Old 02-17-2014, 19:35   #1
sustainthefight
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Leadership Development

Gentlemen,

As a QM Officer finishing up my platoon leader time, I have begun to see that the way that I am being molded to lead is quite different in many aspects when compared to my combat arms peers. I am not speaking of leadership traits (morals, values, etc..) but rather, the process that we go through day to day in order to accomplish our missions. (Troop Leading Procedures, Planning Considerations, How we exercise Command and Control, etc..) For example, my platoon has yet to run a platoon level operation. Rather, my PSG and I plan the missions and manage the various sections that go off and accomplish whatever individual tasks are sent down from higher. That is not to say that I have not gotten a vast amount of great leadership experience; I would just categorize it as "different".

With SFAS being a 200m target at this stage, I am looking for as many ways to continue to refine my leadership as possible. I may be splitting hairs here but, should I be concerned with learning the processes laid out in FM 7-8, Ranger Handbook, etc.? Or should I stay the course and continue to refine based on the parameters of my unit and its mission?
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Old 02-18-2014, 16:39   #2
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Recommend you attend and graduate from Ranger School if you haven't done so already.
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Old 02-18-2014, 17:43   #3
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Very difficult for a non-Combat Arms officer to fit into his schedule, and still have time for the SFQC.

TR
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Old 02-18-2014, 21:35   #4
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TR----You're absolutely correct; obtaining a Ranger slot for a non-combat arms officer is a challenge. However, IMHO, any officer---especially one who has not served as an 11-series---who shows up to take command of an ODA without a Ranger tab is at a distinct disadvantage. My understanding is that SWCS reserves Ranger slots in ATRRS for non-tabbed officers once they graduate the SFQC----I wonder if that is still ground truth given the current budget issues.
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Old 02-21-2014, 12:49   #5
sustainthefight
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Quote:
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Recommend you attend and graduate from Ranger School if you haven't done so already.
Sir, I probably got a little too wordy in my question. Ranger School just was not a reality at my Basic Course (No Slots) nor is it a reality in my current Division. I am really looking for any ideas on how to get at that same kind of training; just here on home station. Or alternately, is that kind of training really that applicable in the ambigous SFAS environment?

I am just going to drive on doing what I am doing. If I am afforded the opportunity to attend Ranger School then great! If not, I will just make due with what I can out here
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Old 05-01-2016, 00:17   #6
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Special Forces is not the infantry, although you do need to be an expert in infantry tactics.

My recommendation for those without a combat arms background who wish to join Special Forces:

1. Attend Ranger School if you can

2. Study FM 7-8 and the RHB if you are able, a knowledge base will help prior to your arrival at SFQC

3. Learn as much as you can at SUT. It can suck, but you must do more than just survive. Take the lessons learned and internalize them

4. Learn as much as you can from those on your team that have lived and breathed it. Know your own strengths and weaknesses
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Old 05-01-2016, 10:22   #7
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And Ranger School after SFQC is always a possibility. Hell - everything is possible now. (NTM you'll have a better chance of a first time go after the experience gained in SFQC. That's one hurdle the social experiments haven't achieved yet.)
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Old 07-26-2016, 21:17   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sustainthefight View Post
Gentlemen,

I may be splitting hairs here but, should I be concerned with learning the processes laid out in FM 7-8, Ranger Handbook, etc.? Or should I stay the course and continue to refine based on the parameters of my unit and its mission?

