Operation Inherent Resolve - Op IMPACT
Maj Steve Couture
7 Feb 23
These are some lessons I learned while working as the Chief of Plans in the Combined Joint Operations Centre on Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR).
- Always communicate. Take every opportunity to communicate something of value. Whether it’s in an operational planning team, delivering a briefing to CENTCOM, or while writing an article for the Regimental website, don’t waste peoples’ time. Tell them what happened and why it matters. Figure out the “so what” and communicate the right info to the right people. The Commanding General OIR recommended the book “Smart Brevity” to all his staff. Give it a read – it’s not too long.
- Be professional. Deportment is even more important in a coalition environment, where other countries are watching. Small slips in professionalism add up and destroy morale.
- Get smart. “Fake it till you make it” will only get you so far. It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. For example: to read only the annex to an order instead of the entire thing. Make it a priority to learn your job inside-out. That way you can actually influence and fix things. Learn other peoples’ jobs too. People will start coming to you as a subject matter expert.
- Elevate others. If you’re privileged to have subordinates, give them meaningful opportunities to excel. Like I said, your first task should be to understand your job, but your second task should be to develop your team to be capable of operating independently without you. This could even free you up to get smart on something else.
- Make assessments. Data is never perfect and trends can be misleading. There will always be a margin of error when you compare two sources. Raw data tends to lead to confirmation bias. A trend line showing a reduction in ISR might not show a capability gap, but simply indicate that the weather was poor. Well-developed assessments are more valuable to decision-makers than raw data.
- Take care of each other. I’m extremely grateful to have deployed with my good friend Maj Blake Tapp, who works down the hall in the CJ35 – Future Operations. Thanks for keeping me oriented, brah.
Pending your questions, that concludes my brief.