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RiverAux
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« on: December 02, 2009, 02:39:26 AM »

As I received very little support for my proposal requiring command experience for advancement to Level III, lets take another stab at trying to ensure that people demonstrate some significant leadership ability before being promoted to the upper levels of CAP. 

Anyone that takes the time to glance through all the CAPPs for the various senior member specialty tracks will probably quickly come to the conclusion that not all tracks are created equal in that the requirements for some are almost non-existent while others have extremely low standards in order to meet the threshold to achieve the rating.  Despite these inequalities, all are treated the same when promotion time comes around.  Achieving the tech rating in the easiest specialty is treated exactly the same as some of the more demanding specialties.  This makes it possible for people to really coast up the CAP rank system if they so choose. 

Now, every now and again we have talked on this board about the need to update the specialty track pamphlets and to standardize them to some extent so that a tech in one track has about the same level of knowledge and ability in their field as a tech in another track does in their's.  That should be done, but it isn't really what I am suggesting, which I'm sure many will view as radical and unfair. 

Now, I will first divide the specialty tracks into "simple" and "complex" categories.  This will be based on my own subjective views on what a person in the equivalent staff position for that specialty is tasked with doing as well as the specific requirements to move up in that track.  I'm sure some will disagree with where I put one specialty or another (I'm a little iffy on a few of them myself), but that is really going to be a side issue so lets not focus on that. 

"Simple Tracks"  A "simple" specialty is one where the staff officer is primarily tasked with paperwork tasks where very little personal initiative or innovation is expected or required.  Such positions will generally be those that provide support so that our primary tasks can be carried out.  Rarely will such officers head up a team or need to demonstrate much leadership ability to successfully complete their duties. 
  • Professional Development
  • Chaplain
  • Administration
  • Personnel
  • Finance
  • Historian
  • Information Technology
  • Flight Operations
  • Stan/Eval
  • Logistics
  • Moral Leadership
  • DDR
  • Communications
  • Safety
  • Recruiting & Retention
"Complex Tracks":  A complex track is one that focuses on one of CAP's primary missions; requires that persons working in that track display a significant amount of innovation, personal initiative, and leadership, for example by developing and carrying out events or activities or developing original materials for use in CAP programs; or require extensive knowledge of a very broad range of knowledge about CAP.
  • Aerospace Education
  • Emergency Services
  • Cadet Programs
  • Public Affairs
  • Operations
  • Inspector General
  • Plans and Programs
  • Organizational Excellence
My proposal:  For completion of Level IV (and promotion to Lt. Col.) the member must earn a Master rating in one of the complex specialty tracks. 

Honestly, I think it would be better to make this a requirement for Level III (with a senior rating), but given the unfounded (I think) beliefs expressed in the other thread, I suspect the same folks would say that there would be too great a chance of there being logjams where there wouldn't be open positions or assistant positions in these tracks so people wouldn't get a chance to earn the rating, so I pre-compromised and set it at Level IV and Lt. Col. 

This also attempt to answer those that said that some people will make great staff officers but not great commanders.  Under this proposal, a great staff officer will still have their chance to shine, but they will have to shine pretty brightly in one of the more difficult specialties to make it all the way to the top. 

Yes, this will be seen as unfair to those in the simple specialties, but the converse argument is that it is unfair now that they can get promoted for doing easier jobs than those in the complex specialties.  I believe this proposal will balance things out a bit. 

Keep in mind that CAP members are not restricted to working on just one track at a time, so just because you start in one of the simple tracks doesn't mean you can't work in one of the more complex ones later.  Heck, given the relatively short internship times for many of these tracks, you would probably have time to master a couple before you had the time-in-grade to get to Lt. Col. anyway. 
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NC Hokie
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2009, 03:01:01 AM »

Here's a simplified version of RiverAux's proposal...

