Rapid reaction leadership

first_imgRapid reaction leadershipOn 1 Mar 2002 in Military, Personnel Today Comments are closed. The hours are long, and time off is often unpredictable. In a year, as manyas 120 days could be spent on assignment away from home, and in 2002 thatfigure will probably rise. The work itself is tough, so the training is gearedto produce mentally and physically tough, disciplined and skilled air commandoswho can operate in the most chaotic and hostile conditions. DeeDee Doke reportson leadership within one of the US’s elite warfighting groupsWhen hostilities break out in an area of US interest, such as Afghanistan,among the first, if not the first, to arrive on the scene will be rapidreaction teams of Special Operations forces from the air force, army and navywith highly specialised combat skills. In the air force, such skills willinclude flying in adverse conditions, combat search and rescue, establishingand operating air assault zones, target designation, evacuation co-ordinationand more. As a result, it takes ‘a special breed’ that chooses to stay in the US AirForce Special Operations Command (AFSOC) beyond an initial three- or four-yeartour of duty, says Col James Connors, the command’s director of operations (DO)who has served nearly 19 years in the special operations arena. “I’ve stuck with it because I get up every morning to come in here, andI know that no matter how I plan my day, there’s going to be somethingdifferent that’s happened. I’m going to be challenged, and I enjoy that,”says Connors. “It’s an honour to come in every day and work with the kindof folks who also expect to come in, find a new challenge that they weren’texpecting and not only be able to handle that situation, but get ready for thenext day. There’s never a dull moment.” Compared to the board line-up of a commercial company, a military commandstaff has many of the same functions. At AFSOC, the ‘CEO’ is a three-star airforce general, whose ‘board’ includes a lawyer, flight surgeon, a financialwizard, a safety expert, chief engineer, senior enlisted force adviser andother top advisers. As the DO, which is arguably the hot seat on any command staff, Connors hasmultiple responsibilities: to organise, train and equip Afsoc’s forces,wherever they are based around the world. As such, he faces the full gamut ofHR issues daily, from ensuring the right combat forces are in the rightpositions, through training and leadership development, to overseeinginternational deployments and dealing with the families left behind. Since the beginning of Operation Enduring Force, the anti-terrorism campaignthat followed the New York and Washington bombings on 11 September, life inAfsoc has further intensified with global deployments and well-publicisedmilitary action. Its deadly AC-130 Spectre gunships vie for combat headlinesfrom Afghanistan with the more cumbersome B-52 bombers. Clearly, growing and maintaining as special a breed as Special Ops forcesrequires definitive command that leads by example. “They need to be ledbut not stifled,” says Connors. “They need to have a chance to learnby doing, as opposed to being ordered to do every single thing. We need to givethem a chance to try things, to plan, to exercise, and to see how things workout in training in peacetime so that when they have a chance to do the samething, only a little different, in combat, they understand how to do it. “I need to be able to give them an environment where they can think ontheir feet, where they’re not afraid to act. This is not a one-mistake commandwhere you’re out of here if you make a mistake. But we want people who arewilling to act on their best judgement, to act on what we’ve taught them –people who are not stopped by the fear that something will happen to them ifthey do something or make a mistake. “The ability to make mistakes is valuable. Letting people try things isvaluable. I think we do that in Afsoc more than the regular air forcedoes,” Connors says. Whereas many air force career fields involveconsiderable regulatory requirements and tried-and-tested formats forconducting business, Special Operations has a different focus. He adds:”We have regulatory guidance, but we also teach our people that there’s nosubstitute for common sense. And the guidance that we give folks never fits thenext situation they’re going to run into 100 per cent.” Connors’ original life plan did not include a military career, much lessSpecial Operations. In his youth, his only ambition was to live in New York,but the military draft system in place in the US then forced him to abandoneven that one goal. From 1969 until the end of the draft, which paralleled theend of the Vietnam War, a lottery system based on birth date determined whowould go. Connors’ number came up as 11. He completed his university studieswith a bachelor’s degree in urban studies in 1971, entered the air force and becamea billeting officer in his first assignment. He switched gears two years later by undergoing aircraft navigator training.For a few years, he served as an instructor navigator on two different aircrafttypes. In 1983, his course altered again, joining the special operations