Here’s a topic that came up today at the IPO: When their deployments are over, how do Garrison S7s keep their skill set relevant and maintain proficiency? What are your thoughts?
Food for thought. As the Army downsizes, MTOE changes will provide new challenges for the S-7. I have been informed that an attentive MTOE will change over the next two years and may be accelerated based on directive from command team. The pending MTOE change will potentially move BN FSOs back to the organic artillery battalion. These soldiers are most often your battalion level IIA / IO representatives and their departure decreases the size of an already small staff at battalion. It is a difficult task to get battalions to designate a guy to be trained and then also come to IIAWG, especially when a deployment is not pending. So what is changing for the S-7, given the current operational environment? How best could the S-7 serve the peace time Army? Does he have the skill set?
MAJ Matthew J. Sheiffer
Student, ILE 12-003, Redstone Arsenal
Telling the Army Story
Unsurprisingly, the majority of the blog entries so far on G/S-7 relevancy in garrison have focused on training and readiness. These are, of course, critical responsibilities that no IO professional can ignore. Yet, I would argue that the Army’s adoption of the Inform and Influence Activity model has opened a new way for the G/S-7 to leverage garrison community relations activities to achieve greater proficiency in our mandate to integrate information-related capabilities into operations. In the past, the responsibility for community relations has fallen solely on the Public Affairs (PAO) staff, with the USAG PAO often taking the lead due to deployment requirements. The G/S-7 had neither the time nor the mandate to get involved. Most Mission Support Elements (MSE) have no civilian equivalent for the G7, and without an operational-level headquarters consistently engaged in garrison operations, the USAG PAO had to take the lead. However, as the frequency of deployments slows down and as operational-level headquarters become more consistently engaged in garrison operations, there is no reason why the G/S-7 cannot take a larger role in the synchronization and integration of Inform Activities using processes and procedures honed by lessons learned over more than 10 years of persistent conflict.
Over the last eight months, the 10th Mtn Div (LI) developed a communication and outreach program that has leveraged the larger expertise of the Division Command and Staff to accomplish HQDA communication objectives to Tell the Army Story. This program provides an example of how an organization-level headquarters can structure garrison community relations programs to develop processes and procedures that train and reinforce essential mission command tasks for the headquarters.
There are four major components to the 10th Mtn Div (LI) command and outreach program. The first component is the direction and guidance that lays out the program. This direction and guidance was developed through completion of a deliberate Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) that enabled all community relations stakeholders to formally analyze the information environment and develop realistic plans for engaging with audiences around Fort Drum. This process included the development of key guidance necessary for Commanders to exercise the art of command such as the Commander’s Intent and Concept of the Operation. The process also developed key guidance necessary for implementation of the science of control of communication activities such as objectives, audiences, measures of performance and effectiveness, partnering relationships, and a narrative (themes & messages).
The second component of the program was the establishment of processes and procedures that provided mechanisms for recurring interaction between all of the information-related capabilities in the command. This included development of a battle rhythm and process flow that created working groups to facilitate both subordinate-unit feedback and decision boards to allow regular command guidance. One of the most important elements of this component of the program was the designation of staff responsibilities for communication and outreach. It was attention to this step that enabled the division to organize for communication and outreach based on lessons learned from how the organization operated during operational missions. This was key to maximizing the training value of garrison communication and outreach activities.
For example, the Division FECC was the proponent for communication and outreach and was responsible for identifying and tracking outreach opportunities. The Division PAO retained their responsibility for public affairs and community relations. They received requests to support community events from internal and external sources and were the proponent for staffing validated requests. The G7 was responsible for the integration of communication and outreach activities into plans and operations. The G7 ensured activities were reflected on G3 calendars and provided FA30 Planners to support each planning horizon to assist the G3 in planning activities. The G7 also advised the G3 on the integration of information-related capabilities to support outreach activities as well as facilitated the working group and decision board. The G7 led communication and outreach mission analysis and course of action development for outreach activities. The G7 also assisted the SGS with scheduling outreach activities involving the division command group. The G3 was the responsible for integrating and synchronizing operations as a whole for the commander. The G3 ensured outreach activities were integrated and synchronized with Division operations across the planning horizons in current operations, future operations, and plans integrating cells. The G3 also authenticated all plans and orders for the commander to ensure outreach activities were synchronized in time, space, and purpose in accordance with the commander’s intent and planning guidance.
The third component of the program was the establishment of areas of responsibility for subordinate unit outreach. This component of the program aligned resources against the audiences and objectives identified during MDMP. This included identification of geographic orientations for each unit, as well as alignment of units against audiences identified during MDMP. The fourth component of the program was the establishment of procedures for the submission and approval of communication and outreach activities. The challenge here was increasing situational awareness at the division-level of the large number of decentralized communication and outreach activities taking place at the Battalion-level and below. It also included development of approval processes for aviation and non-aviation requests for support to ensure the unit was complying with the requirements of AR 360-1 and the Joint Ethics Regulation. The approval process met the requirements for formal review of activities by the PAO and SJA prior to execution while continuing to allow decentralized mission execution. Development of these procedures also enabled the division to engage with the issue of what to delegate to BDE-level and how to balance the requirement for centralized tracking and approval process with decentralized execution. The process included feedback mechanisms and mechanisms for adjacent unit coordination to help to measure the effect of communication and outreach activities.
