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Thread: CSA Sends - Transition Team Commanders

  1. #1
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default CSA Sends - Transition Team Commanders

    From: GOMO
    Sent: Tuesday, June 17, 2008 2:32 PM

    Subject: CSA Sends - Transition Team Commanders (UNCLASSIFIED)

    Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
    Caveats: NONE

    CSA SENDS

    Soldiers that serve on our Transition Teams (TTs) and our Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are developing exactly the type of knowledge, skills and abilities that are vital for our Army to be effective in an era of persistent conflict. These are tough, demanding positions and the members of these teams are required to influence indigenous or surrogate forces as they execute missions that are of vital interest to this Nation. The tasks associated with Transition Teams, from direct combat to stability operations, will be a major part of full spectrum engagement in theaters of interest now and for the foreseeable future. I want to ensure that the officers that lead these teams are recognized and given the credit they deserve.

    I am directing that the Major's positions on these teams be immediately designated and codified in DA PAM 600-3, for all branches, as Key and Developmental (KD). Any officer holding one of these positions will be considered "KD" for his or her branch as a Major. Additionally, these officers will be afforded the opportunity, should they desire, to hold an additional 12/24 months of a branch specific KD position (e.g. XO, S-3, etc). Our promotion board guidance already stresses the importance of these positions and this additional information will be added to all upcoming board instructions. Additionally, because the success of these teams requires our best leaders, I have directed HRC to award Centralized Selection List (CSL) Credit for LTCs serving specifically in the TT Commander positions that have direct leadership responsibility for a training/transition team.

    Therefore, we are creating a new CSL sub-category called "Combat Arms Operations". It will be open to all eligible officers in the Maneuver, Fires and Effects (MFE) branches and to Foreign Area Officers (FAO). It will fall under the Operations category and will be effective on the FY 10 CSL board which meets this September.

    As a bridging strategy, for FY09 we will activate officers for these command positions from the alternate lists of all four major MFE command categories - Operations, Strategic Support, Training, and Installation. Officers accepting and who serve will be awarded CSL credit in the Operations category for serving as a Transition Team Commander. Additionally, if selected by the FY 10 CSL board, the officer may opt to command in the category they are selected after completion of their TT Command. Those that do command will receive credit for a second CSL command. If chosen, and they opt not to command, they will still receive credit for their TT command.

    Our ability to train and operate effectively with indigenous forces will be a key element of 21st century land power. We need our best involved.

    GEN Casey

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Who'd a thunk it. I think I'll go get

    a shot of bourbon and raise my drink to George.

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    Registered User John Nagl's Avatar
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    Default Institutionalizing Adaptation

    It is hard to imagine a better way to demonstrate that the Army is placing real emphasis on the Transition Team mission--or to rapidly increase the performance of the teams (and hence the job satisfaction of team members) as well as the capability of the Iraqi and Afghan Security Forces they coach, teach, and mentor.

    This decision has the potential to change the course of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for the better.

    Now about that Combat Advisor Tab...

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Default

    He must have read my message on the "Ill informed blog post..." thread.

    Ok, maybe he could have talked to Conway directly.

    But let's be clear, the progression was: Conway, Me, Casey. I can live with that.

    Cheers,
    Jill

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    Default Delighted to see

    GEN Casey included FAOs in the pool. Once again, it may open the door to becoming generals (perhaps even 4 stars i.e. Fred Woerner) to FAOs. Then, again, it may not.

    Cheers

    JohnT

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Great Step Forward; Not There Yet

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    GEN Casey included FAOs in the pool. Once again, it may open the door to becoming generals (perhaps even 4 stars i.e. Fred Woerner) to FAOs. Then, again, it may not.

    Cheers

    JohnT
    Well I have been wondering for 4 years now what it would take to get some 4Star oompf behind the MiTT effort; this will do nicely. I would like to see an encouragement/incentive offered that would prompt battalion commanders to then take a MiTT team as a progressive step. Maybe that is asking too much. Still as JohnT notes it is great that FAOs will get this opportunity--hopefully that would qualify them for selection to the War College as a resident student, another longstanding gap in the Army's commom sense locker. Finally I would have also encouraged the CSA to add PRT leaders to this category, especially for CA officers as well as FAOs.

    Tom

    PS

    Now what is the Army going to do for those senior NCOs who go to MiTTs?

