Re: NCOs in CAP (Split from the Perfection thing)

Started by PHall, January 14, 2020, 07:00:28 pm

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Eclipse

This is the "problem", and why there's never going to be an NCO Corps or program
that actually functions properly within CAP...

"Noncommissioned officers/petty officers are the leadership cadre that ensures the mission of the unit or organization can and will be accomplished.
They do so by sustaining and motivating the enlisted force.
By teaching, coaching, and mentoring the force, and by instilling a sense
of unity, purpose, good order, and discipline--and demanding compliance with standards, tradition, culture, customs, and courtesies--they
are looked upon as the organization's pillars of strength and loyalty.

They are professional servant-leaders who are undeterred by the chaos, complexity, uncertainty, fog, and friction that can infiltrate
the formations. They have presence. When young military members look up from a difficult task for purpose, strength, and guidance,
it is the NCO/PO they see first. NCOs/POs continually strive to attain ever higher levels of personal, professional, and technical
competence in order to be more effective, and they inspire confidence and esprit de corps both in those appointed over them and in
those who look to them for leadership. NCOs/POs influence and develop their subordinates through personal example and engaged supervision.
NCOs/POs relish taking on challenging tasks--that is what they are developed for and trained to do, and it is one of the many reasons they are
acknowledged and respected throughout the world."



"The Noncommissioned Officer and Petty Officer
Backbone of the Armed Forces"

2013
National Defense University Press
Washington, D.C.

https://www.jcs.mil/Portals/36/Documents/Publications/ncobackbone.pdf

Not only is this the best, most easily articulated explanation of what an NCO "is", it also defines the problem
for CAP quite nicely.

There is no "enlisted force" in CAP. Everyone reading this knows that, but it's repeated anyway.

The cadets are not the "enlisted force", despite rhetoric to that effect by those who try to force that model.

NCOs are intended to be the watchmen for the care and feeding of the enlisted force, the voice of that force
to the strategic leadership, and when they "advise and counsel" it's in regards to how command decisions
will affect that force, and / or whether that force is capable of executing the command intent.

CAP has no such force for them to champion, motivate, and train, and the idea that you would allow
members to somehow indoc as NCOs, without ever being "enlisted", causes the same issues as the situation
today, which allows them to indoc as Officers with no military (or even staff-related) training.

And putting NCOs out in the field, with no enlisted force, is like making them Assistant to the Regional Manager at
Dunder Mifflin.  It sounds goods if you say it fast enough, and don't ask too many follow up questions.



catrulz

I've been following this argument for years here on CAP Talk.  As you can see I don't have a high post total.

As lordmonar used to stress, you don't need a problem, to institute improvements.  By the way what happened to lordmonar?

"By teaching, coaching, and mentoring the force, and by instilling a sense of unity, purpose, good order, and discipline--and demanding compliance with standards, tradition, culture, customs, and courtesies--they
are looked upon as the organization's pillars of strength and loyalty."

There is a lot of value added in this sentence for both the cadet and senior member program.  I remember the discussions in bringing back the warrant officer grades as specialists.  The NCO Corps could be those specialists and demanding compliance with standards, tradition, culture, customs, and courtesies--they
are looked upon as the organization's pillars of strength and loyalty through training and example.

When I was a cadet (CA Composite Squadron 50 1978-79 Modesto) we had Sr. Mbr NCOs at Group 16 (I think this group number changed at some point).  They mainly worked on the planes and comm gear if memory serves correctly (it is the first thing that goes with age).

As an AFJROTC cadet, we had a single Officer Instructor, and a single Sr. NCO Instructor. Their contribution was equal, and neither was considered redundant. There was no problem needing to be solved, they simply enhanced each other, both had valuable lessons and examples to provide.

Saluting both between Sr. Members/Sr. Members, cadets/Sr. Members, cadets/cadets was viewed much differently in AFJROTC, and when I was in the active military.  Interestingly, attitudes on C&C were similar to CAP when I was in the ARNG (and my ARNG unit didn't have this problem either, but it was an issue in our parent unit).

CAP is not going to get worse for a lack of an NCO program, it may not get remarkably better with one either.  It will be different though, and it will cause cultural shifts.  Small things both negative and positive can have large impacts on the way thing are perceived and accomplished.

We're never going to get consensus on this issue.  And that's okay. 

Eclipse

"Improvement" - "a thing that makes something better or is better than something else."

The attempt to shoe-horn an NCO corps into CAP was / is not an "improvement",
it's a recruiting and retention play. In fact in some of the limited collateral
published at the time,  it's literally indicated as such, as if the ability to wear
stripes vs brass was going to generate such an influx of new members with military
service backgrounds that units would not be able to handle the tidal wave.