fieldfirst as a United Nations military observer for the UN Truce SupervisionOrganization in the Middle East. Business then heated up in the specialoperations world. The US has increasingly relied on its forces, somewhat toConnors’ chagrin, to take on more and more diverse missions from Grenada andPanama to Bosnia and various points in Africa. “Since the early 1990s,” Connors says, “there have never beenenough Special Operations forces to do what everybody wants us to do.” Asa result, his toughest challenge is prioritising resource requests from Afsoc’sfield operations, from aircraft and bullets to people and money “becauseyou never have enough”. Today, Afsoc forces tend to be “a little older, a little moreexperienced” than many airmen in the regular air force, Connors says,although “they really don’t know what they volunteered for until they getinto it. But the ones who are willing to accept the challenge, who are willingto learn new things and who are willing to continue to learn are the volunteersthat stay. They become a special breed. It amazes me every day the calibre ofpeople we get to do this job”. Motivating his forces on the front line is not difficult, Connors says, asthe objective and the means of executing it are clear. It’s tougher to keep thefocus on the mission outside the combat environment because of dailydistractions and competing priorities. “But everything we do needs to bedirected toward supporting those folks on the front line, and everybody herehas an important job doing that,” he says. “If there’s somethinggoing on in your job that you can’t control and it’s stopping you fromsupporting those guys out on the front line, you need to come see me, and we’llfix that.” Not only do his airmen and civilian employees need special leadership,however. Their spouses and children also form part of the “Afsocfamily” and require attention, especially when a mystery deployment isunder way. Often, families cannot know where their special operators have goneor when they’ll return. “It’s interesting. We recruit people to come here,but we keep families. We have more people leave Special Operations becausetheir family does not like the lifestyle rather than the individual member notliking the lifestyle,” Connors says. “It’s very hard on them. We aska lot of the people in the service, and we ask a lot of the families.” But his leadership philosophy for dealing with both is the same: “Tellthe truth. It’s easier. You have less to remember.” In Special Operations,truth is particularly crucial. The truth can alert forces to a potentialproblem – how to avoid it, or perhaps, how it cannot be avoided. For families,telling them you can’t tell them where their units have gone or when they’ll beback is better than passing on a lie. “When I deal with people, that’s my leadership philosophy. As DO,”Connors continues, “my philosophy is to fly, fly, fly. The only way I geta pilot with 3,000 hours flying experience is to have him fly 3,000 hours. Ican’t go out into the street and hire a guy that’s flown 3,000 hours incivilian life and bring him into the military and say, ‘OK, that’s going totransfer exactly over to what we do here’ because it doesn’t. The job of thiscommand is to produce combat-ready aircrews. That’s it. That’s what wedo.” But keeping that focus is difficult. When VIPs visit, there are staticdisplays to develop; aircraft need maintenance or modifications that keep themout of the available fleet; perhaps an aircraft must be on standby. Then there’sthe question of money. “Resources to fly aeroplanes are very expensive.There’s never enough money. Everyone understands that producing combat-readyaircrews is the goal, but there are a lot of impediments to doing that,”he says. At 52, Connors will soon retire from the military, believing that it is agame for younger folks who can better handle sleeping in tents out in thefield. But he easily and fondly remembers his own proudest moment as a SpecialOperations leader. In June 1993, he deployed to the African country of Djibouti for 30 dayswith four aircraft under his command, dispatched by the UN and then-PresidentBill Clinton following the killing of 24 Pakistani UN troops by Somalianwarlord Mohammed Aidid’s forces. He was the senior US military man in Djibouti,and oversaw the establishment of a full-up military encampment to support hisand other forces that were in pursuit of Aidid. When his group returned to homebase, all went home alive. Says Connors: “I sat back and said, ‘Well, it all worked, if I’d had toretire right after that, I would have felt complete’.” US air force special operations command12,000 people include:  9,000 active-dutyairmen  1,200 reservists  1,000 Air NationalGuard     500 civiliansPermanent bases:Hurlburt Field, Florida, USKadena Air Base, Okinawa, JapanRAF Mildenhall, UK130 aircraft:AC-130H/U gunshipsMH-53M Pave Low helicoptersMC-130E/H Combat Talon transport  MC-130P Combat Shadow aerial tankers Related posts:center_img Previous Article Next Article Features list 2021 – submitting content to Personnel TodayOn this page you will find details of how to submit content to Personnel Today. We do not publish a…last_img read more