In conclusion, using garrison community relations as an opportunity to create the systems and processes that are used on operational missions offers a means for vastly increasing the relevance of the G/S-7 in garrison while building the policies and procedures that the unit will use on future operational missions. Bringing all information-related capabilities together to execute community relations is a building block for the future. Getting the G3 and the G7 involved in community relations in garrison helps the unit to build the systems that the unit will use to ensure these activities are integrated into the operations process during operational missions.
If anyone would like additional information (MDMP products, OPORD and ANNEX, etc), please feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let me start by saying greetings to my fellow FA30s who have initiated this blog! It is a topic of particular interest to myself and I am encouraged to see that others are discovering the relevancy of IIA Garrison. Hopefully, others will chime in on this as we go along.
I would like to begin by throwing out some key words from FM 6-22, Chapter 11.
Provide Clear Intent
Leverage Negotiating Skills
Traditional Chain of Command
“If you are the leader, your people expect you to create their future. They look into your eyes, and they expect to see strength and vision. To be successful, you must INSPIRE and MOTIVATE those who are following you. When they look into your eyes, they must see that you are with them.”
A Quote in FM 6-22, October 2006
General Gordon R. Sullivan
Hope is Not a Method (1996)
Ok, so if you are still with me let’s talk. As this is a blog, I am keeping this rather informal and encouraging a tone of discussion. That said, reading the key words/phrases above I have to admit, I stand confused about the confusion of garrison IIA. Do I not work directly for the commander? Is it not a role (notice the singularity of ‘a’ implying there are, in fact, other roles) of the ’7′ to support command initiatives and promote his/her priorities? Without understanding this (and incidentally passionately believing) it is impossible for the Information Operations professional to answer that dreaded question…”What does the S7 do in garrison? Are you like the PAO?”
When asked that question my reply was simple. “I support the initiatives, priorities, and objectives of the commander through the use of information and influence activities.” The only way to really understand this is to comprehend the role of a leader as presented (in one instance) in FM 6-22 and other pertinent doctrine. You see, the Army has defined our garrison responsibilities quite well…if you know where to look that is. Our doctrine (3-13 and others) fails to really address our role in a garrison environment but I don’t believe it should have to. Understanding our responsibility to our commanders is vital. HOWEVER (required all caps on that one), commanders need to understand what we, as inform and influence activities professionals, bring to the fight.
Here’s one such example (no one steal this, I am in deep on a draft article which goes into further detail). Sitting with my SBCT Commander, we identified a complex (or wicked) problem our brigade faced that needed to be addressed. Without putting out all of our still wet, dirty laundry these challenges evolved around those same issues that Big Army is facing every day. Suicides, Drugs, Drinking, and Domestic Violence are running rampant throughout the force. We determined that we needed an information initiative that “informed the formation in order that they may make better decisions.” The critical point of inject….well that had to be at the decision point where thought (or lack thereof) turns into action. With no further guidance I stepped off and began a trip down town.
The first thing to do? Know thy audience…. Integrating with the Chaplain, the PMO, the S1, and the FRSA Representative we began a demographic study that delved deeply into the statistical weeds. We considered every angle of approach and split the demographic in a multitude of ways. This literally handed to us the target audience. Ok, yes, I used the word “target” when referring to my own. The MISO guys have got to be cringing at this point! Good news…I’m not a MISO guy! I’m an IIA Professional who works for a commander whose responsibility includes ” exerting direct influence through their chain of command and staff and extending that influence beyond their chain of command and organization by other means (FM 6-22, pg 11-2, para 11-7).”
Once the audience was defined I expanded the working group. The intent was to integrate those that are already addressing the problems we identified. This expansion included the S3, S2 (security clearances), JAG, the PAO, Recruiter (admin), ASAP, ASIST, MFLC, Family Advocacy, Social Worker, MEDO, County and State Police, the local Prosecutors office. To get this multitude of agencies involved key leader engagements were required. I was invited to speak at a No DUI conference which provided a STRATCOM opportunity. At this conference I garnered support for our initiative. I eliminated parallel efforts and bound them together for a effective, holistic approach.
Without going too deeply in the weeds on this (you’ll have to wait for the article) the result was a measurable decline in DUIs (35%), historical data tracking incidents related to our brigade, and a platform for launching a much more involved information initiative. The information tools used…facebook, an incentive policy, a DUI tracking board, a brigade wide DUI Stand Down featuring testimony from a family who volunteered to tell their story, news articles (both print and televised), and more avenues of approach are in the works (I am now at ILE and unable to influence further development).
In garrison, the IIA Professional is the key integrator of Army initiatives that focus on command priorities. As we begin evolving from a deployed force to a mostly garrison and training environment the IIA professional is no less engaged than if he or she were managing a campaign down range. Our responsibilities lie in support of the command. If there is a disabler which prevents my commander from being able to do his or her job, I as an IIA professional need to examine that and identify a COA that shapes the problem into an information enabler. The entire community needs to realize that IIA garrison functions to support the command obligation to “use persuasion to build teams and consensus (FM 6-22, pg 11-4, para 11-22).”
