Proceedings Of The Marine

SPR 2015

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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75 Spring 2015 Proceedings to give honest feedback and to help run the entire organiza- tion, and it's critical you have them around." Hurricane Katrina: 21 st Century Complexity Mr. Frank Paskewich, USCG Sector New Orleans com- mander during Hurricane Katrina, recognized the value of dogs that hunt, and was aware of the National Strike Force (NSF) and its capabilities. He said, "I never hesitated to call the NSF — it was my alter ego to help me run a response." As such, the relationship Paskewich built with the NSF became central to his leadership during Hurricane Katrina. Mr. Roger Laferriere, who then commanded the Atlantic Strike Team, worked the response with him. Paskewich said, "We had a fedgling incident command until Roger straightened it out, setting it into a fully functioning orga- nization that handled all missions simultaneously, not just one at a time." As awareness of the overall devastation evolved, Paskewich learned of multiple large-scale pollution incidents. Paske- wich recalls Laferriere's reaction: "We can run that for you; you have plenty on your plate." " This was one of the best decisions I made — to bring in the experts and let them run the show." — Frank Paskewich 2004 Sector New Orleans commander Paskewich was hesitant, as there was little precedent for designating an incident- specific federal on-scene coordinator (FOSC) from the NSF to run a pollution response of this size. But he gave the NSF incident- specifc FOSC designation, handing them the authority to carry out the USCG's pol- lution response mandates. The pol lut ion re spon s e stemming from Hurricane Katrina was, as Paskewich put s it, "… t he big ge st response that no one knew about," and included six major, four medium, and 134 minor oil spills, as well as thousands of smaller discharges from marine facilities, pipelines, refneries, storage tanks, and vessels. In total, Capt. Frank Paskewich, commander of Coast Guard Sector New Orleans, looks out over the ravaged Super Dome after Hurricane Katrina. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Offcer Luke Pinneo. approximately 8.2 million gallons of oil spilled. That's nearly three-quarters the volume spilled during Exxon Valdez, mak- ing it the second largest oil spill in U.S. history, prior to Deep- water Horizon. As if that weren't enough, the rest of the problem included managing a 1,000-person response force with no infrastruc- ture, no roads, no lodging, and no support, aligning with individual responsible parties, and setting up contractors for approximately 2,500 square miles of Louisiana bays, bay- ous, beaches, canals, marshes, rivers, and wetlands. Complexity and the New Mental Model Though we are unable to predict just how consequential they are, complex events — the Exxon Valdez oil spill, Y2K (the biggest complex event that never happened), the terrorist attacks of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Deepwater Horizon, the 2011 tsunami in Japan, and the West Africa Ebola outbreak — challenge the very assumptions upon which our laws, regulations, doctrine, policies, and plans are written. Peter Senge, Ph.D., senior lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at the MIT Sloan School of Management, calls these our "mental models," our ways of viewing or thinking about the world. 1 Leading during a complex event requires a new way of thinking about the world, the event, the management team, and yourself. In short, it means re-thinking our mental models. Our existing mental models are perpetually overrun by complex events, given the rate of increasing complexity. Whereas, intellectual rigor helps to evolve our mental models, applying the wrong one can have impactful consequences. For example, Admiral Allen, principal federal ofcial for Hurri- cane Katrina response and recovery, demonstrated that Hurri- cane Katrina was wrongly characterized as "just" a hurricane. So using existing hurricane response models narrowed our collec- tive thinking, blinding many to the larger complexities and funda- mental drivers of response decision making. If those complexi- ties and drivers were understood earlier and if we used the right mental model earlier, then response organizations might have been more capable of producing diferent incident outcomes. "This was the equivalent of a weapon of mass destruction, used on the city of New Orleans … ." — Admiral Thad Allen Using the right mental model requires the ability to diversify and align conceptual portfolios with diferent yet complementary ways of thinking. This moves us toward a shared mental model that does better to accommodate complexity. Endnote: 1. Senge, Peter. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization.

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