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    Now what is the Army going to do for those senior NCOs who go to MiTTs?
    Read the rest of Conway's message?

    Cheers,
    Jill

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    Read the rest of Conway's message?

    Cheers,
    Jill
    And what did Conway have to say? About Army senior NCOs since that was the point of my question?

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    I apologize for being cheeky, Tom, and suggesting that Casey was following the commandant's lead. In any case, the point was that Conway's message covered both Marine Corps officers and NCOs who served on MTTs. Perhaps Casey intends a separate message for the NCOs -- or perhaps he wants to see how it works out for the officers before extending the policy.

    Regards,
    Jill

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    I apologize for being cheeky, Tom, and suggesting that Casey was following the commandant's lead. In any case, the point was that Conway's message covered both Marine Corps officers and NCOs who served on MTTs. Perhaps Casey intends a separate message for the NCOs -- or perhaps he wants to see how it works out for the officers before extending the policy.

    Regards,
    Jill
    Cheeky is good

    I have not seen Conway's message and did not know what it said. Hopefully the CSA or the SMA will address the NCO issue for the Army. Guys like Tony Hoh need credit for what they are doing. I am proud to say Tony was my NCO here before heading to ETT duty in OEF.

    Stan did it for me and I had to write a book about it to give him credit for what he did as my NCO. The Army certainly did not.

    Tom

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Tom, I posted it to the "Ill-informed blog post" thread. I'll (sniff, sniff) ignore the fact that you don't hang on my every submission.

    http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...2&postcount=36

    Cheeky is good, like many things, in moderation! Sometimes I just can't help myself.

    Cheers,
    Jill

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default Leveraging the "P"

    The “P” or personnel piece of this will serve as the fulcrum by which we will better leverage the rest of the DOTMLPF.

    I’m not alone when I say that serving as an advisor to a foreign security force is among the most rewarding to be had. In my own military service it is coequal with command. I view them as complimentary – one having made me better for the other. I think if ever I was asked to take another command it would benefit both me and those served. This is because as an advisor to FSFs you will see and do things you would not see or do other wise. It is because the conditions inherent to being an effective advisor require you to develop and exercise a different side of your talents - often in a different way, and because the environment in which the advisor operates offers a view from a different perspective – both on the operational environment and our own forces.

    The CSA’s message talks to the valuable contribution the advisory mission makes to our Land Power. That is worth considering beyond just our current operations in OIF and OEF. As more leaders take on this challenge, it informs the rest of our Doctrine, Organizational, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel and Facilities development and decisions we make as we go forward. With the CSA’s message we stand to create both a relevant body of knowledge throughout the force on working closely with FSFs, and we create Army stakeholders that better understand how “by, with and through” both benefits our own tactical, operation and strategic objectives, as well improving upon the direction we take our own force.

    The CSA’s message shows what we value; we protect and advance those things which we value.

    Best, Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    I apologize for being cheeky, Tom, and suggesting that Casey was following the commandant's lead. In any case, the point was that Conway's message covered both Marine Corps officers and NCOs who served on MTTs.
    Now if they can just fix the process for assigning folks to TTs, we might be getting somewhere.

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    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob Thornton View Post
    The CSA’s message shows what we value; we protect and advance those things which we value.
    The true position, I submit, will be seen when resolving the resourcing issue; that is, coming up with enough human beings to fill all these slots. When push comes to shove and there are not enough follks to go around, which will get filled first--Bn or TT command, O-4 TT advisor or Bn/Bde XO/S3? And which incumbents will be extended in their slots when the replacement pool is insufficient? While the memo says O4 TT types "will be afforded the opportunity" to be XOs/S3s, the cynic in me wonders how successful they will be in actually getting to serve in those positions.

    I worry about scenarios like this :
    MAJ X spends 12 months in IZ on a MiTT; he is then offered an "opportunity" to be an XO/S3 of a Bn enroute to IZ or AF rather than a Bn just returning from the AOR. I acknowledge that a lot of value accrues to the Army by having MAJ X apply his MiTT-derived in-country experience immediately. However, is MAJ X willing/able to undergo the back-to-back deployment it might entail?
    Vir prudens non contra ventum mingit
    The greatest educational dogma is also its greatest fallacy: the belief that what must be learned can necessarily be taught. — Sydney J. Harris

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    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    Hi Wayne, I think your concerns are valid - it gets to matching Means and Will - but I also think this is a good step in the right direction. That first step is often the hardest for a conservative organization to make as it demonstrates both a recognition and will to change. There are challenges ahead, but having your service chief make a public recognition is a good start.

