Case Study: Karma

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,182
Location
CONUS
Case Study: Karma

This is the start of a new case study. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I start a story loosely based on personal experiences and develop it based on your responses. This is a complete work of fiction and none of the units, situations, or people mentioned are real. You should feel free to chime in with your suggestions, comments, observations and questions; that’s what really makes these fun for everyone. At the end of the case study, I’ll wrap it all up and talk briefly about how the case study compared to what happened (or didn’t happen) in real life. The purpose of these case studies is to provide an entertaining venue to discuss military leadership.

Edit (24JUL12): attached to this post is a summary of the now-completed case study in case you want to read it straight through instead of sorting through every post.

/////

The setting is still the fictional 2nd Special Forces Group, currently in stateside garrison after completing a rotation in Iraq. The events in this case study take place after “The Good Wife” and “The Soul Plane Incident.” For purposes of this case study, you are the commander of the MID (explained below).

The Group Support Company of 2nd Special Forces Group consists of a Headquarters Detachment (HQD), the Military Intelligence Detachment (MID), the Signal Detachment (SIGDET), the Support Operations Detachment (SUPDEP), and the Chemical Warfare Defense Detachment (CHEMDET). The HQD includes a robust admin section (15 personnel) and the major training elements, or “lockers,” the SCUBA Locker, the HALO Locker, the Sniper Locker, the Advanced Urban Combat Locker, and the Desert Mobility Locker. The Lockers are authorized 12 18-series personnel each, and while they are all extremely good at what they do, tend to consist of individuals who are injured or are awaiting retirement. The GSC headquarters element (the commander, first sergeant, armorer, XO, and company clerk) are also accounted for under the HQD. HQD consists of around 80 total personnel.

The MID contains HUMINT, CI, and SIGINT collectors and analysts, a small terrain team (mapping engineers), IMINT and all-source analysts, and a section of 09L translators. Its strength is about 100 personnel. The SIGDET handles the Group-level communications equipment and is smaller, about 50 total people. The SUPDEP is huge, more than 250 men and women, and includes cooks, medics, transportation specialists, mechanics, riggers, and engineers. The CHEMDET consists of twelve personnel from the Chemical Corps branch, organized into chemical reconnaissance and chemical decontamination sections. All of the detachments are commanded by captains, and the overall GSC (which is large enough to be considered a battalion-size element in most other units) is commanded by major. Below is a rough organizational chart.

Karma case study org chart pic.jpg

The commander of 2nd Group’s GSC is MAJ Marcus Ripley. He has been in command about 18 months, and is probably going to rotate out soon. That is unfortunate, because he is a highly-competent commander and is well-liked by subordinates, peers, and superiors alike. The commander of the HQD was transferred out suddenly and the position is currently vacant. The commander of the MID (you) is CPT Scott Faith. You have been command for about the same amount of time as MAJ Ripley, and you too are probably going to be moved to a different position soon. SIGDET’s commander, CPT Tamara Beverly, is new and has only been in command for about 30 days. She seems to have her act together, though. The SUPDET commander is CPT Simon Criss, who has been in command slightly less time than you have. You and CPT Criss are very good friends, having been in the unit about the same amount of time and having worked closely together in Iraq. CPT Criss successfully assessed for a job with the 16th Special Aviation Element (the 16th SAVE- a special mission unit), and is planning on moving on to greener pastures in 90 days. Fortunately, SAVE is “across the airfield” on the same installation as 2nd Group, so you’ll still get to see each other from time to time. CPT Criss is also on the list for promotion to major.

MAJ Ripley has been trying to fill the vacant HQD position for a while, but is having trouble getting someone to volunteer for the assignment. Part of the problem is the nature of the assignment. As a non-operational, 18-series-coded position, the commander of the HQ Det was usually put into that position for one of two reasons. He is either a) an SF all-star marking time in the HQD until a key position opened up for him or b) he’s a no-talent assclown that no one wants on a team, and got shuffled over into the GSC because no one could be bothered to do the paperwork to actually get the guy booted out of the unit altogether. Right now there are no “good” young SF captains who are not already gainfully employed elsewhere within the Group. That just leaves the “category b)” types. You’re dreading who you’re going to end up with.

The HQD commander typically acts as the commander of the GSC when the commander is gone, which is frequent since there are GSC soldiers supporting both Iraq and Afghanistan. Technically, there is a an XO for the company, but it’s a warrant officer position and the Group commander insists on having a “real live officer” in charge at all times. Since there currently is no HQD commander, you're filling the role of XO. At this week’s company command and staff meeting, MAJ Ripley asks for suggestions on ways to avoid the potential leadership vacuum that would result from him, you, and the SUPDET commander potentially rotating out at the same time. There is also still the problem of the vacant HQD position. Any suggestions?
 

