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Brazilian Army Officers Fulfill Unprecedented Mission in the Central African Republic

first_imgBy Taciana Moury/Diálogo April 23, 2019 Major Felipe Biasi Filho, Captain Pedro Henrique de Araujo Bezerra Mendes, and Captain Albemar Rodrigues Lima, all from the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese), are part of an unprecedented Brazilian mission to the Central African Republic (CAR). The officers are part of a group of 180 service members from 12 nations, who work at the European Training Mission in the Central African Republic or EUTM RCA (RCA being the French acronym for the African country). EUTM RCA, with headquarters in Bangui, the country’s capital, is a peacekeeping operation that works in coordination with the United Nations Integrated Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic and other international and nongovernmental organizations. The goal is to overhaul the defense department and national security through planning and execution of consulting, training, and operational training activities for the Central African Armed Forces (FACA, in French). “In general, our function is to support the development of FACA’s capabilities, to make it self-sustainable to fulfill legal requirements in the defense and security department,” said Maj. Biasi. The Brazilian officers arrived in the African country in January 2019, and will remain there until January 2020. For administrative purposes, EB service members are linked to the Portuguese contingent. A bilateral Brazil-Portugal agreement approved by the European Parliament secured Brazil’s participation in the mission. History The conflict in CAR started in December 2012. The predominantly Muslim Seleka—a coalition of armed groups from the north of the country, whose name means alliance, in Sango, the region’s creole language—conducted an offensive operation toward the capital and assumed power. Violent incidents led to the emergence of Anti-Balak, Christian allegedly self-defense groups, which aggravated confrontations. EUTM RCA activities are based on three pillars: strategic advice, to aid planning and execution of activities at the Armed Forces General Staff and Defense Ministry levels; educational, to train FACA’s officers and noncommissioned officers (NCOs); and operational training to plan and execute training for segments of FACA units. Within this organization, Brazilian service members occupy strategic advisory positions with Capt. Albemar, and educational advisory positions with Maj. Biasi and Capt. Pedro Mendes. “Capt. Albemar performs logistics advisory functions through the implementation of planning and participation in meetings with the Armed Forces General Staff, the Ministry of Defense, and logistics companies within the country to find solutions and promote the strengthening of the sector,” said Maj. Biasi to Diálogo. “I teach intelligence courses and Capt. Pedro Mendes is in charge of International Humanitarian Law and English,” he said. The officers teach their respective areas in officer training classes, short-term internships, and refresher classes for officers and NCOs who are part of FACA’s Territorial Infantry battalions. At EUTM RCA’s base, the official language is English, used for internal documents and daily briefings. However, French is the language for courses, meetings, reports, and interactions with agencies and local institutions. Preparations for the mission took place in two phases. The first was under the coordination of the Land Forces Command, an EB unit with headquarters in Rio de Janeiro. Participants underwent psychological tests, among others, and received all the material for individual protection, uniforms, and medicine needed for the trip. In December 2018, the second phase took place at the Portuguese Army’s 1st Anti-Aircraft Artillery Group in Queluz city, Lisbon. The unit prepares the Portuguese contingent. “We receive instructions on the current situation in CAR and on the specifics of EUTM RCA. We do target practice with individual weapons (rifle and pistol) from the Portuguese Army, combat first aid and psychological first aid training, and attend French classes,” said Maj. Biasi. Challenge According to Brazilian service members, the unprecedented nature of the experience was the main challenge to overcome. “We must keep the high standards of professionalism and dedication of Brazilian service members who were part of a UN [United Nations] peacekeeping operation,” said Maj. Biasi. “The fact that this activity has a different characteristic from what we are used to with the UN also makes it difficult.” “There is no room for failure; After all, it’s important to be able to contribute to the development of the armed forces of a country that’s temporarily unstable,” said Capt. Albemar. “The best part is to see the initial results of this work on site, with the assurance that this effort contributed, directly or indirectly, to save lives.” Capt. Pedro Mendes pointed out that the sacrifices and risks related to this type of activity are real, but the magnitude of the mission is motivating. “We can honor one of the principles of our profession, which is to avoid war. We help a country devastated by civil war and with serious social issues,” he said. “To be a peace instructor in one of the countries with the worst HDI [Human Development Index] in the world is, without a doubt, one of the most noble missions I was assigned in my life.” The officer also highlighted the importance of Brazilian service members working with different armies worldwide. “This is a way of expressing Brazilian military national power, showing that we are on equal footing with other countries in the world,” said Capt. Pedro Mendes. “The professional exchange enables the training of EB’s human resources.”last_img read more

