On appointing CAC officers & reps to the higher echelon
Posted on 07/14/2016 at 12:00 AM by Curt LaFond
The Cadet Advisory Council term begins anew on 1 October, so we’re approaching the time when wings and regions are getting ready to select their officers (chair and vice chair) and the cadets who will represent their peers at the next higher echelon. Here’s a quick note asking DCPs to perhaps think differently about their selection practices.
The typical approach seems to be that a cadet serves one year at the wing, then the next year he or she becomes an officer on the council, at which time an ex officio role is triggered, and that chair and vice chair hold dual-hat positions with duties as representatives to the region. The same principle tends to be followed regarding region reps to national. But this dual-hat practice seems wrong to me for three reasons.
First and most importantly, the overall goal of CAC is to provide cadets with a leadership opportunity. That much is explicit in the regulation. Therefore, to maximize opportunity, stop thinking along dual-hat lines and instead fill the two jobs (wing chair and region representative) with two different cadets. Spread the opportunity around.
Second, it’s very difficult to do both jobs well simultaneously. The cadet gets pulled in multiple directions and will have multiple bosses if he or she tries to straddle a chair’s responsibility and a representative’s responsibility one level up. Too many times I’ve seen good cadets get jammed up in this environment. What should be a positive experience turns negative.
Third, the dual-hat scenario assumes that there must be a connection between the councils at the different echelons. For the region council to connect with the wing council, the thinking goes, you’ll need a dual-hatted cadet. But the council program isn’t meant to mirror the normal, linked chain of command. Each council’s charter is to focus on the needs of that particular echelon. And so the NCAC chair is not superior to a wing chair, just as the senator isn’t the boss of the governor. Therefore, the perceived need to have a dual-hatted cadet linking one echelon to another is not managerially necessary.
None of what I’ve said requires a regulatory change, just a slightly different assignment practice. If I were still a wing DCP, I’d send two cadets to the region CAC as primary and assistant representatives, and my wing chair and vice chair would be two different cadets. Consequently, the council program would impact a larger number of cadets. The cadets themselves would be more successful for having just one obligation. And each echelon would benefit by staying in its own lane.