Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Building A Task Force? Start at the top.

One thing about the military and that is you can count on a manual or a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for just about anything. Whether it’s marching or filling out a form, there’s sure to be a document around to tell you how to do it.

So – why does it often make sense not to even open the book?

I’m on assignment where we are simulating the staff of a MG that has been hastily assembled in response to a crisis in a foreign country. As usual, I’m the IO SME and the task of establishing the nature of the MISO task force falls to me.

My starting point was the probable rank of the Task Force (TF) CDR and a SWAG (Scientific Wild Ass Guess) as to the comparable size of the MISO unit.

Having had many years of dealing with real and notional Task Forces as well as a perspective on their size and leadership through the years, my gut feel is pretty good and, as it turns out, backed up by doctrine as well.

Over the years I’ve learned some valuable lessons. One of those is that success on a staff may be due in part to your ability to gain access to the right meetings and working groups and to be able to hold your own in these groups. Sending an exceptionally talented officer who is too junior in rank might work in the commercial sector, but not in a senior headquarters.

I recall that my boss in Bosnia was an 06, while I was a humble 05. He felt that access to the GOs was so critical to the ultimate success of the unit that he insisted on billeting with them at the NATO HQ while I was ‘with the troops’ on the other end of town.

Turns out that he was right as some battles where just to get in and see the right person to able to state your case. Access was very much based on rank rather than competence.

Reader input is encouraged.

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