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Leadership: It’s more than a business plan

first_imgRecently, a colleague shared with me a TED Talk by Bill Gross, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Idealab, a business incubator in California that has started over 100 companies, including Citysearch, NetZero, PETsMart and Tickets.com. In his talk, Gross shares the results of his research regarding what factors matter most for a company’s success. Specifically, he explores the product/service ideas, team, business model, funding and timing of both Idealab companies and high profile non-Idealab companies that have succeeded and faltered.Spoiler alert: If you would like to hear the results from Mr. Gross before I reveal them here, you can easily find the video through an online search. Otherwise, let’s move on…The number one factor in success for the companies studied was timing, followed by the team and execution around the idea. The idea itself ranked as the 3rd most important factor. This means that business model and funding were the bottom 2 factors.What?! The business model is 4th? I know, right?!Funding, I understand. But as leaders we spend a significant amount of time thinking about our business model, crafting strategy, designing 90- and 180-day project plans, forecasting and analyzing data.And, of course, there’s the team. You have to have a good team and with that, I’d say an equally positive culture. But even the idea is 3rd! That’s another big thing we spend time on… thinking of, vetting and promoting our ideas.Perhaps time for a deep breath?Maybe it’s not so shocking, as many business books discuss timing as important, at least in some degree, to the success of most enterprises. That’s where terms like bleeding edge, leading edge and fast follower come into play. Depending on the product, service, and other specifics relative to the business, any or all of those approaches may come into play through an organization’s lifespan.I also think this breaks down further to leadership success. Two of the books I’ve read somewhat recently come to mind when thinking of the importance of timing in leadership.In The First 90 Days, by Michael Watkins, which was recommended by a friend and sent to me by another shortly after my arrival at the New Jersey Credit Union League, there is indeed a focus on having a plan. In this case, not a business plan per se, but a personal plan of action in transitional periods. There are windows, of course, where one may aspire for x, y, and/or z by day 30, 60, etc. However, there is a constant undertone that deals with timing.Through learning, negotiation, team building, and more, a leader looks to move people towards the vision he or she has for the organization. The book also notes the importance of matching strategy to situation, which is also strongly relevant in this sense. While there may be a 90-day plan, as the book title suggests, making sure the team and operational environment is prepared for the steps that need to be taken to move towards the vision is essential. At times this will mean slowing down and veering from your plan to assess and advocate for your idea. In other instances, it may simply be time to move forward so that an opportunity is not missed. In either case there is importance on timing, and as the leader, it is of the utmost importance to be aware of this.Another friend from “credit union land” sent me the book It’s Your Ship, by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, a retired Navy Captain. As a Naval Commander, Captain Abrashoff speaks to the necessity of accountability in his role and that of his team. There are deadlines to be met and long-held expectations and processes associated with military command and execution. At certain times he challenged the status quo in areas ranging from hierarchical expectations to onboarding procedures and even missile training activities. Most importantly, he says, he listened to his team to best understand the areas where his ship could improve.Throughout, Abrashoff references timing, both in the opportunities presented to him in his professional career and as it relates to the transformation of the ship under his command, the USS Benfold, from the bottom of the fleet to the Navy’s top performer. There were instances where he had thoughts on what may inspire his team or improve operations, yet he did not act until the appropriate opportunity arose to provide the highest likelihood of success. The Captain had an action plan which, in the traditional structure of the armed forces, was certainly significant. However, as a leader, he used timing and team, the same 2 elements found at the top of Bill Gross’s list, to drive success.The takeaway, I believe, is that you must have resources, ideas and, most certainly, sound planning to succeed in business. But to move an organization to a point of distinction, a strong team and culture blended with an astute sense of timing, is essential. 30SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Greg Michlig Greg Michlig joined the New Jersey Credit Union League as President/CEO in May of 2013. He has a strong background in the credit union, association and related financial services … Web: www.njcul.org Detailslast_img read more

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Allders chooses McAlpine for £20m site

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