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null Center for Executive Education at the Tip of the SPEAR

Center for Executive Education at the Tip of the SPEAR

NPS military faculty member Cmdr. Simonia Blassingame works with Navy Capt. Steven Friloux and Richard Gualandi, from left to right, through a workshop exercise at the Strategic Planning for Execution: Assessment and Risk (SPEAR) Workshop held at NPS’ Center for Executive Education, Jan. 27-30. Some 55 senior participants from across DOD are attending the workshop to hone their strategic planning skills, with a focus on risk mitigation.

NPS welcomed command teams from throughout the fleet and beyond to the largest Strategic Planning for Execution: Assessment and Risk (SPEAR) Workshop to date through its Center for Executive Education (CEE), Jan 27. Some 55 senior participants attended the workshop in order to hone their strategic planning skills, with a focus on risk mitigation.

CEE Acting Director Winli McAnally noted this year’s workshop is unprecedented, with nearly double its usual attendance. “I believe the effectiveness of this workshop is spreading and the requests for team attendance are hitting our maximum capacity at NPS,” McAnally noted.

SPEAR Program Manager Paul Stames, an Executive Tailored Support Course coach with the CEE, explained what he believes to be the course’s appeal.

“We are not dealing with hypotheticals here, we are dealing with real challenges in order to help command teams to sustain their missions, to improve their long-term strategies, and to increase their mission effectiveness,” he said. “This workshop allows command executives and leaders to step away from the immediate challenges that their commands face, and to focus on their long-term strategic needs.”

And the SPEAR workshop makes good business sense too, McAnally adds. Disparate commands are often working on similar issues, and workshops like SPEAR offer an ideal venue for the exchange of ideas, lessons-learned and best practices.

“Attendees come to realize that commands are facing similar challenges and are given the opportunity to benefit from the work that other teams are doing,” said McAnally.

Retired Army Lt. Col. Leonard Rickerman with the newly-created Special Operations Command (SOC) North traveled to NPS to take partake in the SPEAR Workshop.

“SOC North is a brand new command … Gen. Jacobi and Adm. McRaven came to the agreement that NORTHCOM [U.S. Northern Command] had matured enough to warrant a special operations command,” said Rickerman. “We were lucky to receive the invite from Dr. Stames during a critical time in the maturing of our command.”

Richard Gualandi, Navy Recruiting Command, Director of Strategy, Legislation and Performance Management, also attended the workshop. His command has been developing various performance strategies over the past few years, and came to SPEAR to validate their efforts and seek opportunities for improvement.

“We have been working on a program to become more productive … We came to NPS see if we are doing the right thing and to make our processes better,” said Gualandi. “We have had some light shed on our processes … SPEAR is a great way to look at what we are doing.”

Rear Adm. John P. Neagley, the deputy commander of fleet readiness with the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems command also weighed in on the workshop’s merits.

“It allows us to take a different set of tools and utilize them to make our plan stronger and more effective,” said Neagley. “The staff here can see things that perhaps you cannot see because you are too close to it.”