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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,277
Unit: Worry

« on: December 15, 2017, 01:48:19 PM »

At this time from our squadron (the largest in the area) we've recently had 3 promotions to group level operations (small o), IT, PAO, and R&R.

I'm intending to develop a "road school" whereby we travel to the different units in our group on a semi-regular basis to provide guidance on the basics of web pages, social media utilization, regular media contacts, non-profit tools for media and tech, local activity data mining to find opportunities for cadet participation, Cyberpatriot, and more.

Secondarily we intend to mentor those within our specialty tracks within each squadron to make sure they are getting to their tech ratings with minimal headache.

Has anyone done anything like this before? If so, do you have documentation you'd like to send my way?

IT, PA, and R&R plans are being hammered out as we speak with feedback from professional organizations in each category.

Furthermore, I've put in my application for the OE program; hopefully when I get an assigned mentor I'll be able to take advantage of whatever knowledge they can provide as well.

----


I'm also strongly interested in stories from people at group level positions in both how they interface with the squadrons below them and the wing above them. Since I have reason to believe we are pushing the envelope for CAP I am expecting I'll get static from both above and below, but my goal is to be clearly labeled as an enabling resource that can be called upon, not a requirement to be used nor a gatekeeper that slows down squadrons.

For any and all advice, responses either public or send via personal message would be appreciated.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2017, 01:53:56 PM »

This is essentially how I operated as Group CC and most of those in my wing.

You have to walk a fine line, however as mentoring members is first and foremost the
purview of the local unit, and Group staffers showing up randomly to help will generally
disrupt meetings and throw schedules in disarray.

At a minimum you should be coordinating when you decide to be there, ann holding off
on a lot of the mentorifying until asked.

Communications with downstream units (remember the unit may be subordinate), but the
staffers don't report to Group staffers, the Group's role is acting as a filter to and from wing,
not directing action.  Only the CC's can do that.

Also, if the plan is to consolidate reporting, or otherwise streamline things, that's fine, and a good
idea, but you can't add additional hoops, or reduce timeline to due dates just to accommodate
Group review - that causes a lot of issues.
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Holding Pattern
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,277
Unit: Worry

« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2017, 02:22:17 PM »

This is essentially how I operated as Group CC and most of those in my wing.

You have to walk a fine line, however as mentoring members is first and foremost the
purview of the local unit, and Group staffers showing up randomly to help will generally
disrupt meetings and throw schedules in disarray.

At a minimum you should be coordinating when you decide to be there, ann holding off
on a lot of the mentorifying until asked.

Understood. My intention is to let the commanders know that we are an "available resource" and can be scheduled out months in advance. That is our preference and no doubt theirs as well.

On the mentoring, well, I had no real mentor and had I not been a cadet in the program before I might have become disaffected and bailed out at year 1. I want the commanders to know that we can help prevent that from happening by being an "as needed" mentor resource when they cannot be that resource for time or other reasons.

Quote
Communications with downstream units (remember the unit may be subordinate), but the
staffers don't report to Group staffers, the Group's role is acting as a filter to and from wing,
not directing action.  Only the CC's can do that.

You're going to get a PM about this.

Quote
Also, if the plan is to consolidate reporting, or otherwise streamline things, that's fine, and a good
idea, but you can't add additional hoops, or reduce timeline to due dates just to accommodate
Group review - that causes a lot of issues.

The moment I am getting in the way of the squadron I have failed. I will avoid that landmine.
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TheSkyHornet
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,456

« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2017, 03:58:14 PM »

From the squadron side, I find our Group to be a facilitator in discussions and planning than really having an involved role. Our Group CC has always kept himself available for questions and guidance without any overstep that I know of into our immediate squadron affairs.

As said on a previous post regarding promotions, our Group CC would raise an eyebrow if we went to him with issues that should have ultimately been handled at the squadron level. Certain things going that far up would seem as if a problem is so severe that it cannot be addressed internally or that we're incompetent at the squadron level to handle these issues.

I don't see a lot of interaction between local units within the Group, though. But it's outside of the scope of my duties within our unit.

I'll be "that guy" --- I'm not sure exactly why Groups exist in our Wing except to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters. I'm not so sure I see a "mission" coming down through Group. But then again, maybe it's just something I'm not usually included in on with regard to that discussion.
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etodd
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,243

« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2017, 05:34:59 PM »


I'll be "that guy" --- I'm not sure exactly why Groups exist in our Wing except to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters. I'm not so sure I see a "mission" coming down through Group. But then again, maybe it's just something I'm not usually included in on with regard to that discussion.

