THE new commanding officer of the Royal Naval College HMAS Creswell at Jervis Bay, Captain Stephen Hussey, reckons he has one of the best offices in the world.
A 39-year veteran of the sea, Captain Hussey started his career as a junior recruit in the Royal Navy, worked his way up to become a commissioned officer and after enjoying an exchange posting to Australia joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2000.
He has spent a large part of his career as a submariner, with sea postings in diesel, nuclear and ballistic missile submarines, undertaking the Submarine Command Course in 1994.
His non-submarine service has included being head of command and navigation training at HMAS Watson in 2012 as well as instructional appointments as head of Submarine Warfare Training at the Submarine School, Perth and as the Training Authority – Submarines in 2010.
“This job itself is professionally rewarding; the fact it is in such a wonderful location is an absolute bonus,” Captain Hussey said.
“I would do this job in the middle of the Nullarbor but this has to be one of the nicest parts of the world.
“I have worked in some pretty special places – the UK’s Royal College at Dartmouth, the Lakes Districts of Scotland and, of course, Sydney Harbour. They are all special but Jervis Bay is definitely right up there with them.
“There are one or two jewels in the crown and Creswell is certainly one of them.
“The heritage and history in the place is fantastic.”
There are a number of facets to the command at Creswell.
As Creswell commanding officer, Captain Hussey is responsible for all facilities and staff on the base, as well as some other satellite facilities such as the Jervis Bay Airfield and Beecroft Weapons Range, as well as the School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety, which is also located on the base.
The second part of his role is as the training authority for initial training, leadership and management for the navy.
Captain Hussey also oversees satellite training facilities including the RAN Recruit School [HMAS Cerberus], and the sailors’ leadership management faculties at Training Centres East and West in Sydney and Western Australia.
While he might not oversee the training at the School of Survivability and Ship’s Safety, which falls to HMAS Watson, because the facility is on the base he is also responsible for it.
“There is a lot more going on at Creswell than just officers’ training, which is our core responsibility and a large responsibility we take seriously but is not the sole reason for us being here,” he said.
“We also provide leadership courses for promotions through the ranks for chief petty officer, petty officer and warrant officers so they can move to the next rank.
“Life continues to change and therefore we have to change the delivery of training. We need to continue to change to allow us to evolve and meet the challenges our personnel face.
“We continue to evaluate our training delivery methods and have to look at additional training from a warfare perspective where things are changing so quickly.
“We are bringing on line new capabilities, new warfare destroyers and LHDs [loading helicopter docks] and we have to tailor our training to also meet these requirements.”