Saying the "NCOs could be the specialists" indicates a misunderstanding of both their
role and the role of Warrants, and is another "way to try and make this thing we did work".

How is "more saluting" going to fix CAP when a large number of the membership thinks salutes
are based on headgear and NHQ is wishy-washy on the issue at best?

I haven't ever personally seen a disdain for courtesies anywhere I've been posted. When there is,
it's always been a command issue, either by omission or commission.

There's never going to be a consensus on anything in CAP, heck people can't even agree
how the initialism is spoken, but NHQ needs to provide consistency and common sense
in this regard because all they have now is string of "we're going to keep trying to make this
stick no matter how hard reality pushes back..."

And for what it's worth, there already are thousands of current and prior-
service NCOs who are serving, and have served in CAP for decades.



Ned

This dead horse seems almost impossible to actually kill.  Indeed, Flicker could serve as an instructor for our CAP resiliency training.

We have, of course, discussed the role of the CAP NCO - past and future --  at great length here on CAPTalk.

Many times. 

And that's fine, of course.  It just mirrors the lack of consensus on the part of the board members. Everyone, both new posters and "the usual suspects," post sincerely and, on occasion, passionately on the topic.  But even after using the new search function here on the board, I can't find a single post on the topic that comes close to "hmmm, maybe you are right on this.  I've changed my position."


So we can and apparently must continue the conversation, each of us repeating our positions in the forlorn hope that maybe someday, someone will be pursuaded one way or another.  And we will do this until the sun dims and the Earth freezes.

So, for the record allow me to repeat myself as well. 

Curry and Spaatz did not get it wrong when they created CAP with both officer and NCO grades over 75 years ago.  NCOs lead differently than officers, and have done so since the first Roman Centurion berated a new legionary over two millenia ago.  Every single military (and quasi military) organization since Rome has had both officers and NCOs.  Every. single. one.  Including both Star Fleet and the Salvation Army.  There is a reason for that.  And it is a good one.


Just in the Cadet Program tent, I could put 1200 CAP NCOs to work tomorrow by assigning one or two to each cadet and composite unit to serve as Leadership Officers.  Essentially by definition, NCOs have years of experience mentoring and developing junior leaders in a military environment.  And since every single cadet must develop their followership and  leadership skills initially as an airman and cadet NCO, senior member NCOs could and would provide outstanding role models and needed support.

(Of course, we have a terrific CP without significant numbers of CAP NCOs, so I can't claim that CAP NCOs are absolutely crucial.) 

But our CP would be measurably better if we had one or two experienced NCOs at each cadet and composite unit.

If we had a mature CAP senior member enlisted/NCO structure in CP, at the squadron I would expect to see SSgts and TSgts working more or less directly with the troops; directly monitoring training and mentoring the cadet instructors for things like D & C, and acting as instructors.  I would normally expect senior NCOs (MSgt +) to do things like training schedules, coordinate and rehearse instructors, mentor both the junior NCOs and the cadet staff, conduct CP-related professional development for the senior member side, and also serve in additional duties for the unit as a whole (things like unit First Sergeant, Personnel and Admin NCO, etc.).

At the group, wing, and region level I would expect senior NCOs to work as SMEs in CP.  I would probably see them working on CI, SAV, and SUI teams, maintaining associated records and providing administrative support, directly coordinating with their counterparts at lower and higher levels, planning CP activities at their level, producing reports and maintaining electronic data, and mentoring and training NCOs at lower echelons.

At things like encampments, NCOs would provide valuable support on the tactical staff, liaising with host facilities, as well as serving as  logisticians and administrators. 

And at all levels, NCOs - like all SMs - would be eligible for the dreaded "similar and related duties as required." 

(Remember, this is a vision for a mature and self-generating enlisted structure, NOT what we have today.  Today, our NCOs come to us pre-trained in leadership and organizational skills by Uncle Sam and all we have to add are the CAP-specific skills.  This may well change as we tweak the program to allow non-prior service CAP NCOs).






Holding Pattern

How many years should us non-prior service folks plan on waiting before this program opens up to us?

catrulz


kcebnaes

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 29, 2020, 08:15:12 pmHow many years should us non-prior service folks plan on waiting before this program opens up to us?

100%. I'd much rather transfer over to the NCO side, now that my term as a commander is coming to a close.
Sean Beck, Maj, CAP
Great Lakes Region sUAS Officer
Various Other Thingsā„¢

Fester

I 100% agree with Ned.  In fact, when can I expect this NCO or two you are sending to every cadet and composite squadron?  I can't wait!
1stLt, CAP
Squadron CC
Group CPO
Eaker - 1996

Fester

Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 29, 2020, 08:15:12 pmHow many years should us non-prior service folks plan on waiting before this program opens up to us?