Thanks for taking the time to read this. I hope it, in some way, helps. As this is a blog and not a spot for dissertation, I’ve left out a ton of relevant discussion. I will let you know when the article gets published!
MAJ James Pradke
The fight for recognized relevancy is one that my shop has been involved with for years. We are assigned to US Army North (USARNORTH), the Army Service Component Command to USNORTHCOM. Since our theater is the US (lower 48), Canada, and Mexico, we are constantly combating the perception that “You can’t do IO in the homeland.”
My predecessor made some good headway in this battle and we’ve currently gotten a new CG who is much more interested in messaging to the world. It’s refreshing, actually. Much of our community outreach/community relations work has been habitually handled by our PAO shop, but we’ve recently stood up a Strategic Communication Working Group to expand on our previous activities.
One of his tenets of operations is that every interaction presents an opportunity, so we are still working feverishly on our themes and messages to share. Within the San Antonio area, we are known…mostly because of being HQ’d in the second most historic building in the city. Outside of the SATX area, we are only marginally known within disaster relief circles.
Our primary communication mission, as we see it, is to build and market our brand throughout the DoD and OGAs. Other IO related work that we’ve been able to involve ourselves in is assisting in the development of MOEs for exercise assessments – the formula works, regardless of the effect. I also serve as the Command OPSEC Program Manager, which is a double-edged sword. While it provides IO related missions and training, it is also a dangerous pigeon-hole to be put into.
I guess the bottom line is this – if we keep getting creative and can garner at least passive support, then we can continue winning the struggle for relevance. Just a few random thoughts on the subject.
In the Qual course we all pondered this question prior to graduation but putting theory into application is another animal altogether. I have recently assumed a BDE S7 position in a garrison environment and struggle daily looking for that opening that would create a project of value or provide an opportunity to integrate. What I’ done so far:
- My first 2-3 weeks I attended every synch meeting possible to allow others to know who I was and to establish my battle-rhythm. The new guy in meeting always gets asked “who are you” or has a warm introduction (if you meet the synch-owner ahead of time). This was my time to observe and soak in the activities and let people know I existed.
- In my 3rd week I visited the higher 7 shop and introduced myself and asked the very question were discussing “how can I assist you in garrison”. It didn’t get a direct answer but it did put me on a distro list for information one level up as well as establish names and POC’s for the future. The higher 7 shop also provided me with the list of the next 6 months of IO related training / schools available across the Army. Once I establish a rhythm, my plan is to attend more formal training.
- One project I rapidly assumed control over was becoming the integrator of the adopt a school and adopt a business program for the BDE. BN’s send representatives into the community to perform community projects for local schools or businesses. I am the integrator not the face of the project. The BN’s control who they send out and what projects they perform. I ensure they do community relations on a regular basis and that the results of this community interaction are documented through PAO and that the commander is informed of project(s) success or shortcomings.
- The next project I assumed was actually given to me in conjunction with the PAO. At first I thought it was a “hey you” type of project, but found its value as we worked it. Tracking the BDE CDR’s and CSM’s (INCLUDING PHOTOS) from the units inception. Our commander has an intense pride in our unit and wants the soldiers to have that pride also. The theme being “Unit Pride” is facilitated through knowledge of unit history. This project was not an easy undertaking as gaps were found in the post muesum data and in other historical reference locations (outside post). By our section doing the digging (national archives St Louis & DC) we are providing the answers to the post museum and information portals such as the post website, wikipedia, and global security.org.. Through this we have informed our soldiers of their history and expanded this information to a wider internet audience.
- A future project I intend to perform is a train the trainer program in conjunction with the PAO and OPSEC Manager. The training will consist of informing about “Social Media”. Most units have a unit facebook site or use twitter on a daily basis. Soldiers should be informed as to the do’s and dont’s associated with this powerful form of media as well as raise awareness and use of unit sites (great FRG enhancer). I intend to coordinate with Juanita Chang at the pentagon who gave this class at the qual course in October 2012 (wont reinvent the wheel / plan on building from their material).
For now that is keeping me very busy and I look forward to other suggestions other may have!
Maintaining our skill set in Garrison and proficiency will become more important, considering DWELL time changes due to less deployment rotations in th enear future. In my opinion, we normally prepare for 12 mo deployments and come back for either TDY for further development training or PCS and arrive to a unit who is about to go on a deployment. From my own experiences, when I redeployed from Iraq in 2010 we spent time with the planners and talked about future exercises in the horizon and how we were able to integrate ourselves and within other staff member like PAO, G9 etc.. This was at the Corps level at JBLM. In my opinion, maintaining skill set at the BDE level can be difficult. During my time at Corps, I had a chance to talk to most of the SBCT S7’s, and what they were seeking for us at Corps was what was our planning efforts, campaign plan and themes and messages so they could plan accordingly into their exercises.
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