Attachments

  • Karma case study summary pdf.pdf
    759.2 KB · Views: 12

CDG

Mittens
Verified Military
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Messages
6,939
Location
Off safe. One away.
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Since CPT Criss is the only one of the three with solid orders, especially for an SMU, I would let him go and try and get myself and MAJ Ripley extended for say, 6 months, to find replacements and attempt to have a more gradual leadership transition. Does the Army have a process in place for filing for an extension of command?
 

Warchief

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Jun 3, 2011
Messages
631
Location
The Lone Star State
Is Chief Rollins available to assist with the leadership vacuum? We all know the good Chief is wired tight and good to go. I'm hoping the Chief is not up for rotation also. The unit would really be in trouble then.
 

LimaOscarSierraTango

Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
1,231
I think CPT Beverly, Chief Rollins, and CPT Faith need to have a pow wow. :D

If there is no one internal worth bringing up, why not try and recruit someone from another Group to fill in one position at a time? It's a small world, I am sure someone has a squared away buddy in another Group they can convince to come over. Fill in CPT Criss's slot first (90-days out... there would be some right seat/left seat time), then the HQD CO slot (gives a little more time to find someone that may be a little more high speed since they are acting GSC CO when the actual CO is out). After that, Look to fill the GSC CO slot, then the MID CO slot. 6 months out is enough time where it isn't as much a priority as an empty slot and a short time slot.
 

LibraryLady

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
5,074
Since CPT Criss is the only one of the three with solid orders, especially for an SMU, I would let him go and try and get myself and MAJ Ripley extended for say, 6 months, to find replacements and attempt to have a more gradual leadership transition. Does the Army have a process in place for filing for an extension of command?

Second this comment, abrupt and extensive leadership changes can lead to turmoil that could affect missions. Look to see if you know anyone in the Intel field that would be potential good material to slot in for yourself, whether they've served in SOF or not before. Call your peers at the other Groups also to find someone.

Hook up with the, oh, what do ya call it, anyway, look and see if there isn't a convalescing type 18-series somewhere that can fill Major Riley's shoes.

LL
 

pardus

Verified Military
Joined
Sep 7, 2006
Messages
10,155
I edited your post for accuracy...

Case Study: Karma

This is the start of a new case study. For those of you unfamiliar with how this works, I start a story loosely based on personal experiences and develop it based on your responses. This is a complete work of fiction and I will reply and update it every 6 to 12 months or so. Expect this to last approx 3 years and be a source of constant irritation waiting for a response from me.
 

x SF med

the Troll
Verified SOF
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
10,841
Location
Not far from the south of Canada, 'Murica!
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Some thoughts and questions:
How did the command rotation get into the situation it is in? 3-4 areas with concurrent/semi concurrent leadership changes for the same time period leaves a vacuum that could force an implosion in overall unit effectiveness. This could be considered an overall command failure in the Group Commander's Office, or higher.

MID and SUPDET are not required 18 Series command positions, but, some of the areas under these subordinate HQD areas are for example the "Lockers" and some OpsPlan/Ops Int areas.

The fact that the entire Group is on a post deployment stand down is a bit odd... but we'll let that go for now... :hmm:

Overall mission effectiveness will be impacted by the situation if command does not address staggering the changes in the support detatchments, rendering the unit red for command/control/coordination capability.

This is a soup sammich of epic proportions for the 2nd SFG(A).
 

TB1077

Verified Military
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
118
Location
Texas
Hope I'm not intruding on a thread not meant for civilians, but I'd like to add a few cents...

As quite a few of you mentioned already, why is it that so many leadership changes are allowed to occur in such a short period of time? Just seems as though there should be some form of procedure on regulating non-emergency changes of command. As CDG offered the idea of extending individual's command by six months sounds good, but I would agree with xSFmed to take that a step further in this particular case and stagger MAJ Ripley and CPT Faith's departures to allow for some overlap of leadership to extend on to the incoming replacements.

I also agree that looking outside of this Group for a replacement of the HQD Commander would be the best option as it sounds to be a position requires the "right guy" vs. the "whoever we can get" option. Considering the fact that there are going to be quite a few brand new commanders, having someone from outside of their Group should not cause too much turbulence. If the position has been vacant for a while, what is a little more time to find the best person for the job?

