Lessons Learned graduates in action

LCdr Angus Fedoruk, Lt(N) Justine Aucoin, and Lt(N) Sonya Sowa, review their Lessons Learned notes on Operation Staunch Maple. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

LCdr Angus Fedoruk, Lt(N) Justine Aucoin, and Lt(N) Sonya Sowa, review their Lessons Learned notes on Operation Staunch Maple. Photo by Peter Mallett, Lookout Newspaper

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A new Lessons Learned Program is helping the Canadian Armed Forces enhance the effectiveness of their emergency response.

It was recently tested following Exercise Staunch Maple, a training exercise conducted by Joint Task Force Pacific June 7. It focused on the military’s operational readiness to support the Province of British Columbia in the event of an earthquake disaster.

With the exercise complete, recent graduates of the Lessons Learned Staff Officer Course are analyzing the feedback in order to right what didn’t work and ensure the successes are repeated.

“Most organizations in the public and private sector are about continuous improvement and often perform functional solutions analysis similar to these,” says LCdr Angus Fedoruk, Lessons Learned Coordinator. “Unlike the private sector, which uses Lessons Learned programs to improve profitability, our bottom line is to increase effectiveness, save resources and equipment, and most importantly save people.”

He says that while no training program, exercise or operation can ever reach 100 per cent effectiveness, Lessons Learned is a methodology to make things run more smoothly.

For Staunch Maple, the two recent graduates of the Lessons Learned (LL) course, Lt(N) Justine Aucoin, RCAF LL Staff Officer,  and Lt(N) Sonya Sowa, NATO LL Officer of Primary Responsibility, are developing those solutions.

The two are working in a second floor boardroom at the Wardroom, writing down their key findings on pieces of paper taped to the wall, after pouring over hundreds of observations, notes, recorded comments, interviews and email responses from military personnel who participated in Exercise Staunch Maple.

“There has been a high level of participation at all levels and all ranks,” says Lt(N) Aucoin. “The pieces of paper on the wall are all categorized, and identify what is the real root cause of the problem, and suggestions on how to make things run more smoothly, or how it could work better if we did something a different way.”

Although the deadline for submission of feedback from the exercise has passed, LCdr Fedoruk said that any additional data they receive will still be valued and added to their notes.

He also says the Lessons Learned Program is not about the “blame game”, and that responses from lower-ranked personnel were weighted just the same as senior officers.

“There is a tendency in our organization [the CAF] not to voice criticism; however, criticism is the emphasis of this process,” says LCdr Fedoruk. “This is about getting the facts and learning from them, and not finding someone to blame. It is simply here’s what happened and why. This information is very valuable to us.”

The graduation of Lt(N) Aucoin and her classmates from the program now brings the total number of CAF personnel qualified for Lessons Learned to 300.

“It’s an impressive tally,” says LCdr Fedoruk. “The fact that there exists a large number of personnel qualified to understand and apply the Lessons Learned Program should please commanders and commanding officers as they very likely have one of these folks working for them.”

Lt(N) Aucoin and Lt(N) Sowa will send their recommendations for change to the military’s earthquake provincial response to LCdr Fedoruk, who will move it to the next step of the CAF Lessons Learned Process, identifying the right organization to endorse and direct changes.

Filed Under: Top Stories

About the Author:

RSSComments (0)

Trackback URL

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.