CAP has three missions (Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services), so why not require a master rating in one of those to complete Level IV?  IMHO, it's very reasonable to expect high-ranking members of CAP to be experts in one (or more) of our three missions.
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NC Hokie, Lt Col, CAP

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Nick
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2009, 03:37:49 AM »

CAP has three missions (Aerospace Education, Cadet Programs, and Emergency Services), so why not require a master rating in one of those to complete Level IV?  IMHO, it's very reasonable to expect high-ranking members of CAP to be experts in one (or more) of our three missions.
100% concur.  Those three specialty tracks (mission areas) are the operational functions of CAP.  Everything else is a support function.  I would expect that someone who is a career... say communications guy for example, would be willing to accept that in order to be a measurable benefit to the program at a strategic (read: Level IV & V) level, they must be able to make a direct contribution a core mission of the program.
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Nicholas McLarty, Lt Col, CAP
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2009, 03:52:17 AM »

River I concur with your proposal, to a point. Some of the Specialty Tracks that are listed as simple are the farthest thing from it in some squadrons. NCWG has instituted specialty track SQTR's for all of the specialty tracks, and requires mentors to be assigned. Your idea is a huge step in the right direction.
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Joseph Myers Maj. CAP
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RiverAux
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2009, 05:08:43 AM »

Keep in mind that when I was categorizing the specialties I was also taking into account the duties of the relevant staff officer.  So, even if we "toughened" up some of the specific requirements to achieve a particular rating in the PD track, I still think the actual duties of the different positions have some radical differences. 

And I do realize that even with that said, you can get some real go-getters every now and again who might take a relatively simple job like squadron historian which for most people consists of writing an annual squadron history (which most don't do) and go absolutely crazy on it by writing a 200 page squadron history from its founding to the current day, digitizing 60 years of squadron photographs, setting up a display in a local museum, conducting 3 dozen oral history interviews, etc, etc.  Unfortunately, those folks are so outside the norm for that sort of position, that they can't really figure into the overall scheme. We've got medals to give to those outliers. 

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arajca
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2009, 05:25:24 AM »

I can argue that at the unit level, most of your "complex" tracks are simple. Likewise, at higher levels, many of your "simple" tracks are quite complex and time consuming, just to do the job, let alone excel at it. Ask any of your wing comm folks how "simple" their job has been ove the past couple of years.

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Dracosbane
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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2009, 05:30:18 AM »

Without actually drinking the safety kool-aid, as someone serving as a safety officer and doing what I can in my safety specialty track, I'd have to say that safety is probably one of the complex ones and not a simple one.  Both it and comm are sub-sections of ES, and while safety has a lot of b.s. attached to it, it's a pretty important function in certain areas.

Granted, this is also compared to the admin and personnel tracks I'm in too.  I guess I agree, partially, that having training in several tracks is a good idea, and instead of having one track to promote to Maj. or Lt. Col, if you had training in several, perhaps including at least a tech or senior in one "complex" along with whatever in the "simple" list.

It could possibly get really confusing that way, but when you look at the specialty track info, it says that you should be enrolled in a specialty track that matches your job in your unit, as needed and recommended by your unit commander.  I'm probably not going to serve in several of the "complex" jobs in your list, due to current staff assignments  (I'll defer to the experience of the other staff at my unit, it's worth it).  I'll probably look into getting ratings in other tracks that I'm not staffing right now, but that will probably wait until I at least get what I'm going for now done.

However, by the time I get anywhere near Maj. or Lt. Col, I'd could easily get master in more than one area.   I've got 5 years to Maj. and 9 to Lt. Col.  I think I can accomplish that.
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High Speed Low Drag
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« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2009, 07:07:34 AM »

With some tweaking, I concur with RiverAux.  (Of course my three specialty tracks are Cadet Programs (tech rated), Public Affairs, & ES) 
 
RiverAux - I am impressed.  And here I had thought you were only a pessimist about everything. :D
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« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2009, 10:21:37 AM »

Non-concur with chaplains.  Chaplains are only chaplains and need to stay that way.  In the RM, they're "parenthetical" officers example: Chaplain (Major) and are given no authority.  As an ecclesiastical organization, there's no need for them to gather any expertise in anything except the chaplaincy.  Yes, they need good familiarity with the other specialties, but that's why they're attending PD courses.

BTW, I agree with the rest of it. 
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DogCollar
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« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2009, 11:28:30 AM »

I must have awoke on the wrong side of the bed this morning because I find this thread to be, well...ridiculous.  Why don't you go ahead and name the divided specialty track catagories "irrelavent" and "super important?"

It seems to me that you are saying, "Those in the simple specialty tracks....we are delighted to have your dues and your warm bodies on our roles, but please stay out of the way when we important members do important work!"