Lastly, it was brought up that CPT Criss is up for promotion to MAJ. Would a promotion to replace MAJ Ripley be looked at as a positive move for CPT Criss in order to keep him with the Group? That could also buy some time by keeping CPT Criss in his existing position until the HQD Commander is found so MAJ Ripley can rotate out with Criss as his replacement. Then find SUDPET commander. Lastly find CPT Faith's replacement prior to departure.
 

CDG

Mittens
Verified Military
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Messages
6,939
Location
Off safe. One away.
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Lastly, it was brought up that CPT Criss is up for promotion to MAJ. Would a promotion to replace MAJ Ripley be looked at as a positive move for CPT Criss in order to keep him with the Group? That could also buy some time by keeping CPT Criss in his existing position until the HQD Commander is found so MAJ Ripley can rotate out with Criss as his replacement. Then find SUDPET commander. Lastly find CPT Faith's replacement prior to departure.

CPT Criss already has orders for an SMU across the airfield. If I was him, I would be seeing red if I had passed an SMU Selection, gotten orders to that unit, and then had them yanked inside my 90-day window to take over a GSC just because somebody above my paygrade couldn't plan turnover better. Pulling shit like that is a good way to lose officers like CPT Criss from the Army altogether.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,182
Location
CONUS
Hope I'm not intruding on a thread not meant for civilians, but I'd like to add a few cents...

As quite a few of you mentioned already, why is it that so many leadership changes are allowed to occur in such a short period of time? Just seems as though there should be some form of procedure on regulating non-emergency changes of command. As CDG offered the idea of extending individual's command by six months sounds good, but I would agree with xSFmed to take that a step further in this particular case and stagger MAJ Ripley and CPT Faith's departures to allow for some overlap of leadership to extend on to the incoming replacements.

I also agree that looking outside of this Group for a replacement of the HQD Commander would be the best option as it sounds to be a position requires the "right guy" vs. the "whoever we can get" option. Considering the fact that there are going to be quite a few brand new commanders, having someone from outside of their Group should not cause too much turbulence. If the position has been vacant for a while, what is a little more time to find the best person for the job?

Lastly, it was brought up that CPT Criss is up for promotion to MAJ. Would a promotion to replace MAJ Ripley be looked at as a positive move for CPT Criss in order to keep him with the Group? That could also buy some time by keeping CPT Criss in his existing position until the HQD Commander is found so MAJ Ripley can rotate out with Criss as his replacement. Then find SUDPET commander. Lastly find CPT Faith's replacement prior to departure.


Your comments are welcome, some of the best input we get on these case studies is from our civilian membership.

Massive leadership turnover in units is unusual, but not unique. Even worse than a high level of commanders rotating out at the same time is an exodus of good NCOs. You may recall from a previous case study that the MID's first sergeant, MSG Reynolds, came out on the E9 list. There may be some other personnel turbulence within the NCO corps as well. So now the GSC could be looking at a "perfect storm" of key leader losses as it gets ready to go back to Iraq. I'm sure nothing could slip through the cracks or go badly awry in a situation like that ;)
 

TB1077

Verified Military
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
118
Location
Texas
CPT Criss already has orders for an SMU across the airfield. If I was him, I would be seeing red if I had passed an SMU Selection, gotten orders to that unit, and then had them yanked inside my 90-day window to take over a GSC just because somebody above my paygrade couldn't plan turnover better. Pulling shit like that is a good way to lose officers like CPT Criss from the Army altogether.
I understand your point. I asked the question as I was not sure what the heirarchy of the two positions was. I would never offer that as an option unless the two positions were of similar value to the officer.
 

CDG

Mittens
Verified Military
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Messages
6,939
Location
Off safe. One away.
SSMP
SOF Mentor
I understand your point. I asked the question as I was not sure what the heirarchy of the two positions was. I would never offer that as an option unless the two positions were of similar value to the officer.

The hierarchy doesn't really matter here. Think of it like this, you work for a multi-national corporation and are a rising star in the executive ranks. You recently beat out several other very qualified candidates for a prestigious overseas junior executive position in (insert city of your dreams). At the last minute though, your boss tells you he has a better opportunity for you. You're going to be a full executive, but the catch is that you will be running regional operations in Northern Canada. Is it techincally a promotion? Sure. But it sucks and you would much rather be the junior guy in the other place.
 