Consignia to outsource its OH service in a bid to cut losses

first_imgConsignia to outsource its OH service in a bid to cut lossesOn 1 Jun 2002 in Personnel Today Congignia hopes to improve services and save money by using SchlumbergerSemato provide OH servicesConsignia, the troubled company behind Britain’s postal services, is poisedto outsource its occupational health service in a deal worth £70m. The deal is part of the firm’s three-year restructuring programme designedto stem losses of about £1.5m a day. Once signed, the five-year contract will see Schlumberger Sema, part ofFrench conglomerate Sema, take over the provision of OH services to Consignia’s220,000 staff. This includes pre-recruitment assessments, ill-health referrals and medicalretirement assessments. The OH team also offers preventative services such ashealth promotions and training. The company’s 240 occupational health staff will transfer toSchlumbergerSema on their existing terms and conditions, as required under TUPE(Transfer of Undertaking Protection of Employment) regulations. Consignia said it had decided to outsource the service because it was not acore part of its business. Overall, the company hopes to save £60m a year for10 years through a series of similar outsourcing agreements. Malcolm Kitchener, managing director of business services at Consignia,stressed the deal would not mean any downgrading of the service Consigniaemployees received. In fact, it was likely to improve, he argued. “Consignia’s OH service will be working with a major and focused playerin the OH market. There will be wider opportunities. There is quite an air ofexcitement about the prospect of joining SchlumbergerSema,” he said. OH nurses would have access to better systems and technology and SchlumbergerSemahad pledged to spend £5m upgrading the OH systems. They would also be able towork with clients other than Consignia, he added. www.consignia.com Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.last_img read more

Marine ecosystem assessment for the Southern Ocean: birds and marine mammals in a changing climate

first_imgThe massive number of seabirds (penguins and procellariiformes) and marine mammals (cetaceans and pinnipeds) – referred to here as top predators – is one of the most iconic components of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. They play an important role as highly mobile consumers, structuring and connecting pelagic marine food webs and are widely studied relative to other taxa. Many birds and mammals establish dense breeding colonies or use haul-out sites, making them relatively easy to study. Cetaceans, however, spend their lives at sea and thus aspects of their life cycle are more complicated to monitor and study. Nevertheless, they all feed at sea and their reproductive success depends on the food availability in the marine environment, hence they are considered useful indicators of the state of the marine resources. In general, top predators have large body sizes that allow for instrumentation with miniature data-recording or transmitting devices to monitor their activities at sea. Development of scientific techniques to study reproduction and foraging of top predators has led to substantial scientific literature on their population trends, key biological parameters, migratory patterns, foraging and feeding ecology, and linkages with atmospheric or oceanographic dynamics, for a number of species and regions. We briefly summarize the vast literature on Southern Ocean top predators, focusing on the most recent syntheses. We also provide an overview on the key current and emerging pressures faced by these animals as a result of both natural and human causes. We recognize the overarching impact that environmental changes driven by climate change have on the ecology of these species. We also evaluate direct and indirect interactions between marine predators and other factors such as disease, pollution, land disturbance and the increasing pressure from global fisheries in the Southern Ocean. Where possible we consider the data availability for assessing the status and trends for each of these components, their capacity for resilience or recovery, effectiveness of management responses, risk likelihood of key impacts and future outlook.last_img read more

