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U.S. Navy surface combatant ship crews require extensive training. Especially rigorous training is required for the ship's engineers, who are responsible for operating, maintaining, and repairing the main propulsion and auxiliary equipment to keep the ship ready to go to sea. Much of the training for the engineering watchstanders of Arleigh Burke-class destroyers that is currently done underway could be done in port. Training could also be done on simulators at considerable savings in time, money, fuel, and ship wear and tear. And, given constraints on underway training, there is a limit to the number and type of drills a ship can practice at sea. The use of simulators can improve proficiency for engineering casualty control training that requires a great deal of repetition and drills to master. This monograph discusses how simulators could improve engineering watchstanders' proficiency before ships go to sea, so that time at sea could be used to fine-tune the training. The authors recommend that full mission console trainers — exact duplicates of the consoles onboard destroyers — be installed at fleet concentration areas, such as Norfolk and San Diego, so they could be used by senior engineering watchstanders to: (1) gain proficiency before ships go to sea, and (2) sustain proficiency during extended inport periods. In addition, desktop trainers can and should be used as lead-in engineering trainers for advanced operations.

The research described in this report was prepared for the United States Navy. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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