This attitude is exactly why the positions, represented here by"simple" specialty tracks, are often the most difficult to fill.  Just remember, what doesn't get done by the "peon" positions is done by the unit commander.
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Ch. Maj. Bill Boldin, CAP
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« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2009, 01:02:42 PM »

I can argue that at the unit level, most of your "complex" tracks are simple. Likewise, at higher levels, many of your "simple" tracks are quite complex and time consuming, just to do the job, let alone excel at it. Ask any of your wing comm folks how "simple" their job has been ove the past couple of years.
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MovingOnToOtherThings
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« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2009, 01:31:21 PM »

I think alot of this is going to have to do with the individual. If your strengths are in one area than it is going to be easier to progress. The specialty tracks are guidelines for progression. Each one also has a different purpose. I see the complexity of each track as individual based. Those listed as simple seem to be the ones that do not require alot of "individual human interaction" with a few exceptions. The other have more to do with working with large groups of people in various situations.

This makes me think of the Organizational Excellence Speciatly track. I feel that any CAP member who wants to be in a command position should have experience in all three areas of CAP missions.
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Nolan Teel
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« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2009, 02:06:43 PM »

I like this.  I think CAP does a bad job with Specialty Tracks.   I see to many members work on specialty tracks cause its required for the Levels.  After they Level, they stop working on them and move from job to job.
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lordmonar
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« Reply #13 on: December 02, 2009, 04:47:21 PM »

This is another one of those solutions looking for a problem.

What is the problem you are trying to fix?
Quote
....ensure that people demonstrate some significant leadership ability before being promoted to the upper levels of CAP.

You don't teach leadership at tech school.  Specialty tracks are there to teach specific skills related to completing CAP's missions.

ECI-13/SLS/CLC/RSL/NSC are SUPPOSED to be there to help develop leadership ability.

Dorking with specialty tracks and promotions is not the way to go.  We need to teach our squadron/group/wing commanders on how to evaluate individuals and mentor them to develop their leadership potential.  We need to hold the promotion authorties accountable when they promote some slacker just because he has filled in all the squares.

Your proposal will only mean that there "good" jobs and "bad" jobs.....and that is not the way to go.

Another hole in your thinking is that by requiring "good" Specialty Tracks to get higher promotions will somehow mean we will get good officers.  Well if a commander is willing to pencil whip a promotion 2a.....what makes you think he would blink twice about pencil whipping a Master Specialty Track?

There is nothing really all that hard in any of the big three AE/ES/CP.  Being a master in them does not necessarily mean that you have any leadership ability.

So....again IMHO you are presenting a solution that does not really address the root cause of the overall problem.

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PATRICK M. HARRIS, SMSgt, CAP
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« Reply #14 on: December 02, 2009, 05:02:30 PM »

Ever been an ITO at the Wing Level? My wife would beg to differ on the "Simple" and I have just gotten started...

So those in "Simple Tracks" are second class members and do not deserve consideration for PD advancement?  >:D

I think you discount the importance of "support" functions to the success of CAP missions in your proposal.

The only way a good commander can lead is to have excellent "simple track" seniors behind them.

Non Concur
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     Jason R. Hess, Lt Col, CAP
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Chaplaindon
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« Reply #15 on: December 02, 2009, 05:03:25 PM »

As a now-retired CAP chaplain (who prior to becoming a "'parenthetical' officer'" and "primarily tasked with paperwork tasks where very little personal initiative or innovation is expected or required" served a Deputy Commander for Cadets, Deputy Commander for Seniors, Squadron Commander of 2 squadrons, and Wing DOS, IC, GTM1, GTL, and who held 4 master ratings and the GRW) I must echo Chaplain Boldin's ridicule of RiverAux's proposal and his, however intentional or not, denigration of the chaplaincy.

And, contrary to GunnerC's "RM" reference, CAP ... for the "umpteenth" time ISN'T THE REAL MILITARY. If it were, most of our pilots wouldn't be eligible to fly (for most aren't UPT grad's nor possess civilian-equivilent commercial certificates), all of CAP's NON-"parenthetical" officers couldn't lead or command for they haven't ALL received an actual commission, and a number of CAP's missions would evaporate because if CAP WAS the RM, posse commitatus would prevent us from doing them.

