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Operational Risk Management

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OPNAVINST 3500.39 (series), Operational Risk Management (ORM) is the guiding Navy instruction for implementing the ORM program. The naval vision is to develop an environment in which every individual (officer, enlisted and civilian) is trained and motivated to personally manage risk in everything they do on and off duty, both in peacetime and during conflict, thus enabling successful completion of all operations or activities with the minimum amount of risk.

Commands have a number of responsibilities relative to ORM, including designating the Executive Officer as the ORM Program Manager to oversee command ORM training and implementation and ensuring that at a minimum one officer and one senior enlisted are qualified as ORM instructors.

The most common idea of what ORM is revolves around a simple five-step process that is most frequently used in planning. These five steps are:

  • Identify hazards
  • Assess the hazards
  • Make risk decisions
  • Implement controls
  • Supervise and watch for change

Another level of ORM is Time Critical Risk Management which involves a quick, committed-to-memory process and a set of skills that allow our people to manage risk when in the execution of a plan or event. The standard for the Navy is being developed, however it might be thought of in simple terms such as:

  • What can go wrong or is changing
  • How can I keep it from effecting the mission without hurting me
  • Act to correct the situation
  • Telling the right people if you are unable to take the right action

The Naval Safety Center has a number of great resources to help you promote and implement ORM. 

Additional training is available through My Navy Portal, under Navy eLearning. 

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