Navy Mastery

Navy Mastery enables personnel to move beyond job proficiency and rank-based career progression, to prepare them for joint service. Mastery is the process of progressively acquiring comprehensive knowledge and skills in a specific domain, together with the ability to apply it intuitively. It ensures people are progressing their professional development to become experts within their preferred fields.

Navy’s ability to deliver sustained maritime capability to the Australian Government depends on having Suitably Qualified and Experienced Personnel (SQEP). As personnel acquire deeper knowledge and develop more complex skills, their Mastery will move them towards a more advanced phase in their career. What this means for the Navy workforce is that, for the first time, rank will not be the most important signal of success.

True mastery comes through unconscious competence. For individuals, it’s about becoming so adept that you instinctively know what to think and do in a given situation. For the organisation it’s about delivering SQEP. 


Navy Mastery will support people’s focus on lifelong learning, skills acquisition, competence and expertise. It benefits personnel and the organisation by offering:

  • Individual
    • choice in career paths with options for skill training and professional development
    • greater career satisfaction
    • clearer avenues for promotion
    • varied career progression from dual career ladders to progression within the broader Defence environment
    • job flexibility aligned to important life stages.
  • Organisation
    • meeting organisational objectives
    • ensuring workforce availability
    • enabling workforce capability development and delivery
    • reducing risk of workforce hollowness
    • increasing motivation and productivity
    • improving workforce retention and re-engagement


The Navy Mastery System provides the concepts, programs and mechanisms to deliver value to every sailor and officer’s career. Navy Mastery centres on ‘learning by doing’ through the three core elements of Mastery: Maritime, Technical and Social.

Maritime Mastery is the deep understanding of successfully operating within the maritime domain to generate capability and centres on competence at sea.

Technical Mastery is highly developed technical competence within a profession, community, or stream, and demonstrates that a person is suitably qualified and experienced. 

Social Mastery is the development and application of emotional and social competence to generate high functioning individuals and teams who aim to achieve results. Social Mastery fosters a culture of teamwork and inclusion.


The Mastery stages will develop members' personal competency through a combination of education, exposure and experience within different environments. All three components must be developed in multiple environments. This is typically achieved through working in both core tactical and technical roles in the first phase, and across the various joint streams in the second phase.

  • Education (structured learning) - Education provides individuals with the enabling skills, knowledge and attributes necessary to undertake military tasks, and includes activities which aim at developing communication, thinking and decision-making skills. Navy values both formal and informal education, including training and development, tertiary education, short courses and micro-learning initiatives.
  • Exposure (second-hand learning) - Exposure is achieved by engagement with, and leveraging from, the learning of others through observation, critical questioning, reception of and imparting information to achieve social learning. Exposure activities are broadly defined, but might include active and passive participation in forums, lectures, conferences, debates, reading and writing, mentoring, coaching, and war gaming
  • Experience (learning by doing) - Experience is the practical content. It is observational learning and development received from first-hand actions and decision-making on the job through postings, and industry outplacements. It involves participation in key activities related to that experience, for example collective training, exercises, deployments, maintenance and certification, planning and administration.