While it is true that both in CAP and the RM, chaplains may not serve in command roles, they DO serve in leadership roles in both. Perhaps --somewhere in CAP and/or the RM-- chaplains primarily push paper and do a job not requiring "personal initiative or innovation," but I don't see that in the chaplains I've met, I've led as a Deputy Region Chaplain, and taught at Chaplain Service Staff Colleges.

While it is inconsistent with the RM, as are CAP's uniforms, height and weight standards, civilian non-combat roles, etc. so too CAP chaplains are not constrained to JUST a chaplain's role (albeit that alone, if done effectively and with proper initiative is a BIG job).

Chaplains are GTM's, GTL's, IC's, SAR/DR mission pilots, radio operators, aerospace educationinstructors, and so forth. Chaplains provide many vital services to CAP, not just paperwork. Similarly, too, do Professional Development, Administration, Personnel, Finance, Historians, Information Technology, Flight Operations, Stan/Eval, Logistics, Moral Leadership, DDR, Communications, Safety, Recruiting & Retention officers. All do vital, respectable, missions for our Nation through CAP.

A CAP chaplain's grade, likewise, is no more "parenthetical" --when compared with the RM-- than any other CAP officer's. CAP officer grade ISN'T RM grade.

Also, don't forget that chaplains are also professional clergypersons. I can tell you unequivocally that as a full-time clergyperson myself, it requires far more than good handwriting.

I suggest that we work to build a cohesive team in CAP and cease and desist from needless membership baiting. We are all CAP, whether active or retired. We all serve or have served. Everyone's service is needed and normatively appreciated.

If anyone thinks him/herself to be better than another, or more valuable to CAP or our Nation than another, perhaps it's time for you to innovate, go have a chat with your chaplain.
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Rev. Don Brown, Ch., Lt Col, CAP (Ret.)
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« Reply #16 on: December 02, 2009, 08:11:45 PM »

Without actually drinking the safety kool-aid, as someone serving as a safety officer and doing what I can in my safety specialty track, I'd have to say that safety is probably one of the complex ones and not a simple one. 

I might agree if I ever saw a safety officer who did more than read NSTB initial accident reports or the Sentinal at the meetings.  It would also help if the accident reports being read actually discussed the causes of the accidents and we got advice on how to avoid that type of accident.    ;)
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Wilson #2640
RiverAux
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« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2009, 10:11:03 PM »

Quote
You don't teach leadership at tech school.  Specialty tracks are thereto teach specific skills related to completing CAP's missions.
You're absolutely right about that.  However, in order to progress in the specialty track you have to spend a certain amount of time in an applicable staff position.  In order to be really successful in those positions designated as "complex" you have to demonstrate leadership or at least advanced organizational abilities.  So, its not about teaching leadership, but about showing it. 

I freely admit that this proposal is dependent on the commanders to not pencil whip people through the internships required by the specialty tracks.  If some guys signs on as Assistant ES officer and doesn't do a darn thing in their internship, they shouldn't be receiving credit for that time. 
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Short Field
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« Reply #18 on: December 02, 2009, 10:34:34 PM »

In order to be really successful in those positions designated as "complex" you have to demonstrate leadership or at least advanced organizational abilities.  So, its not about teaching leadership, but about showing it. 

I freely admit that this proposal is dependent on the commanders to not pencil whip people through the internships required by the specialty tracks.  If some guys signs on as Assistant ES officer and doesn't do a darn thing in their internship, they shouldn't be receiving credit for that time.

Several of the non-complex specialty tracks require a fair degree of organziational skills - more so than serveral of your "complex" tracks.  If you want to progress to Master in ES, you need to spend THREE years on wing staff.  Very few of our wing ops offiers (what the wing ESO really is) do anything except "monitor" things.  No planning, no execution, nothing.   The most they do is look for someone else to volunteer to do a SAREX.   But they are accruing time....  Our squadron admin officer shows more leadership in a week than these guys do in a year.
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Wilson #2640
RiverAux
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« Reply #19 on: December 02, 2009, 11:26:43 PM »

Its not my proposal's fault that your Wing ES officer isn't really doing their job (refer to capm 20-1). 
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