May 2018 Command Trajectory
Major General Smith’s fourth area of emphasis addresses the need to strengthen our financial standing. In this area, there are two initiatives underway. First, a project we lovingly call the Mother of All Working Groups (MOAWG) is reviewing the budget process from square one which is what our stakeholders need. Over the last several months, every area at National Headquarters and many volunteers have participated in meetings for MOAWG. After we determined the needs of stakeholders, we conducted a mission-based review of how we spend our appropriated and corporate dollars. The goal is to ensure we are spending our budgets in the best way possible to meet mission needs. It is a fascinating project to participate in and I am learning a lot. Finally, the third leg of the financial backbone is philanthropy. One of my CAP activities for this month addressed philanthropy.
In addition to a variety of other meetings, I have been participating in quarterly reviews for professional development. Each month, Major General Smith has several areas reviewed. We report the initiatives we are working on and how well things are going. We also talk about what is upcoming and any barriers we might need to overcome. In May, the 1st brought a quarterly review call. On the 3rd, I departed for Tennessee for the CSAG Retreat. This event is held yearly on the first weekend in May. We all stay in cabins in the Smoky Mountains and work on projects. We spend all day, every day focused on CAP and current or upcoming initiatives. The meals are catered so we often continue our work together around the dinner table. It’s amazing how much can be accomplished when you step away from the everyday distractions and focus on working together. Key staff from National Headquarters join us and provide briefings as we discuss important issues. We also take time to do a little internal aerospace education and work with one of our amazing STEM kits. If you have not had time to experience our STEM kits, I recommend you make time, it is very enjoyable. We normally pair up into teams with one headquarters employee and one region commander to compete using the STEM kit. This year, Johnny Dean and I had to take a quiz and then navigate a bot around an obstacle course. The team with the fastest time won. We didn’t end up with the best time, but we had fun and enjoyed working with the bots. After several productive days, I departed for Kansas on the 6th. On the 14th, I traveled to Missouri Wing to help Col John O’Neill by presenting an Earhart Award to Cadet Barclay at the Harry S Truman Composite Squadron. The group meets at Atlantic Aviation at the Charles B. Wheeler Airport. Chief Mudry met me at the event. What a great group of volunteers! Major John Burrows leads the dedicated members of HST Composite Squadron. They were very welcoming, and I enjoyed joining them for the evening. My normal conference calls with Ms. Tourville of NHQ, the CSAG call, and my small team of region staff followed later that week. The last big event for me in May was the Kansas Wing Conference which happened in Manhattan 25-27 May. The Konza Composite Squadron, the newest unit in Kansas Wing, hosted the event. The wing had a Friday night barbecue that I attended with Chief Mudry, Col Tom Theis, and Lt Col Bonnie Braun. Through a partnership with Kansas State University, members present were able to observe the stars through a variety of high powered telescopes, it was a lot of fun and supported our AE mission. The conference went well. I provided a state of the region presentation and facilitated a session on leadership lessons. We ended with a very nice banquet on Saturday night and all departed for home on Sunday. My final event of May that I will share here is a call I had a call with Kristina Jones the new Chief of CAP Philanthropy on the 30th. What energy! She will do great things for our organization. She asked me a lot of questions about CAP, the culture, our challenges, and my perceptions. She was working through several calls with personnel at various levels in the organization to find out more about CAP. Philanthropy can take many forms, but CAP is working to get more support for our missions serving our communities, states, and nation.
The following members of North Central Region were promoted to lieutenant colonel in May: Leo Larkin of NE-058, Danny Rodehaver of KS-092, and Mark Weiss of KS-066. Lt Col William Rubel of IA-041, Lt Col Charles Harter of MO-132, Lt Col Austin Worcester of MO-104, and Major Jennifer Smith of MO-110 all earned the Gill Robb Wilson Award. Cadet Josiah Stearns of IA-002, Cadet Nicholas Vivier of MN-042, and Cadet Michael Pineda of NE-19 all earned the General Ira C. Eaker Award. Great work!
Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota all had ELT searches with finds in May. Minnesota had two finds on one mission! Iowa participated in the Boone Fly-In, took photos of Davenport, and held a DAEC drill. Kansas had 8 ARC missions, a homeland security mission, flew AFJROTC cadets from two partner high schools. South Dakota Wing held a SAREX in Pierre. Nebraska Wing had a missing person search and their SAR EVAL. Missouri also had its SAREVAL. Minnesota Wing also held a multi-agency exercise and a wing-wide exercise. North Dakota also had a SAREX.
May is a busy month and with a MOAWG meeting on the 9th and a call with the new Chief of Philanthropy on the 30th, I can certainly see how we can and will strengthen our financial standing for the future. Next month, we will talk about seizing opportunities for process improvement.