HMS Sutherland Hands Over Pirate-Busting Duties to Her Sister Northumberland

first_img View post tag: Naval View post tag: Sister November 27, 2012 View post tag: over View post tag: Duties HMS Sutherland Hands Over Pirate-Busting Duties to Her Sister Northumberland View post tag: Northumberland Back to overview,Home naval-today HMS Sutherland Hands Over Pirate-Busting Duties to Her Sister Northumberland View post tag: Hands View post tag: Navycenter_img View post tag: HMS Share this article View post tag: to View post tag: Pirate-Busting There’s a change of hands in the Indian Ocean as HMS Sutherland has been replaced by her sister Northumberland – as Britain’s constant effort to choke pirates, smugglers and other criminal activity continues. The Fighting Clan is homeward bound for Devonport in time for Christmas after five months east of Suez supporting the international effort to keep the sea lanes open – a duty now performed by Northumberland.The crew of HMS Sutherland let their hair down in time-honoured Royal Navy fashion (blasts from fire hoses, jumping up and down excitedly, waving arms, hurling projectiles and other tomfoolery) as they turn for home – and hand over pirate-busting duties to their colleagues in HMS Northumberland.The two Type 23 frigates met up briefly in the Red Sea allowing a meeting of minds – the command team from Sutherland visited Northumberland via Merlin helicopter to pass on their experiences – followed by a little fun.The Fighting Clan has worked tirelessly for the last five months as part of the Combined Maritime Forces ensuring the sea lanes and waters of the Middle East and Indian Ocean are safe for seafarers to conduct their daily business.With Sutherland’s duties complete East of Suez she has handed over the role of protecting Britain’s interests in the region to her sister (and fellow Devonport native) Northumberland.During her time on patrol Sutherland has conducted boarding operations on suspect vessels and also reassurance visits to build relationships with mariners and obtain information on pattern of life in the area.In addition the ship has carried out various security patrols and has also participated in numerous exercises with coalition and allied forces in the region to strengthen ties and improve interoperability.Speaking about the deployment, HMS Sutherland’s Commanding Officer Commander Al Wilson said:“The huge variety and diversity of task, that Sutherland has fulfilled whilst on operations illustrates the inherent flexibility of the Royal Navy in protecting and promoting UK interests worldwide, whether it is preventing piracy or terrorism at sea or strengthening bonds with regional allies.“However, I could not of achieved this without an efficient, capable and highly motivated ship’s company and, as always, I am highly proud of what my team has achieved over the past six months whilst remaining cheerful and utterly professional throughout.”His counterpart on Northumberland’s, Cdr Paddy Dowsett, added:“Today is the culmination of our preparations since emerging from refit in September 2011.“With weapons and boarding team training now complete, my ship’s company are ready and eager to get going on this demanding and essential mission, and they are all committed to it being a success.”Barely had the fire hoses stopped dripping and the shenanigans died down than normal business resumed and Northumberland’s Merlin was delivering supplies to her flight deck.[mappress]Naval Today Staff, November 27, 2012; Image: RN View post tag: Sutherland View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Herlast_img read more

North End Neighborhood Drainage Project Update

first_imgWork to be completed in the week of March 4-8:·       Feriozzi Concrete will restore curbs and gutters in the 100 block of West Avenue. The company will also restore the concrete around the pump station in the 200 block of Bay Avenue. ·       Lafayette will work on the pump station in the 200 block of Bay Avenue. The contractor will also begin working on the check valve chamber at Third Street and Bay Avenue.·       Delta Line Construction will continue installing the electrical hookups from the service poles to the pump stations at all pump station locations. Construction continues along Bay Avenue for the drainage project.last_img

Subway supplier Evron to spend £400k on R&D

Bakery manufacturer Evron Foods, which supplies Subway’s breads, is to invest £400k in research and development, to include the investigation of a new sweet muffin-style range.The investment has been supported by an offer of over £140,000 from Invest NI, with funding from the European Regional Development Programme.The firm, which manufactures a range of chilled, frozen and ambient breads and pastries for the retail, foodservice, wholesale and food processing sectors, now hopes to increase its current turnover of approximately £20m by 50% within the next three years. It has also appointed a new commercial manager and key account manager as part of its plan to drive the business forward.“With the support of Invest NI, we now hope to achieve additional efficiencies by further strengthening our management team, while increasing our foothold in the retail bakery market around the UK and Ireland with our new sweet muffin range,” said Morris Evans, managing director, Evron Foods.He said alongside the constant challenge of meeting and exceeding customer expectations, the firm has also faced increasing pressure on its overheads. “Flour, butter and electricity costs have all risen dramatically in recent times, but this further motivates us to be innovative in how we do things,” he added. read more

