04 October 2012

Have a good plan, have a better back up plan

From the Cop and Soldier side: One of the things my team got complimented on while we were in Bosnia was our Mission Planning.  Some guy from USAER (United States Army Europe) came around and checked out all the little teams we had scattered around Bosnia.  When he visited our team, he watched how we did our planning. 

Our style was to let the Soldier who was running the mission for that day do the plan.  It didn’t matter if he was a Specialist E-4 or the team leader…the plan was presented to everybody who had to go and we all looked at it to see if it was good or it sucked.  If it sucked, then I’d make “suggestions”. 
Then we had a backup plan because of Murphy’s Law.  No matter how good the plan was, just like the law of gravity, the law of Murphy was always there and it would mess up even the simplest of plans. 
I got everybody on our team to do this…except the guy who was the orginal team leader.  He later got fired and they gave me the team.  Now, if you’re not aware of it, the US Army will promote you with duties, but not always with the rank that should go with it--- so you are made to do the work, but without the extra pay….and no over time. 

Anyway, the team leader would never plan his missions.  Hell, most of the time he forgot to even tell anybody that he had a mission the next day and the first anybody heard of it was at breakfast.  Then he’d ask the SECFOR (Security Force) guys if they had the vehicles fueled and ready to go.  They always did because I trained them to always be ready.  The team leader was never ready.
After about the fifth mission the team leader messed up by being unplanned and late, I asked him why he didn’t plan ahead.  His response: “I always do better under pressure.”
I thought it over for a few minutes while I was driving like hell to get us to a “job” we were late for, then I said: “you know you may think you work better under pressure, but really all you do is fuck shit up, yell at everybody, and stress us all out, then screw up the job.”
He wasn’t used to people being so honest and blunt with him.  That day he didn’t say much--- you see he was in such a hurry he had forgotten to bring his weapon and we had no time to turn back and get it.  He knew I could cover him and outshoot anybody, so he didn’t worry. 
When they finally relieved him of the team, they gave it to me.  But by that time, we had reduced our number of Soldiers and I also had to take over another team.  So instead of 8 Soldiers to do the job, we did it with 2.5 (I could borrow a guy from one of the other teams if I needed.)  none of it mattered much, as SFOR (Stabilization Force Bosnia) was soon to go away. 
Damn it, I loved that job.  Oh well, at least I have the stories and the experience.
As a cop, I learned early that when going to make an arrest or do a search, the best made plans always were not perfect.  Include things that you don't know and be able to adjust and overcome.  
So, for planning…are you the type who waits until the last minute and thinks everything is OK, or do you plan ahead and have a good back up plan.      


Old NFO said...

Dwight David Eisenhower- The Plan is nothing, Planning is everything! :-)

Anonymous said...

1. Good Eisenhower quote.
2. Your post relates to load-out for on-foot patrolling.
3. Was chatting with heavy brass type about that subject. With armor, the troops are carrying about twenty pounds more than we did, back in the day. (Wuz about 90# in a ruck with no frame and unpadded shoulder straps).
4. Point being, it's nice to have the kitchen sink on hand when you need it.
5. Relates to your back-up plan.
6. Most of the gear we were hauling would stay packed unless stuff happened.
7. Actually, mostly we'd be out and some higher-up would call with a change of plan.
8. Didn't need back up plan as mission changes provided a worthy substitute.
9. It's a wonder anyone survived and anything got done. Somewhat questionable on the latter.
V/R JWest

CI-Roller Dude said...

I wish we had somebody like Ike running for president today.

Planning and prep was the only correct way to do our jobs in Bosnia and later in Iraq. The difference between the 2 places was like being on Earth and Mars. Bosnia we were almost always in civilian clothes, in Iraq it was DCUs and lots of armor and crap. Bosnia was like a dream, Iraq like a bad dream...but I loved both jobs.

Momma Fargo said...

Most of the time I run by the seat of my pants...off duty...except in public. Always ready on duty and out in public with or without my family. Off duty...at home...I have everything in its place, but admit I am complacent there.

CI-Roller Dude said...

MF, as long as you can turn the switch on and know when to do so.
...but with a plan...all you have to do is know the plan, then relax.