Why should it?  The benefits brought to the organization by NCO's is there military experience as NCOs.  If you don't have that prior service, I see no reason why you need to be eligible for NCO grades.
1stLt, CAP
Squadron CC
Group CPO
Eaker - 1996

Mitchell 1969

Quote from: catrulz on January 27, 2020, 03:12:07 pmAs commented in the past, CAP seniors but mainly Cadets, unfortunately never learn the value of the NCO corps.

Don't put this all on the people who haven't learned it. Save some blame for those who never taught it. But I place more blame on those who have never really EXPLAINED it.

Oh, sure, I have heard the usual "NCOs are wonderful because NCOs are wonderful" attempts at explanation. But, in the long run, there is no standard of service that every or any CAP NCO can provide that can't be provided by non-NCO volunteers. Not every NCO is a drill expert, or a leadership instructor or a wise and experienced advisor or a logistics whizz.

Like the rest of the volunteers, they come from wide backgrounds and have a variety of skill areas. In my opinion, the NCO corps wasn't created for CAP, per se, it was created by an NCO for the NCOs.



Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
_________________
Bernard J. Wilson, Major, CAP

Mitchell 1969; Earhart 1971; Eaker 1973. Cadet Flying Encampment, License, 1970. IACE New Zealand 1971; IACE Korea 1973.

CAP has been bery, bery good to me.

Holding Pattern

Quote from: Fester on January 30, 2020, 06:55:32 am
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 29, 2020, 08:15:12 pmHow many years should us non-prior service folks plan on waiting before this program opens up to us?

Why should it?  The benefits brought to the organization by NCO's is there military experience as NCOs.  If you don't have that prior service, I see no reason why you need to be eligible for NCO grades.

If that is the only benefit... but I don't see it as the only one. If NCOs can't train future NCOs from the civilian population then I don't see how it is a sustainable or useful program.

catrulz

Quote from: Mitchell 1969 on January 30, 2020, 07:34:54 am
Quote from: catrulz on January 27, 2020, 03:12:07 pmAs commented in the past, CAP seniors but mainly Cadets, unfortunately never learn the value of the NCO corps.

Don't put this all on the people who haven't learned it. Save some blame for those who never taught it. But I place more blame on those who have never really EXPLAINED it.

I agree and this speaks to my point.  Cadets learn as much from example and mentorship as they do from instruction or their CAP Leadership Lab. Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines do as well.  We look at our NCOs, that supply the DIRECT leadership, that develops us into NCOs and believe it or not competent officers.

A brand new 2LT or Ensign, has much more classroom experience that a Sergeant, but way less practical experience.  Furthermore an officer that was never an NCO (Mustang) cannot truly appreciate the the duties and responsibilities of an NCO.  A new Platoon Leader exercises direct leadership over a span of control of 4 (Platoon Sergeant, 3 x squad leaders).  That platoon leader simultaneously exercises organizational leadership over 30 (the entire platoon).  As an officer moves up, the exercise more organizational and less direct leadership, and if they get high enough move on to strategic leadership. 

NCO's progress similarly but at a slower pace, and generally have more direct leadership involvement.

By the way, in good units like I have explained, NCOship versus Officership is trained.  And you can really see the differences in cadet from opposite units.  NCOs that acted as NCOs also make much better cadet officers.  An SDA or cadet staff position is not as foreign a concept, if you thing in organization leadership terms.

Missouri Wing used to teach a Cadet NCO course.  I don't know if it still does, since I'm no longer active in CP.  This course was championed by officers who were former NCOs.  The positive affects of the course could be seen when the cadets returned to their units.  Higher confidence, new skills, able to speak to a group formally, amazing.  This should be a Nationally encouraged annual cadet program activity that has a national syllabus. 

catrulz

I'm going to take this a step further.  So I'm ready to get flamed by the masses.

I would suggest changing Sr. Mbr progression from:

Sr. Member - SRA after completing Level 1, CPP (Former officers and NCOs appoined under current guidelines).

The Senior Member would then have to choose Officer or Enlisted Track

Officer:

2d Lt  after 1 year as a SRA, Technician Specialty Track Rating, Sr Mbr Officer School (Resident Weekend Course), demonstrates the willingness to an active contributor in squadron activities.

*Since the time in grade requirement is 1.5 years from 2LT to 1LT, make both SLS and CLC a requirement for 1LT, but the SLS course may be completed at anytime after Level is completed.

NCO:

SSGT after 1 year as a SRA, Technician Specialty Track Rating, Sr Mbr NCO School (Resident 2 Weekend Course), demonstrates the willingness to an active contributor in squadron activities.