The Ranger Handbook is the base for everything. If you know TLP's and Order Creation, you will have a good understanding of deliberate planning, you also need to fully understand it at a tactical level so that you can brief your plan in a logical order to Senior officers two level's higher than you.
(this is key to success. what use is a great plan if you don't get it approved)

FYI: The Detachment mission planning guide is your GO TO in the 18A Course but the Ranger Handbook is always used for a reference during Direct Action (DA) planning.
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Old 07-27-2016, 11:45   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7624U View Post
The Ranger Handbook is the base for everything. If you know TLP's and Order Creation, you will have a good understanding of deliberate planning, you also need to fully understand it at a tactical level so that you can brief your plan in a logical order to Senior officers two level's higher than you.
(this is key to success. what use is a great plan if you don't get it approved)

FYI: The Detachment mission planning guide is your GO TO in the 18A Course but the Ranger Handbook is always used for a reference during Direct Action (DA) planning.
I can sure as hell second that. I've seen Warfighters where Brigade and Battalion staffs, bogged down in MDMP and late getting out meaningful FRAGOs / OPORDS...if someone would have whipped out a Ranger Handbook and passed it around...everyone would have slapped their collective foreheads and got the important shit out to subordinate elements faster and more effectively and not forgot stuff.
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Old 08-25-2018, 09:51   #10
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From a current (JUN 2016 - JUN 2019) 18A Cadre

Team,
I am a current 18A cadre in A/1-1 SWTG(A) (the only entry-level SFQC MOS committee that is not in 4th Bn, 1st SWTG(A)). I arrived at the 18A MOS course after ~2.5 yrs as a Tm Sgt from ODA 0324 (084 for us pre-4th Bn team guys), and here is a snap-shot of what I've learned after my current two years of experience training company-grade officers (a few 1LTs once in a while) to be successful 18As:

We are governed by a myriad of regulations and requirements to instruct and evaluate a number of 18A Critical Tasks, (18, to be exact--thank you GWOT). But as my fellow cadre and I analyzed the list, we arrived at four basic and achievable actions for our day-1 18As. They are complementary to each other, and the following list is not intended to imply any sort of precedence between the observables:

1) Demonstrate Army Values-based, ethical leadership
2) Communicate effectively via face-to-face engagement or operational reporting
3) Plan deliberately using either MDMP or TLPs dependent on METT-TC
4) Manage resources and mitigate risks

I would like to add to the discussion that although a combat-arms background may provide young officers with an advantage regarding leadership of subordinates in high-risk/high-stress environments, there are some things that combat support and combat service & support CMFs also provide an advantage towards. For example, during our FID and UW FTXs for our 18A students, there may be a situation with a partner nation force that requires some creative solution on how to acquire logistics (class-I, -V, -VIII, -IX) that might take a former 11A a little bit longer to think through while a former officer from one of those backgrounds could present a more creative and sustainable solution based on previous experience. But when a partner force needs to kinetically affect a complicated objective, well, let's just say that there's nothing like a good, old-fashioned FM 3-21.8 (formerly FM 7-8 for the gray-beards in the group) raid.

I believe that the majority of the students' learning takes place as they critique and discuss with each other rather than have me stand before them and lecture for hours on end. We facilitate discussion and provide other perspectives based on our experience. We will take tactical pauses in training throughout the entire 16 weeks we have them to ensure that they are provided with immediate and relevant feedback so they can either continue to march or reset their approach if they chose to engage from a less-than-ideal position. This is normally observed in their KLEs with FID or UW counterparts during the FTXs, or during their classroom planning exercises. The intent is to ensure that they not only recognize what they did wrong, but why it was and how they could go about correcting it.

I've heard the term "failure-based learning" thrown around, but I don't think other instructors that use that term fully understand all the implied tasks required to optimize that model. Undoubtedly, most of us--past, present, and future Green Berets--learn the hardest of lessons in training through making mistakes. But the last experience that teachers, coaches, and mentors should impart on their charges is how to do something rather than how not to do something. Otherwise, we run the risk of deploying SFOD-As into the operational environments without a single reference point or guide while expecting them to "make it happen."

This has been the mentality for quite some time. Hell, this is how I was raised in SF (graduated as an E5 18E in APR 2006). But I believe the current fight necessitates a change in tactics. The next Green Berets must be prepared for their future...not our past.

DOL,
JJA
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Old 08-31-2018, 22:19   #11
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jjaflague - Great advice and insight. Although the 18A course was not the most ... enjoyable SOF course Ive been to, it was by far the most valuable in terms of my professional development. Thanks for what you do there.
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