By Ms. Kimberly SpinnerMarch 8, 2019
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. -- The Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC) hosted its Total-Force brigade-level command teams at its semi-annual Senior Leader Forum here March 1-3, 2019, to discuss the command's mission requirements.
The theme for the forum was "Thinking and Getting Left of Boom," referring to SDDC Commanding General Maj. Gen. Stephen E. Farmen's mandate for the command to operate in the future operations space by planning ahead rather than reacting.
The forum's environment promoted open dialogue and discussion, facilitated training and team-building, and enabled candid interaction amongst senior leaders in order to gain a common and shared understanding of the topics.
Farmen opened with an update on major events, milestones and key decisions since the command's last forum in August and gave his perspective on this forum's theme.
"Our purpose here is to operationalize, institutionalize and synchronize our global efforts to support mission requirements and assure our global mission readiness," said Farmen. "We win when we're 'Left of Boom' -- we have to seize and hold the initiative."
The first day's events focused on "Operationalizing Left of Boom."
To provide a higher headquarters operational perspective, Farmen invited the commander of the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM), Gen. Stephen Lyons, to address the group. Lyons discussed how USTRANSCOM and its components are supporting warfighting readiness and how USTRANSCOM's revised priorities support that objective.
"I am absolutely amazed by what this enterprise does every single day," said Lyons. "There's a lot going on, and it goes so smoothly that it can often go unnoticed. But I notice, and I'm really excited about where SDDC is headed."
Senior members of Lyon's staff also addressed the forum, focusing on how SDDC leaders' input is crucial to the development and implementation of future USTRANSCOM programs and deployment processes.
"We're trying to make the job better for the people who use the systems that deploy and move the Joint Force today," said Andy Dawson, USTRANSCOM Operations Directorate. "We couldn't do it without command involvement and support."
The forum incorporated SDDC's Total Force team in all of its discussions. Representatives from the command's Reserve component, the Deployment Support Command (DSC), discussed requirements, capabilities and challenges of rapidly integrating SDDC's Reserve transportation capability into operations to meet future requirements in support of the Joint Force.
Brig. Gen. Martin Klein, dual-hatted as DSC commanding general and SDDC's deputy commander for mobilization, provided guidance on integrating Reserve forces and ensuring deployment and distribution readiness across the command.
"What we do is strategic in nature," said Klein. "It's our job at the DSC to give you depth when you incorporate us in your operations."
Day two of the event focused on "Institutionalizing Left of Boom."
Each of SDDC's Total Force brigade commanders briefed how their respective units fit into SDDC's campaign plan. Farmen, Klein, and other SDDC headquarters staff members gave feedback in an effort to grow and develop the leaders and their units' missions.
"Hearing from SDDC's leaders during this forum confirms my belief that their units and missions are nested within our campaign plan, lines of engagement and objectives," said Farmen. "They ensure our SDDC team moves, deploys and sustains the armed forces to deliver readiness and lethality at speed."
The final day of the event focused on "Living Left of Boom."
SDDC's senior leaders, including the commanding general, deputy to the commander, command sergeant major and DSC commanding general, each provided their personal perspectives on leadership, professionalism and the importance of building the three "ships" -- Relationships, Partnerships, and Friendships.
"Thinking and getting 'Left of Boom' as leaders starts at the top," said Farmen. "We have to live it. All I care about is being the best commanding general I can be, and you should care about that too. Make a difference."
Finally, SDDC's inspector general, staff judge advocate and command chaplain discussed brigade command team responsibilities in each of their respective areas.
Farmen closed the forum with a few words for the leaders.
"We are the connective tissue that binds this whole distribution network together," said Farmen. "You all should be incredibly proud of the work you and your battalion commanders and command sergeants major are doing. I'm proud of you and proud to serve with each and every one of you. You are all Surface Warriors."