Breckenridge Brewery Hootenanny Releases Initial Lineup

first_imgBreckenridge Brewery has announced its initial lineup for their 2016 Hootenanny, which will take place at its brewery in Littleton, CO on Saturday, July 9th. Headlining the event will be Robert Randolph and the Family Band, who will be joined by Larry and Jenny Keel w/ Drew Emmitt and Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, Head for the Hills, and local Colorao acts Zolopht, Grant Farm, We Dream Dawn, Sweet Lillies and Caribou Mountain Collective. An additional headliner is scheduled to be announced mid-June.A special allotment of 200 tickets can be purchased at the $26 anniversary price, which also include access to a late-night celebration featuring Robert Randolph and Zolopht at Cervantes Masterpiece in Denver. The show will also benefit Conscious Alliance, a local non-profit that helps to fight hunger.To purchase tickets, click HERE.last_img read more

SunSquabi Announces Denver Hometown Throwdown With Russ Liquid Test, Escort, And More

first_imgColorado’s SunSquabi has been blowing up in recent years, with the trio solidly placed at the center of the live electro-funk scene. The band—composed of Chris Anderson (drums), Josh Fairman (bass/synth), and Kevin Donohue (guitar/keys/production)—has had a huge year already, releasing a brand new EP, Deluxe, in April and gaining fans nationwide at festivals like Summer Camp, Electric Forest, and Camp Bisco. However, at its heart, the group is a Colorado staple, and today, the band announced that they would be showing their home state some major love.SunSquabi Shares Video Of Jason Hann Sit-In From Texas PerformanceOn November 11th, SunSquabi will take over the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver for a hometown throwdown of giant proportions, which will also double as the group’s largest headlining performance to date. The show presented by GRiZ’s All Good Records will also tap New Orleans’ The Russ Liquid Test, Brooklyn’s Escort (live band), and Canada’s Defunk, in addition to tweener sets presented by Flamingosis, ensuring a non-stop dance party that runs late into the night.Papadosio And Sunsquabi Take Over Red Rocks For Re:Creation [Photos/Pro-Shot Video]As TUNES Ambassadors for the Oskar Blues CAN’d Aid Foundation, SunSquabi works with the Colorado brewery by supporting local public school music programs through musical workshops and instrument donations. As an added bonus, the trio will donate $1 from all tickets sold for this show to this worthy cause. Check out more about SunSquabi here, and don’t forget to snag tickets for this must-see show here, with tickets going on-sale today at 12 pm (MST).[Photo: Silky Shots]last_img read more

World’s Longest Running Streak Ends

first_img78-year-old Ron Hill from Accrington, England, ran at least one mile every day for 52 years and 39 days, the longest running streak ever. The streak started Dec. 20, 1964 and came to an end last Sunday due to heart problems. Hill reported feeling pain in his chest 400 meters into a run, and after one mile, he thought he was going to die. Out of respect to his family, he decided to stop his streak and take a day of recovery.Ron Hill has run through many injuries and setbacks over the decades. In 1993 Hill broke his sternum in a car accident and managed to run the next day. In another instance Hill had bunion surgery and ran a mile in a cast with walking canes around his local track everyday for a week.Hill had a very successful running career in his younger days, competing in the 1964, 1968, and 1972 Olympics, a course record of 2:10:30 at the Boston Marathon in 1970, and he held world records in the 10 mile, 15 mile, and 25 kilometer road races. Outside of his running career, Hill created Ron Hill Sports, a brand that revolutionized fabrics in athletic clothing.The next longest streak after Hill is 66-year-old California runner John Sutherland, who has run every day since May of 1969—that’s 17,420 consecutive days.last_img read more

Why you should be ‘Shopping for Miracles’ with Credit Unions for Kids

first_imgCredit Unions for Kids’ Senior Director Joe Dearborn joins us to talk about their upcoming promotion called “Shop for Miracles.” Shop for Miracles is the newest Credit Unions for Kids’ national campaign. This one-day fundraiser takes place on October 15, 2015 as an exciting and innovative way to celebrate the World Council of Credit Union’s International Credit Union Day at your credit union. continue reading » 8SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img