One of our current problems is we promote people for just showing up.  We don't want to SM Smitty, because he has 2 cadets in the unit, so after 6 months, completing Level I that they many times do not even digest properly, make them an officer.  And then we wonder why all they do is sit in a corner and complain about how their kids are treated unfairly.

vorteks

Quote from: Fester on January 30, 2020, 06:55:32 am
Quote from: Holding Pattern on January 29, 2020, 08:15:12 pmHow many years should us non-prior service folks plan on waiting before this program opens up to us?

Why should it?  The benefits brought to the organization by NCO's is there military experience as NCOs.  If you don't have that prior service, I see no reason why you need to be eligible for NCO grades.

Prior service NCOs can and already do serve in CAP as officers - I guess they can't use their military NCO experience here unless they're wearing stripes??

Eclipse

Quote from: catrulz on January 30, 2020, 01:23:07 pmOne of our current problems is we promote people for just showing up.  We don't want to SM Smitty, because he has 2 cadets in the unit, so after 6 months, completing Level I that they many times do not even digest properly, make them an officer.  And then we wonder why all they do is sit in a corner and complain about how their kids are treated unfairly.

More likely Smitty is the only one willing to be the Unit CC after he's been in CAP for
17.8 minutes.

As discussed 1MM times, >removing< grade instead of making more grades, is the answer.
That actually fixes any number of problems without causing more.



TheSkyHornet

I'm not sure I follow the logic entirely that NCOs need to come from the military population.

They weren't NCOs at one point. They were civilians who enlisted who progressed to become NCOs.

Military officers all have the commonality that they have at least a Bachelor's degree, but beyond that, they come from many different backgrounds of experience. Some were prior enlisted who went the ROTC or OCS route. Some where prior enlisted who went on to become NCOs and then went the ROTC or OCS route. Some were never prior service and went through a commissioning pipeline. And plenty of enlisted service members have degrees and elected not to go the officer route. Lest we forget the Warrant Officers.

I think military personnel have an opportunity to bring a vantage point and perspective into CAP, particularly in regard to the Cadet Program curriculum. But for operational roles, it might not be much different than hiring a prior service candidate for a civilian job. And you'll always have a win-some-lose-some experience----some NCOs are great; not all.

If we have the expectation that we can take a non-prior service person to make them into an officer, then why can't we take a non-prior service person to make them into an NCO?

To Eclipse's point, does that mean we need to open up more ranks or reduce them for simplicity?

vorteks

Quote from: TheSkyHornet on January 30, 2020, 04:29:18 pmIf we have the expectation that we can take a non-prior service person to make them into an officer, then why can't we take a non-prior service person to make them into an NCO?

^ This too. I'm starting to think having military pay grades in CAP is more trouble than it's worth - CAP is not a military organisation nor does it function like one, starting with the fact grade/rank carries no authority at all.

PHall

You know, all military NCO's are not the same. The training and experience of an Army NCO is very different from an Air Force NCO. The difference is the jobs they do.
Army NCOs usually lead/supervise more troops because they're leading an Infantry Squad/Platoon/Company.
Units that have a lot of troops to lead.
Air Force NCOs are technicians who until they become a Senior NCO, rarely Supervise more then a half dozen Airmen and are usually working in an shop or an office. And the last time they had to drill was in Tech School.
NCOs are not a magic touch that will fix everything.

shuman14

Perhaps as someone recommended long ago that the answer to all the "Rank" nonsense is to follow the USCG Auxiliary model and only have appointed Rank for personnel in actual Leadership or Staff positions.

Someone also suggested that Warrant Officer Insignia be used to represent the CAP Senior Development Level completed as the USAF no longer has any active Warrant Officers, this would eliminate the CAP Officer/USAF Officer confusion.

So continue the limited used Flight Officer Ranks, discontinue NCO Grades, discontinue Former Officer appointments and a Senior Member's Level 1 through Level 5 would represented by Warrant Officer One through Chief Warrant Officer Five Insignia.



I would also suggest using the USMC Insignia (above), as it would be completely distinctive from any USAF Insignia and would harken back to the Maroon Epaulets on the old Air Corps "Pinks and Greens" uniform and the Maroon Shoulder Slides (aka Berry Boards) replaced by the current Grey slides.

Any other Rank, Second Lieutenant through Major General, would be an appointed Rank and would only be worn when a Member held a Leadership or Staff position at Squadron, Group, Wing or National level.

Once your time in the position is done, you take off your appointed Rank Insignia and revert back to your Development Level Warrant Officer Grade.
Joseph J. Clune
Lieutenant Colonel, Military Police

USMCR: 1990 - 1992                           USAR: 1993 - 1998, 2000 - 2003, 2005 - Present     CAP (National Patron) 2013 - 2014, SMWOG 2020 - Present
INARNG: 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 2000      Active Army: 2003 - 2005                                       USCGAux: 2004 - Present

arajca

Something like this, perhaps?FO chart.pdf