan with no water
within a thousand kilometres, where
they are forced to challenge and innovate
probably every hour of every day dealing
with improvised explosive devices."
LEUT Richard Brickacek is a clear-
ance diver who has just come back from
the Middle East.
"On land we have different ways of
doing things than in the water and every
day we'd 'go outside the wire' and you
wouldn't know what you'd encounter --
that was probably the hardest thing to
deal with," LEUT Brickacek said.
"But with the tools and our training,
we accept the challenge. It's like play-
ing chess blindfolded -- you know your
moves but you don't know theirs, so
that's where you need to adapt."
ABCD James Ingram from Australian
Clearance Diving Team One helped dur-
ing the recent flood crisis in Queensland.
"With Operation Queensland Flood
Assist, we were given many challenging
scenarios and were able to come up with
solutions to these and carry out our jobs
safely and effectively," ABCD Ingram
said.Even though clearance divers and
mine warfare sailors need to think out-
side the normal ways of conducting their
tasks, safety is always at the forefront of
"We have standard operating proce-
dures for our safety and for the people
around us," CMDR Maley said.
"What we can do is adjust our work
in line with the unknown aspects of the
operation, but always remain within the
SOPs to achieve a successful outcome.
"Without us implementing this
Signature Behaviour, we couldn't do
Further information on New Generation
Navy's Signature Behaviours is available
online at http://intranet.defence.gov.
OF THE MONTH
'Challenge and Innovate'
FINDING SOLUTIONS: Clearance divers at work in the
Brisbane River during Operation Queensland Flood Assist and,
inset, LEUT Richard Brickacek on operations in Afghanistan.
Main photo: CPL Janine Fabre
By LEUT Todd Austin
CHIEF of Navy VADM Russ
Crane recently joined the crew
aboard HMAS Sirius during the
final stages of Exercise Triton
Storm II and took some time to
celebrate the second anniversary
of the New Generation Navy
(NGN) program with the ship's
CN (second from left in photo)
spoke about what had occurred
across the Fleet during the past 12
months and applauded the efforts of
"To me there is no better way to
celebrate NGN's second anniversary
than to be with you doing what
Navy does best -- operating at sea,"
VADM Crane said.
The youngest member of the
ship, AB Luke Middleton (second
from right in photo), helped cut the
anniversary cake, along with the
Warrant Officer of the Navy, WO
Mark Tandy (far left in photo), and
the Commanding Officer of HMAS
Sirius, CMDR Dave McDonald (far
right in photo).
"I want to congratulate you
all, as well as your fellow sailors
throughout our Navy, on the efforts
you have put into the NGN pro-
gram," VADM Crane said.
"It's making a real difference.
As I look broadly across Navy I
see real traction and in the last 12
months we've made some funda-
mental changes in the way we oper-
ate the Fleet."
CMDR McDonald said hosting
CN was a real pleasure.
"Having CN on board at any
time is a real privilege but for him to
celebrate NGN's second anniversary
with the crew at the end of a very
large exercise is a great source of
affirmation for the ship's company,"
CMDR McDonald said Triton
Storm had allowed the ship's com-
pany to demonstrate their commit-
ment to the Signature Behaviours.
"We have sailors working across
a variety of areas in the ship, not
just their primary work spaces," he
"There's a fair amount of 'driv-
ing decision-making down' with this
approach -- if we didn't do this we
couldn't deliver the capability we
are required to deliver."
CN said Navy needed to
embrace culture change because it
would benefit Navy members in the
"We are at a fundamental point
in our history as we renew the Fleet
and look towards the future," he
"We are staring down the barrel
of a significant change in the way
in which our Fleet will operate and
how it will look.
"We need to bring through the
very positive parts of our culture.
The only way we can do this is
through genuine cultural change and
this has to occur from the bottom
Chief celebrates NGN
birthday with Sirius
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