Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Big Thoughts Continued

Going back to a post from a couple weeks ago...
I suspect the NE quadrant (good mission/good admin) is a combination of training and proficiency, hard work, attention to detail, high standards, and a good dose of luck. The SW quadrant (poor mission/poor admin) is laziness and lack of luck. The SE quadrant (good mission/poor admin) is pure damn good luck with a small dose of proficiency mixed in. The NW quadrant (poor mission/good admin) is where the heart of my quandary lies. There's more to mission effectiveness than just being good at knowing the policy, being good technically with the tools, paying attention to the details and good comms/teamwork. Luck does play a huge part in finding the go-fast, or seeing the PIW (pee-eye-double you = person in the water). If you think you have all the things in the first list, but never actually have to put it into action during a real case, how do you know if you're just good at training in scenarios or can actually do it for realsies? And maybe "luck" isn't the right word. It's more of being in the right place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time -- because our operations are mostly about responding to people in crises. We are in the business of disaster response, whether it's traditional search and rescue or natural or manmade disaster response. The explosion of Deepwater Horizon, Superstorm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the tsunami in Indonesia -- the Coast Guard is in the right place at a time when things are going extremely badly for everyone else. So I'm not sure I should call that good luck. I think it's more luck in the sense of exposure to opportunity. You can't catch a drug running go-fast if there are none in the water within 500 miles of you. A particular, individual unit can't respond to a natural disaster if they're in drydock when the event happens. And so timing, and patrol schedules, and being in the right spot when something goes badly -- that's how units get involved in big cases. And if there are no big cases to respond to, how do we know if we know what we're doing? Because our admin is good? Inspections, assessments and training team certifications can only tell you so much. No matter how good our training teams are, the training environment still relies very heavily on simulations. If real world experience weren't important, why would we still require boarding officers and boarding team members to get exposed to pepper spray before they're allowed to carry it? I don't doubt that our crew is one of the best there is out there in the fleet. We communicate well; we know our tactics, techniques and procedures; we're proficient at working as a team; we know our jobs, trust our shipmates and take care of our equipment. Is there karmic backlash in hoping we get the opportunity to show it, when that means someone else has an insanely bad day? LCDR Charlotte Mundy Executive Officer USCGC DILIGENCE (WMEC 616) ** UNDERWAY**

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