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Company Command Series Part X: Deployment Readiness

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This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses how to validate your company’s combat readiness and deployability so it is not a surprise when you are called upon to accomplish your mission.

My brigade commander continuously reminded my fellow company commanders and me that, “commanders generate readiness.” He felt so passionate about readiness that he included my capacity to maintain readiness in his senior rater comments in my OER. Readiness really is that important. I believe that equipment and personnel readiness should always be the top priority of a commander (at any level); without sufficient deployability, what are you bringing to the fight?

I believe company commanders can easily establish methods at their level to test and validate their company’s readiness. I can’t think of many things worse than being called to conduct a deployment readiness exercise (DRE) by a higher headquarters (let alone a real world short-notice deployment) where you boast a 95% combat power deployability, but only 60% of your equipment and personnel can leave the motor pool. Commanders generate readiness and it all starts with the company commander. Below are ideas to create a company-level DRE program. Not every DRE requires extensive time and resources; vary your DRE methods up to support your training calendar.  Continue reading → Company Command Series Part X: Deployment Readiness

Company Command Series Part IX: Troop Leading Procedures

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 This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses how to maximize operations and Troop Leading Procedures efficiency in your company.

With the often-overwhelming requirements placed on companies, coupled with continuous time constraints, it is hard to implement the Troop Leading Procedures (TLPs) in their entirety. Throughout my command, I often felt that my company and I should be doing more to maximize TLP effectiveness. This is why it is imperative that commanders and companies codify how to conduct TLPs and expectations throughout. This post introduces some aspects that made TLPs successful in my experience, and a few recommendations based on lessons learned. As with all content in these posts, these serve as options for commanders to consider and implement. I encourage readers to share their experiences and lessons in how to effectively leverage TLPs beyond this. Continue reading → Company Command Series Part IX: Troop Leading Procedures

Company Command Series Part VII: Policy Memos

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 This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses company policy memos and recommendations on how to make them effective.

Policy memos tend to be scary commandments that merely collect dust on some ignored unit board outside the commander’s office. Still, these memos are your standing guidance and often influence your unit’s first impression of you as a new commander.

It’s important to make your policies concise, clear, and effective to aid in a successful command. Don’t create policies simply to create policies; you don’t need 16 memos. If your higher headquarters has an adequate policy memo for a specific topic, leave it; you don’t need to re-create the wheel. Army command policy, installation regulations, and unit SOPs will influence what policies you are required to have. This post is not a regurgitation of those requirements. Rather, I am sharing a couple key policies I recommend and how to approach them. Continue reading → Company Command Series Part VII: Policy Memos

Company Command Series Part VI: Additional Duties

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This blog post is a continuation of the multi-part Company Command Series covering key aspects of my command experience that I feel other commanders (current and future) can benefit from. This post discusses managing additional duties within your company and how to verify they are meeting Department of the Army requirements.

It may seem there are as many required additional duties for your company as you have Soldiers. Without a sufficient system to manage these duties and provide necessary oversight, you may quickly find yourself in trouble with multiple higher headquarters.

At a minimum, your company needs to create and maintain three items for additional duties: duty appointment orders signed by you (the commander), copies of certificates for your appointed Soldiers’ training, and a system to easily track the status of all required duties. I assigned this additional duties management system to my company Training NCO (my gunner). He maintained one binder for the company’s duties and all necessary documentation for each one. Once a month, I personally met with him, First Sergeant, and all platoon sergeants to review additional duties. We forecasted Soldier losses (to PCS, ETS, etc.) and I worked with the platoon sergeants to assign new Soldiers to those duties. My Training NCO left each meeting with a to-do list of new duty-specific training courses to schedule, appointment orders to update, and training certificate copies he needed to obtain. Continue reading → Company Command Series Part VI: Additional Duties

A Leader’s Organization

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Organizing your thoughts, tasks, and goals on a regular basis can be a daunting task in itself. Often, leaders and professionals have no single unifying framework that streamlines their efforts to stay organized and avoid merely treading water at work. During my almost seven years as a military leader, through multiple attempts in revolutionizing my organizational methods, I finally found success in this area: Evernote.

Continue reading → A Leader’s Organization