    I'm not necessarily in line with John Nagl about the advisor tab, but I am on board for a personnel code that allows us to track by category advisory skills and experiences.

    I'd also say that there are allot of folks out there doing advisory work with FSFs who need the same type of recognition but are not formally assigned to a TT or PRT. The TF 134 folks who work with Iraqis helping the develop RoL issues spend as much or more time in many cases with Iraqis advising them as do TTs of various flavors. The MPs who are not tagged as TTs, but increasingly are exclusively focused on working with IPs, the unit augmentees who roundout the shortages in TTs and find they have a natural aptitude for it - and make a huge difference, the minesterial level advisors who are not necessarily part of a TT, the TTs internally resourced by BNs, BCTs and DIVs, etc. There is far more advsing going on then most people realize. We should work to identify those people and ensure they receive recognition for it, as well as categorizing their experience and assigining a value code to it so they can be tracked.

    Best, Rob

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    Council Member jkm_101_fso's Avatar
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    Default TT is now a real job?

    Rob,
    Great point on the Personnel codes...I was a IA BN S-3 Advisor in 2006 on an "out of hide" TT from my BDE. I had two OERs during the TT period and I wasn't rated as TT member, because according to my S-1, MTT "isn't a real job" that he can code on an OER. Which I found incredibly unfortunate. I'm concerned that guys on "out of hide" TTs won't get the same credit as an RFF TT guy. Also, I know that in many cases Sr. CPTs have served as TT commanders for IA BNs. I hope that they get the credit, just as a MAJ would.

  17. #17

    Default Navy isn't there yet.

    We're nowhere near this yet. FAO community is only three years old; IA officers (the guys who go pound sand) are mostly guys who Navy thinks they can afford to lose. We don't capture the skills and knowledge well and my take is that they aren't promoted like the guys in more usual career paths. No idea how we'd get a MAJ Carlson, for instance. Lots of churn and some changes to make the IA process less egregious, but not much like this I see. Anyone able to correct me?
    Last edited by Chap; 06-20-2008 at 03:16 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sargent View Post
    He must have read my message on the "Ill informed blog post..." thread.

    Ok, maybe he could have talked to Conway directly.

    But let's be clear, the progression was: Conway, Me, Casey. I can live with that.

    Cheers,
    Jill
    Jill,

    Unfortunately that message is only guidance to the various boards that meet yearly. This guidance is not "set in stone" and being codified as it appears that Gen Casey is doing with the Army.

    I recently received several back briefs from members of the last board season and it was mixed. Apparently huge discussions took place on exactly what weight to give Marines who successfully completed a MTT tour. The one agreement, successful MTT tours were not given the same credit as Bn/Reg staff tours. Lesser of two equals you could say.

    Being pulled from a Bn XO billet and assigned to a MTT, I am pleased attention is being given to this issue. However, it will require more than just "rudder guidance" from the commandant to go about an institutional change in the way senior Marines/board members think, act and vote.

    Crusoe

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    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Crusoe --

    I suppose I need to get over my hatred of emoticons and start using them with greater frequency -- or at least start adding some text that identifies when I am being cheeky. For the most part, I was joking about the timing of my post vs. the CSA's message.

    In all seriousness, my understanding is that the bulk of Conway's intent was to give MTT leaders a degree of command credit for deploying in that capacity. Any amount is good for my husband's case, because he stupidly did a very long stint at NPS after the world's longest LT tour at 29 Palms, which, taking into account the payback tour, meant that he missed a chance at battery command. Although he's had all manner of BN/Reg. staff positions, he did not like the hole in his experience. So, even if they are not given full credit, when it comes time for command screening, any little bit is going to help. It will also be interesting to find out whether his second MTT deployments helps, is neutral, or hurts. We'll see -- he's up for his first round of screenings this summer.

    In the end, having missed his battery command tour, he has enjoyed it, no matter what it what it might mean to his career.

    Cheers,
    Jill

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    Default Got it...finally

    Jill,

    I probably did not read the cheeky part into your reply because of my emotions on this issue as well. I think I am going to get physically ill if I hear how MTTs are the number one priority again!

    Crusoe

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