I'm also one who 'doesn't get' the reasons for Groups. If it's "to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters" does that mean higher headquarters is being inundated with too many requests from Squadrons? Should Wing headquarters be beefed up instead of adding more layers of administration, with its often inherent delays in decision making?
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MS - MO - AP - MP - FRO
arajca
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 4,298

« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2017, 05:47:07 PM »


I'll be "that guy" --- I'm not sure exactly why Groups exist in our Wing except to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters. I'm not so sure I see a "mission" coming down through Group. But then again, maybe it's just something I'm not usually included in on with regard to that discussion.

I'm also one who 'doesn't get' the reasons for Groups. If it's "to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters" does that mean higher headquarters is being inundated with too many requests from Squadrons? Should Wing headquarters be beefed up instead of adding more layers of administration, with its often inherent delays in decision making?
Span of control.
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,420
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2017, 06:09:09 PM »

While some wings having groups possibly don't need them, large wings, like CA, TX, FL, PA, and others, certainly need them. It's all about "span of control", something covered in basic ICS courses. The concept actually predates ICS, but the attached a neat label to it.

As an example, CAWG has 67 squadrons. Administering them all from a single HQ would be overwhelming. So, we have 8 groups, having anywhere from 5 to 11 squadrons in them. Before Group 7 split into two, it was, in terms of member population, larger than 16 different wings.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2017, 06:20:49 PM »

Some wings have administrative "sectors" or "regions", etc., which are functionally the same thing from a S-O-C
perspective.

The upside is no requirement to have additional, time-wasting SUIs for a non-operational HQ unit, the downside is
that the command authority of those pseudo-echelons is problematic at least in regards to the regulations.

The more reporting and program control that is moved into eServices, the less S-O-C issues there are, but
on occasion there needs to be command-level discussions (for good or bad), and an S-O-C that is larger then
the generally recommended "5-7" dots, is unworkable, especially if the Wing CC is on the other side of the state.

The other non-trivial issue is that many wings no longer have the personnel to sacrifice them from the units to another echelon,
which results in dilution of the units or circular reporting relationships, or both.
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Paul Creed III
Seasoned Member

Posts: 231
Unit: GLR-OH-254

« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2017, 09:26:26 AM »

From the squadron side, I find our Group to be a facilitator in discussions and planning than really having an involved role. Our Group CC has always kept himself available for questions and guidance without any overstep that I know of into our immediate squadron affairs.

As said on a previous post regarding promotions, our Group CC would raise an eyebrow if we went to him with issues that should have ultimately been handled at the squadron level. Certain things going that far up would seem as if a problem is so severe that it cannot be addressed internally or that we're incompetent at the squadron level to handle these issues.

I don't see a lot of interaction between local units within the Group, though. But it's outside of the scope of my duties within our unit.

I'll be "that guy" --- I'm not sure exactly why Groups exist in our Wing except to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters. I'm not so sure I see a "mission" coming down through Group. But then again, maybe it's just something I'm not usually included in on with regard to that discussion.

As was mentioned by arajca as well, it is span of control and having higher echelon leadership closer to units in the field. It is much easier for me to travel to the units in the group to deal with drama or do some shake-and-takes than the wing commander who lives in the opposite end of the state. Also, coordination of activities between units (admittedly a challenge due to the geographic size of the group) and a filter between units and the wing. The mission of the groups is to take care of the units and help them execute the 3 missions of CAP.
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Lt Col Paul Creed III, CAP
National Headquarters Cyber Curriculum Specialist
Great Lakes Region Cyber Programs Officer
Ohio Wing Group 3 Commander
UWONGO2
Forum Regular

Posts: 100

« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2017, 01:06:51 PM »

Some wings have administrative "sectors" or "regions", etc., which are functionally the same thing from a S-O-C perspective.

The upside is no requirement to have additional, time-wasting SUIs for a non-operational HQ unit, the downside is
that the command authority of those pseudo-echelons is problematic at least in regards to the regulations.

We also went the sector route (assistant vice commanders in eServices), which has a number of upsides compared to groups having command authority over squadrons. There are a few downsides as well, specifically our regulations don't account for this type of command structure, so things like automatic promotions for group commanders don't translate to "sector" commanders. It also causes some eServices issues, as nothing can officially be routed through them.

