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June 2018 Command Trajectory

July 8, 2018

We all use processes in our work for CAP.  Moving up from the processes we use day-to-day, we find several topics of national interest that impact the organizations.  Major General Smith has a series of cross-functional teams (CFT) and working groups addressing issues. The teams and groups are looking at several things that will make a better CAP. Some groups were led by staff and some by volunteers. All the teams include a mix of volunteers and employees—remember, we are one team!  Mr. John Desmarais has been leading teams that are addressing aircrew professionalism, making WMIRS data entry more efficient via the Glider Program CFT, and how to use funding to increase youth flying with the Youth Aviation Initiative CFT.  Col David Plum, NCR Chief of Staff served on this team, which looked at four areas of emphasis:  cadet flying from flight academy to private pilot’s license, STEM program expansion, career exploration opportunities for cadets, and funding for AFJROTC and AFROTC orientation flights.  This is an exciting area for CAP’s future!  There is an Aircraft Maintenance CFT, led by Mr. Gary Schneider, which is looking at our maintenance processes, timelines, etc.  There is a Cadet in-school program CFT led by Mr. Curt Lafond.  This group is looking for best practices related to school program squadrons and how to expand that area of CAP.  The Mission-based budget review that I talked about last month is the last staff-led working group. Mr. Salvador and General Smith, modeling the spirit of partnership, lead this group.  For volunteer-led groups, we have the Command Council Meeting Working Group led by Brigadier General Phelka.  This group is tasked with ensuring our command council meetings are relevant, engaging, and use the time wisely.  We have the Region Cash Reserves group led by Col Jon Stokes, which is tasked with figuring how much money regions should have for cash reserves.  The Vanguard Funds Processes group, led by Col Tom Kettell, is looking at how to spend Vanguard funds more equitably and what process should be used to request these funds.  Col Stokes and Col Kettell teamed up and worked their two related issues together.  Col Joe Smith is leading the Base Access Working Group to get CAP members better access and resulted in key leaders receiving a common-access-card (CAC)!  Finally, we have the team I facilitate which is the Leadership Development Working Group that is tasked with changes to the professional development program.

National Cadet Special Activities are mainly in June and July each year.  I endeavor to visit each NCSA in North Central Region.  This year, I was able to visit all but one.  My call schedule kicked off on the topic of finances.  On the 4th, we had our quarterly Finance Committee Meeting for the region.  On the 10th, I visited the Aircraft Maintenance and Manufacturing Academy in Independence, Kansas.  AMMA attendees get to work at the Cessna factory and learn how aircraft are built.  It’s is always an interesting group of cadets.  I was pleased to meet them for dinner and a game of mini-golf on Sunday evening.  On the 11th, I attended a Spaatz Award reception at KS-034 for C/Col Settanni.  Cadet Settanni is from the Topeka Squadron and I always enjoy visiting the unit where I was a cadet.  On the 13th, I stopped in Fremont, Nebraska to welcome the cadets and seniors attending the National Powered Flight Academy to North Central Region.  We had a wonderful meal at Midland University and it was fun meeting the members.  On the 14th-15th I was back in South Dakota for Region Staff College.  Col Mary Donley and Lt Col Linda Buechler did a great job providing professional development for seniors in Sioux Falls.  I provided briefings on Data-Driven Decision Making and Leadership to a wonderful, interactive group.  I always feel welcome in South Dakota.  After graduation, I headed south.  On my way home to Kansas, I stopped in Nebraska to visit the powered NFA led by Col David Plum.  Col Plum is a veteran flight academy leader.

Several cadets take advantage of NCSAs each year.  NCSAs provide leadership training, career exploration, and more.  Cadets meet other cadets from across the nation at these wonderful events. 
In June, Cadet Julie Lair of South Dakota Wing and Cadet Yelizar Dengachev of Minnesota Wing attended Air Force Space Command Familiarization Course. 
Cadet Joseph Wandell of Missouri Wing attended SUPTC where he learned about how Air Force pilots are trained. 
Cadet Thomas Cable of Missouri Wing attended Cyber Academy to hone computer skills. 
Cadet Otto Hill of Missouri Wing and Cadet Jackson Schneider of Missouri Wing attended AMMA. 
Several cadets attended the Model and Remote-Control Academy led by Col John O’Neill:  Sam Ritchie (Kansas Wing), Henry Kraynak (Missouri Wing), Jonathan Oliver (Missouri Wing), Taran Fletcher (Missouri Wing), Cody Caple (Missouri Wing), Henry Gordon (Missouri Wing), Lawrence Benz (Missouri WIng), and Isabella Plum (Kansas Wing). 
Three cadets learned to fly at NFAP:  Cadet William Willhite (Kansas Wing), Ashley Jacobson (Missouri Wing), and Taylor Young (Missouri Wing). 
Several cadets learned to fly gliders:  Cadet Donald Leonhardt (Kansas Wing) and Cadet Lawrence Benz (Missouri Wing). 

Region Staff college resulted in several promotions and awards.  Russell Limke of SD-63 and Howard Steiner of SD-31 earned their promotions to lieutenant colonel.  Lt Col George Cobbley of IA-129, Major Jo Ellen Peters of MN-001, Major Harry Coleman of MN-063, Major Justin Johnson of SD-050, Major Jeremy Langrock of SD-050, and Major Nich Gengler of SD-050 earned the Paul Garber Award.  Major Paul Bayless of KS-061, Major Danny Phillips of KS-092, Lt Col Chuck Stone of MO-147, and Lt Col Johnnie Nichols of MO-140 all earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award.  Cadet Joseph Tayler of MN-030 and Cadet Meredith Wichman of NE-019 earned the General Ira C. Eaker Award. Cadet Josiah Stearns of IA-002 earned the General Carl A. Spaatz Award. 

A Search and Rescue mission in MO ended in a Find and a Save in June.  ELT searches in Kansas (2), Missouri, and Minnesota garnered Finds for the teams that participated.  Kansas Wing had 22 AFRCC missions.  Nebraska Wing held a SAREX.  South Dakota Wing held a SAREX in Mitchell and conducted STEM outreach.  Iowa Wing held a COMEX.  North Dakota Wing conducted Flood Response, a wing SAREX, and a missing person search.  Minnesota Wing conducted a wing-wide exercise and Missouri Wing conducted imagery training.

June is always a heavy travel month and a busy month for volunteers with NCSAs, staff colleges, and encampments among other events.  This month we talked about process improvement and how Major General Smith is using cross-functional teams and working groups to tackle this at a national level.  Next month, we will talk about his final area of emphasis—developing the next generation of leaders.

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