Lead with the best version of yourself.

The One Thing Series: Collaborating Up, Down, and Across

by Haley Morton

In 2CR, staff work is particularly difficult to synchronize due to the lack of an onsite division headquarters and the frequent expeditionary deployment operations in the European theater. I wish I’d known the importance of collaborating with my fellow staff sections to maintain synchronization within the Squadron prior to my time as an AS3 in 4/2CR.

Shortly after my arrival to the unit, my S3 deployed forward and my fellow Captain and I assumed responsibility for running the squadron’s operations. As the Future Operations Officer, I was responsible for planning every squadron event and deployment with my Lieutenants, including a joint training exercise with the Finnish Army. While I did my very best to plan and coordinate the event for the troop and supporting elements attending, I failed to adequately collaborate with my fellow staff leads. This led to me attempting to “do it all” and not holding the necessary meetings to synchronize the plan with the staff and troop Leadership until we were close to its operationalization. While the operation did not fail, I recognized I had a lot of work to do at coordinating efforts through all of the war fighting functions that would yield greater success for the squadron in the future.

According to FM 6-0 (Commander and Staff Organization and Operations), the squadron S3 “ensures warfighting function integration and synchronization across the planning horizons in current operations, future operations, and plans integrating cells” (page 2-11, paragraph 2-52). After multiple repetitions of MDMP at the Maneuver Captains Career Course and the Cavalry Leaders Course, I thought I had a good understanding of how to conduct MDMP; but I was wrong. I only knew how to conduct MDMP for field training exercises and operational missions. What I missed was how this process translates over to expeditionary deployment plans in garrison and how vital it is to our mission success. 

While planning from the TAA is important, getting to the TAA is just as (if not MORE) important.

Upon reflection of my mistakes, I realized I could easily correct these errors through planning our next fast approaching joint training exercise with the Georgian Army. I moved to create products quickly. This included running estimates and a warning order that had a pre-established planning timeline that included all IPRs, conditions checks, and ROC Drills in advance. By doing so, we synchronized the squadron’s staff efforts with the regimental staff and consistently kept the troop informed throughout the process while taking all of their requests for information into account.

Unfortunately, I learned the importance of collaborating on squadron plans the hard way. However, this doesn’t have to be a mistake that every staff officer makes. Always keep in mind that even plans in garrison require a modified version of MDMP to be properly synchronized. You should never plan in a bubble; ALWAYS work with your team to accomplish the mission. 

Captain Haley Morton is an active duty Armor Officer currently serving as the Future Operations Officer in HHT, 4th Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment. She served as an Assistant Operations Officer, Tank Platoon Leader, and Battalion Scout Platoon Leader in 1-68 Armor Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from 2018-2021. She would like to thank MAJ Adam David, MAJ Mike Cain, and SGM Chad Acton for their recommendations and support during her time in 4th Squadron. 

Editor’s Note: In June, we asked our From the Green Notebook community a simple but profound question: What’s the one thing you wish you would have known before you started your last assignment? This week, we are pleased to share the nuggets of wisdom leaders have learned with the hope that it doesn’t have to be relearned by someone else the hard way. 

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