We've also significantly changed how groups work, moving to what I'm told is more of the Air Force model by converting our group charters to support groups. This has allowed us to move darn near everyone out of 001 and into their appropriate group (we have groups for CP/AE, Mission Support Group, and Operations Support Group). This has significantly reduced the overhead for the CIs since only the mandatory number of people actually belong to 001, everyone else is ADY from their appropriate group. A fair amount of work had to be done to get the region and national command and IG folks on board, but so far it's working well.
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sardak
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 1,200

« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2017, 01:15:33 PM »

Span of control came up in this old thread on groups. http://captalk.net/index.php?topic=17229  In that thread, an older membership chart was marked up to show that in 2013 almost half the wings had groups - those shaded on the bottom axis. Sectors and areas were included in the definition of groups. Chart attached.

Mike
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2017, 01:18:59 PM »

Some wings have administrative "sectors" or "regions", etc., which are functionally the same thing from a S-O-C perspective.

The upside is no requirement to have additional, time-wasting SUIs for a non-operational HQ unit, the downside is
that the command authority of those pseudo-echelons is problematic at least in regards to the regulations.

We also went the sector route (assistant vice commanders in eServices), which has a number of upsides compared to groups having command authority over squadrons. There are a few downsides as well, specifically our regulations don't account for this type of command structure, so things like automatic promotions for group commanders don't translate to "sector" commanders. It also causes some eServices issues, as nothing can officially be routed through them.

We've also significantly changed how groups work, moving to what I'm told is more of the Air Force model by converting our group charters to support groups. This has allowed us to move darn near everyone out of 001 and into their appropriate group (we have groups for CP/AE, Mission Support Group, and Operations Support Group). This has significantly reduced the overhead for the CIs since only the mandatory number of people actually belong to 001, everyone else is ADY from their appropriate group. A fair amount of work had to be done to get the region and national command and IG folks on board, but so far it's working well.

Are they still subject to SUIs?
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PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,250

« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2017, 10:03:06 PM »

Some wings have administrative "sectors" or "regions", etc., which are functionally the same thing from a S-O-C perspective.

The upside is no requirement to have additional, time-wasting SUIs for a non-operational HQ unit, the downside is
that the command authority of those pseudo-echelons is problematic at least in regards to the regulations.

We also went the sector route (assistant vice commanders in eServices), which has a number of upsides compared to groups having command authority over squadrons. There are a few downsides as well, specifically our regulations don't account for this type of command structure, so things like automatic promotions for group commanders don't translate to "sector" commanders. It also causes some eServices issues, as nothing can officially be routed through them.

We've also significantly changed how groups work, moving to what I'm told is more of the Air Force model by converting our group charters to support groups. This has allowed us to move darn near everyone out of 001 and into their appropriate group (we have groups for CP/AE, Mission Support Group, and Operations Support Group). This has significantly reduced the overhead for the CIs since only the mandatory number of people actually belong to 001, everyone else is ADY from their appropriate group. A fair amount of work had to be done to get the region and national command and IG folks on board, but so far it's working well.

Are they still subject to SUIs?

Are they still a unit that is subordinate to Wing? The answer is yes so they do get an SUI.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2017, 10:06:59 PM »

Are they still a unit that is subordinate to Wing? The answer is yes so they do get an SUI.

If it's not a charter, no SUI.

Also, perhaps you could let someone who actually knows answer the question.
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Spaceman3750
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 2,646

« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2017, 10:49:36 PM »

Thatís an interesting model. It works for the Air Force/Guard because squadrons and flights tend to only do one thing - the operations support squadron (part of the operations support group) in a flying wing does nothing but fly or support fliers, for example. Personnel flight does exactly that. Those units have a direct reporting relationship to the responsible group (I think).

In contrast, most healthy CAP squadrons should be executing at least 2, if not 3, missions. That kind of breaks the model, because the way I understand the AF way to be, thereís still a direct command at the group level over related units, but CAP units often execute multiple somewhat unrelated missions. It sounds like your model is more of a multiple-Chief-of-staff or vice commander model under the flag of a group structure.
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The moment any commander or staff member considers themselves a gatekeeper, instead of a facilitator, they have failed at their job.
I can't fix all of CAP's problems, but I can lead from the bottom by building my squadron as a center of excellence to serve as an example of what every unit can be.
PHall
Salty & Seasoned Contributor

Posts: 6,250

« Reply #15 on: December 18, 2017, 11:51:36 PM »

Are they still a unit that is subordinate to Wing? The answer is yes so they do get an SUI.

