This seventh annual Warrior Expo – East kicked off today with a keynote speech by United States Navy SEAL Rear Admiral (ret) and Deputy Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Scott P Moore. His service in NSW spans a wide variety of assignments including time as the commander of NSW Development Group.
The main thrust of his address was maintaining readiness in the current budgetary environment. But, as he pointed out, things aren’t slowing down. Instability abounds, in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and even the Americas. He sees a future of Brush Fire Wars and a move back to training surrogates and allied partners. Conversely, he understands the requirement of a constant forward presence of our maritime forces, particularly off the coasts of North Africa and the Horn of Africa.
He is also concerned about the increasing threats to US citizens and interests, particularly the number of hostage situations. RADM Moore related that he has tracked or been party to a hostage rescue mission every six months for the past six years. In the 20 years prior to that, he said that he dreamed of being allowed to participate in a rescue. The world has changed and he feels the world is in a less stable place than it was before 9/11. This is the new normal. It’s constant conflict and sustained training is critical. It might be boring to some but you never know when or where you’ll be called upon to act. Adaptability will be key due to the short notice of deployments. This means training will be key.
Consequently, RADM Moore discussed selection and training, particularly in regard to the SEAL community. He discussed identifying men who have a “healthy distrust for authority” because the drive the leadership to step up and excel. He also discussed finding the men with the will to go on individually and yet serve as a member of a team. That is the point of BUDS and the ongoing training process in NSW.
The point is put together a great team. RADM Moore points to three factors that are critical to making this happen:
1. Leadership – Institutional leadership doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be good enough. Natural leaders will rise to the top and experience creates leadership. Ultimately, leadership is a commitment to the role. Also, a successful leader is respected but not necessarily liked.
2. Cohesiveness – You’re either on the team bus or you’re not. You must spend time together to develop trust. Additionally, honest After Action Reviews are critical. They also develop trust and that trust increases speed.
3. Empowerment – The most critical factor to creating great teams is allowing your subordinates to thrive. Develop younger leaders and prepare them to take your job when it’s time. When you empower your subordinates and let them take responsibility in your team, as the overall leader you can concentrate on strategic level issues.
As for the budget, RADM Moore suggests we “DWI” or “deal with it.” But, he challenges industry to help us maintain our technological advantage over adversaries who are increasingly using advanced capabilities. We have to stack the deck in favor our troops every time and he urges companies to raise the bar. To do this, he pointed back to those three factors to developing great teams.
Additionally, ADS founder Luke Hillier presented the Warrior for Warrior awards from his organization Hillier Ignite.
This year there were two. First up, was Wounded Wea. Also honored was the Boulder Crest Retreat Foundation. Both organizations do amazing things for wounded Veterans. In addition to the recognition, the Warrior for Warriors award includes $25,000.