Proceedings magazine is a communication tool for the Coast Guard's Marine Safety & Security Council. Each quarterly magazine focuses on a specific theme of interest to the marine industry.
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76 Proceedings Spring 2015 www.uscg.mil/proceedings To address this relatively unknown feature of the entire Hurricane Katrina response, the NSF had to mobilize, be self-suffcient, and handle everything simultaneously, as Paskewich led the rest of his team to confront the human suffering, conduct search and rescue, re-open a paralyzed marine transportation system, re-establish the commu- nications infrastructure, conduct vessel salvage, perform homeland security missions, engage a growing list of stake- holders with different agendas and capabilities, and interact with the 24/7 media. Lead Others, Lead Thyself Bjostad's more personal lessons included how to manage yourself amid the stress of a complex event. It is thus imperative, says Bjostad, that "you maintain con- trol and collegiality. The incident command post, for exam- ple, must be a sanctuary of focused effort and as incident commander you must remain calm and cool when all hell breaks loose." While an incident leader may not know how to solve all challenges or problems, he or she must know how to lever- age resources, admit limitations, and call for help. Bjostad notes, "Leaders who are full of hubris are found out pretty quickly and they make themselves irrelevant by 'winging it,' which is ineffcient and creates a lack of focus." The NSF aims to provide the right mix of cognitive and tac- tical tools to achieve precision management in pursuit of successful incident outcomes. Noting a shift in how success is measured, RDML Gautier, the current U.S. Coast Guard director for Governmental and Public Affairs, suggests, "Success is measured in the public domain by the amount of confdence gained by the public, as well as the amount of confdence gained by our respective leadership." The decisions Bjostad and Paskewich made during their response to hurricanes Ivan and Katrina demonstrate strength in leadership, as well as an understanding of how to build unity of effort — the universal challenge of any response, through authentic stakeholder involvement. For them, one way to lead was accessing NSF utility. As Paskewich notes, "The NSF understands conceptually what needs to occur to achieve full-spectrum dominance during response. I hope organizations cultivate more of that capa- bility; that is, having people with unique recognition skills who can keep things in context and connect dots across the organization, and see when things are not right." About the author: LCDR Jeffrey Rubini is the USCG's 11 th District Response Advisory Team supervisor and Marine Environmental Response program manager. He served from 2002–2005 as the Gulf Strike Team's Assistant Operations Off- cer, Hazardous Materials Response Department head, training offcer, and as a National Strike Force response offcer. Bibliography: Cantin, R., Roger Laferriere, Larry Hewett, and Charlie Henry. (2008). Managing multiple oil spills from a natural disaster: The Katrina oil spill responses. Proceedings of the 2008 International Oil Spill Conference. Kuchin, J. and Larry L. Hereth (1999). Measuring Response: A Balanced Response Score- card for Evaluating Success. Proceedings of the 1999 International Oil Spill Confer- ence. Editor's note: Some of the incident statistics and information in this article come from internal Coast Guard reports and may not be avail- able online. Acknowledgement The narrative is informed by some of the most proven and inspi- rational leaders within industry, academia, and government. I had the great privilege of speaking personally with Admiral Thad Allen (USCG, ret.); Rear Admiral Meredith Austin; Rear Admiral Peter Gautier; Captain Bill Carter; James Bjostad (Captain, USCG, ret.); Frank Paskewich (Captain, USCG, ret.); James Elliott (Commander, USCG, ret.); Professor Kathy Newcomer of George Washington Uni- versity; and Professor William Waugh of Georgia State University. In Support of the OSC Admiral Allen's frst interaction with the National Strike Force occurred in January 1980, when a disabled tug and barge carrying 3 million gallons of No. six oil ran aground in blizzard conditions north of Atlantic City. 1980 Oil Spill Response "I was a lieutenant serving as CO of Group Atlantic City, and at that time I was unfamiliar with captain of the port and FOSC authori- ties. I realized the demands were beyond my capabilities, but I also wanted to optimize my performance, so I asked to serve as the operations section chief. The FOSC had already requested NSF assistance… ." Working alongside then-LT Allen, NSF activities in support of the FOSC narrowly averted an environmental disaster. Behind the Scenes RDML Austin's NSF command philosophy took root while serving as a LCDR at Marine Safety Unit Galveston, Texas. While leading a response and working alongside the National Strike Force, she came to believe that keeping the OSC up-front and the NSF in the background maximizes everyone's utility by allowing the unit to run the case, while NSF integrates where needed or directed. "Always be approachable and collegial, so folks are comfortable coming to you with issues." — RDML Meredith L. Austin CAPT Bill Carter, commander, National Strike Force Coordination Center, sees the NSF providing services going well beyond just spill response. He said, "We aim to give those we support peace of mind. If there's a problem, we will solve it… ."