If it's not a charter, no SUI.

Also, perhaps you could let someone who actually knows answer the question.

Where did he say the Group didn't have a charter number? ALL units in CAP must have a Charter Number.
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2017, 01:02:28 AM »

These may not be units, which is the point and the question.
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UWONGO2
Forum Regular

Posts: 100

« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2017, 02:17:28 PM »

Are they still subject to SUIs?

Kind of. As chartered units, there was no way to get out of inspections, nor should we really. The agreement is each group receives an inspection using the CI worksheets (since they operate at the wing level) and only the tabs that are applicable to that particular group are inspected, plus CC and SE. So for example, the CP/AE group only gets inspected on the AE and CP tabs, plus the group commander and safety. When all three groups complete their inspections, all of the CI tabs have been covered.

It's actually somewhat handy, as when the group's inspection comes around, it's great prep for the actual CI.

Overall the concept works very well. There are still a few issues caused by pushing a round peg through a square hole in places, but nothing major so far. We're a smaller wing and simply don't have the resources to staff the squadrons, groups, and wing. I mean, finding professional development officers for example is hard enough for a squadron, let alone finding one for each group (we used to have four total), plus one at wing. And each shouldn't be solo and should have assistants. It just wasn't sustainable. So now, on paper anyway, we have one professional development officer in our Mission Support Group, who on paper is ADY to the other two support groups (AE/CP and Operations), plus to 001. We're stealing far fewer people from the units (or having far fewer people in the units wearing hats at the unit, group, and wing levels).
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Eclipse
Too Much Free Time Award

Posts: 29,045

« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2017, 03:00:01 PM »

^^ This appears to be an entirely flexible and reasonable solution to the situation.
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kcebnaes
Forum Regular

Posts: 111
Unit: GLR-OH-064

« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2017, 04:29:08 PM »

From the squadron side, I find our Group to be a facilitator in discussions and planning than really having an involved role. Our Group CC has always kept himself available for questions and guidance without any overstep that I know of into our immediate squadron affairs.

As said on a previous post regarding promotions, our Group CC would raise an eyebrow if we went to him with issues that should have ultimately been handled at the squadron level. Certain things going that far up would seem as if a problem is so severe that it cannot be addressed internally or that we're incompetent at the squadron level to handle these issues.

I don't see a lot of interaction between local units within the Group, though. But it's outside of the scope of my duties within our unit.

I'll be "that guy" --- I'm not sure exactly why Groups exist in our Wing except to serve as a liaison between units and higher headquarters. I'm not so sure I see a "mission" coming down through Group. But then again, maybe it's just something I'm not usually included in on with regard to that discussion.

As was mentioned by arajca as well, it is span of control and having higher echelon leadership closer to units in the field. It is much easier for me to travel to the units in the group to deal with drama or do some shake-and-takes than the wing commander who lives in the opposite end of the state. Also, coordination of activities between units (admittedly a challenge due to the geographic size of the group) and a filter between units and the wing. The mission of the groups is to take care of the units and help them execute the 3 missions of CAP.



This. Like Lt Col Creed mentioned- our groups are huge, geographically. My Group covers something like 20 counties, and nothing is close to anything else.
 In smaller states, I agree-we probably don't need Groups. But, at least in Ohio, we have close to 50 units. If we were to get rid of Groups, how much would go through the cracks because the Wing/CC can't personally deal with every little thing across the state?
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Maj Sean Beck
Ohio Wing
Director of Personnel
Group VI Commander
darkmatter
Forum Regular

Posts: 158

« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2017, 05:17:19 PM »

i know some wings will never get groups not because they have x number of squadrons but these two wings that i know of are because of the land mass  they have groups woulding really help too much with anything . the two i'm think of are Delaware and Rhode Island
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SarDragon
Global Moderator

Posts: 10,420
Unit: NAVAIRPAC

« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2017, 07:41:33 PM »

To add to my example above -

CAWG Group 3 has a land area of 27,408 sq mi. This is larger than each of the ten smallest states, and about equal to the five smallest states combined. The population is about 2.4 million. It has nine squadrons.

NJWG has a land area of 8,723 sq mi, but a population of 8.9 million. It has 3 groups and 23 squadrons, equally distributed among the groups (8, 8. 7).

Given the widely different geography and demographics, both wings seem to be doing it about right.
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Dave Bowles
Maj, CAP
AT1, USN Retired
Mitchell Award (unnumbered)
C/WO, CAP, Ret
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