TB1077

Verified Military
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
118
Location
Texas
Massive leadership turnover in units is unusual, but not unique. Even worse than a high level of commanders rotating out at the same time is an exodus of good NCOs. You may recall from a previous case study that the MID's first sergeant, MSG Reynolds, came out on the E9 list. There may be some other personnel turbulence within the NCO corps as well. So now the GSC could be looking at a "perfect storm" of key leader losses as it gets ready to go back to Iraq. I'm sure nothing could slip through the cracks or go badly awry in a situation like that ;)

When I brought up the idea about promoting CPT Criss, it was based mostly on the idea of keeping some cohesiveness for the NCOs, as well as anyone under the commanders, that are most likely going to take the brunt of this issue. Obviously I did not understand the value of the SMU job. Replacements will have to be found, so the commanding positions will be filled, I just wanted to propose an idea that might keep some leadership in place to lessen the burdon on the soldiers that are on the front line of the work (figuratively and literally in this case). And yes, there might be an opportunity for something to go bad in this case...
 

TB1077

Verified Military
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
118
Location
Texas
The hierarchy doesn't really matter here. Think of it like this, you work for a multi-national corporation and are a rising star in the executive ranks. You recently beat out several other very qualified candidates for a prestigious overseas junior executive position in (insert city of your dreams). At the last minute though, your boss tells you he has a better opportunity for you. You're going to be a full executive, but the catch is that you will be running regional operations in Northern Canada. Is it techincally a promotion? Sure. But it sucks and you would much rather be the junior guy in the other place.

One thing I have learned in the business world is that very seldom do I know the heirarchy of wants/needs of anyone that has either worked with me or for me unless I ask them. In the example you asked me, there could be a variety of reasons that I would accept either of the positions. You and I might disagree on which is better, but if it is not offered, how do we know which is best for the individual? I am going to make the assumption that in the military the same holds true. The key to what I asked about would be if that promotion was offered or required. If required without any discussion, that would suck and I see your point about how that could lose good officers (or soldiers period) from the military.
 

CDG

Mittens
Verified Military
Joined
Apr 15, 2011
Messages
6,939
Location
Off safe. One away.
SSMP
SOF Mentor
One thing I have learned in the business world is that very seldom do I know the heirarchy of wants/needs of anyone that has either worked with me or for me unless I ask them. In the example you asked me, there could be a variety of reasons that I would accept either of the positions. You and I might disagree on which is better, but if it is not offered, how do we know which is best for the individual? I am going to make the assumption that in the military the same holds true. The key to what I asked about would be if that promotion was offered or required. If required without any discussion, that would suck and I see your point about how that could lose good officers (or soldiers period) from the military.

I think it is safe to assume that for someone to endure the stress of a SMU Selection course they want to end up in that unit pretty badly. What reasoning would you have for completing something like that and then turning it down?
 

TB1077

Verified Military
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Messages
118
Location
Texas
I leave that in your hands as you know what that process would be. As I forewarned everyone, I have not been in the military (yet) so I don't understand a lot of the case study. Just though I would add some outside opinions. I was thinking to myself that the promotion to MAJ and being put in command of the GSC might be something that would be a positive for him in this case. Now if this CPT has had a dream of being selected for this particular SMU then obviously my idea is crazy. Then again, maybe his lifelong dream is a promotion that is one step beyond commanding the GSC and he undertands he will need to suck it up and miss out on the SMU selection in order to get one step closer.

I do see your points, I just like to be the devil's advocate sometimes. I personally am not one that would take a promotion over something that I truly enjoy doing, so if it was me, I would probably turn down the promotion if offered.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
11,182
Location
CONUS
Not to sharpshoot Sir but you misspelled rotund.

Au contraire! With the extremely thorough and rigorous process of selecting, assessing, and training enablers going to SF Groups, no unfit people make it into support jobs in an SF unit. And if any somehow DO manage to slip through the cracks, the promptly get booted out, right? Right? ;)
 

Brill

SOF Support
Joined
Oct 24, 2010
Messages
4,896
Location
221B Baker St
Au contraire! With the extremely thorough and rigorous process of selecting, assessing, and training enablers going to SF Groups, no unfit people make it into support jobs in an SF unit. And if any somehow DO manage to slip through the cracks, the promptly get booted out, right? Right? ;)

Exactly sir. We'll get 2nd Group unfucked come hell or high water. Those shitbags are just a delete key away!
 

x SF med

the Troll
Verified SOF
Joined
Jan 1, 2007
Messages
10,841
Location
Not far from the south of Canada, 'Murica!
SSMP
SOF Mentor
Au contraire! With the extremely thorough and rigorous process of selecting, assessing, and training enablers going to SF Groups, no unfit people make it into support jobs in an SF unit. And if any somehow DO manage to slip through the cracks, the promptly get booted out, right? Right? ;)

Yes, sir, you are well rounded, and round IS a shape... (you make comments like this too easy sometimes)

:p
 
Top