• A look back at the transformation of the Philippine Navy

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    ISABEL CAMUS

    THE Philippine Navy was recently inducted into the Palladium Balanced Scorecard Hall of Fame for Executing Strategy, as only one of five Philippine public sector institutions recognized by the international group since 2010. Let’s take a look back at the transformation journey of the Navy from a 2014 interview with then Flag Officer in Command (FOIC) Vice Admiral Jesus C. Millan.

    Can you describe the Philippine Navy prior to creating and implementing your strategic reform program?

    Millan: We were just like the other major services of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. We seemed to be moving very slowly compared to other naval forces in the region. The Philippine Navy was one of the best back in the day, but suddenly we didn’t know in which direction we were heading. We were a ship that was going nowhere, spending a lot but not accomplishing anything.

    What inspired the Philippine Navy to make use of the Balanced Scorecard?
    Millan: In 2004, then Flag-Officer-In-Command (FOIC) Vice Admiral Mayuga visited the Royal Malaysian Navy. He was able to see how this neighbor of ours was growing, and he was interested to learn more. Through interactions with the senior leaders he saw how they managed their resources and manpower using the balanced scorecard, and decided to adopt the same initiative. I was lucky enough to be part of the team that initially crafted the roadmap and scorecard for the Philippine Navy — which we named the Sail Plan 2020.

    How did you get others to support the Sail Plan?
    Millan: During the crafting of the vision statement, we gathered people from different ranks — there were senior and junior officers present, as well as personalities from outside the Navy. We were able to listen to all their input, and we were surprised that everybody was actually telling the same story. They were dissatisfied with the way we were being managed. We weren’t able to properly optimize the resources given to us. There were some negative reactions in the beginning, but there were also those who continued to push for the initiative, including myself. I understood those negative reactions because even in the beginning I asked myself “what is this?”, but the success story of the Royal Malaysian Navy helped to convince me.

    How was the Sail Plan different from other reform attempts of the past?
    Millan: In 1995, there was the modernization law and several attempts were made to transform the Navy. But most of these attempts were personality-driven and not driven by the institution. There was no continuity management — people would create a plan and when they’d leave, that was the end of it. One of the most important components of the Sail Plan is continuity management. We always try to involve future potential leaders in the development and management of the Sail Plan. I am the eighth FOIC that has implemented the Sail Plan, and all my predecessors except for one were involved in crafting the Sail Plan.

    How do you train future leaders of the organization?
    Millan: Succession management is part of the system; we must be able to mentor succeeding leaders. We must transfer the technology and roles slowly in order to allow them to manage the resources of the organization. The developmental plan of the Navy is already laid out in the Sail Plan. We just need to review and determine which initiatives need enhancement every so often. There are also some factors that need to be considered in terms of developments in the operating environment. Now we have the rise of China, and the modernization plan being supported in Congress. These are changes we have to factor in.

    What has the Sail Plan managed to accomplish so far?
    Millan: In the last three years, we were able to acquire numerous equipment: two frigates, three helicopters, 3,000 new rifles for our Marines, and we have more equipment scheduled to come in by 2015. Just imagine the inflow of equipment. So, there is really a need to revisit the program for us to be able to adapt to changing times. This is a good thing for us. In the Navy, at least, we have a plan. Our coping mechanism was already established in 2006.

    In just a little over a decade, the Philippine Navy has managed to transform itself by leaps and bounds. Once an organization severely lacking in equipment, it is now one that is well-managed and with a clear direction. Surely, the Philippine Navy is well on its way to achieving its 2020 vision of becoming a strong and credible Navy that our maritime nation can be proud of.

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    2 Comments

    1. First build the national steel industry, run it on Nuke power, then you have the means to build your modern Navy.

      Search your history… “there never was a state with a strong military defense, that did not also produce strong steel”

      Without that, stop deluding yourself about a modern RP navy.

    2. Dapat Navy natin Pinaka malakas sa buong AFP dahil island nation tayo at ang lawak ng coastline natin. We need also a Submarine group.