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Old 08-29-2016, 12:32 PM
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Milsim Leadership and preparation structures: from beginning to end

As we all should agree, Milsim is about simulating the real thing, good, bad and ugly. In any real military conflicts, battle are won with a strong logistics and leadership structure. Any lack of the two and you exponentially increase the risk of mission failure. Milsim is no different. This topic is an open discussion about how to effectively create an effective leadership structure.

To begin, the leadership structure in airsoft/milsim is generally composed of Commander(CO), Executive officer (XO) and Squad Leader (SL). These are the most common roles in play across the community. Depending on the event size, you can then add VIP/Advisors, Lieutenant(LT), Fireteam leader (FTL), etc.

One thing that I personally have a difficult time with, is being able to select competent leaders. In an open play, a team captain can goof off and nothing major will happen. In milsim, if the team captain is not taken seriously or worse, HE doesn't take the leading roll seriously, he should, simply said, NOT BE the leader for that event. An an example, I am the owner/captain of Team Strikers but many, many times, I let my other guys lead for an event because they were more capable than me. No shame to step aside when you know it is for the better good of all.

So to go back to the original issue here, the community must find a way to support, nominate and elect the leaders, like the commander and XO, more efficiently. I don't know, a voting system perhaps? when a CO decide to attend an event, maybe we should have a public poll system just to get more feedback?!

When the leadership chart is fulfilled, you can start preparing for the major "known" tasks and planning tasks. For example;

- Getting in contact with all leadership elements(players).
- Setting up the squads and roles.
- Setting up the comm net.
- Make sure players have the proper equipment
- Etc.

It is a misconception to think that knowing the missions ahead of time will make things better for the simple reason that missions are very adaptive. Whatever is planned ahead of time can changed within minutes of starting time. Another example would be when players lose radio contact and then wonder what to do next? that is the kind of things that SHALL be planned WAY ahead of time, regardless if there is a player pack or not. So while the missions can change, the way your squad shall react, communicate and adapt should not change, regardless of the event you are going.

So in your opinion now, what should be implemented to:
1. Guaranty better/competent leaders.?
2. Create a solid preparation structure. ?
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Old 08-29-2016, 02:01 PM
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It's so hard to say what is a good commander anymore. The commander really depends on the people around him. That being said, if the commander isn't organized then things will fall apart right from the start. You need to have squads, leadership, comms, briefs, etc. planned well in advance of an op. Too many guys come in with zero plan and fly by the seat of their pants. That leads to breakdown in CoC.

I know there are some LTs and whatnot out there willing to teach some ready leadership how to motivate, lead, and form tactics that will ensure a good fight. I think we need a few leadership courses through the year. Gives you a chance to meet your command elements and those command elements a chance to prove they can do it.

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Old 08-29-2016, 02:16 PM
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I don't think there's much you can do about choosing competent leaders. The reason being that unless you're know they're competent and ask them to volunteer for the part and they do so willingly knowing the effort it will take, then it's a crapshoot. Most veteran players want to get out there and fight, not issue commands. The people that do volunteer are often optimistic and motivated, but there's no telling the experience they have. This could be their first leadership position ever. They may lack the foresight to do proper planning and organization.

I think that leaders should receive some guidance on what to prepare for because it is entirely possible that those who volunteer simply wait until the day of the event to get their information. Some may say "well they need to be proactive" but if they've never led, how do they know to be proactive? It may just take telling the person that they need to establish their chain of command, unit structure, comm net, etc. to get them to do it. Maybe the leader doesn't know exactly how to go about doing that. Franc, I think as far as things you can do, maybe just shooting the volunteer leadership a message to make sure they're on track. There's no need to do it for them when they can do it themselves.

As far as a preparation schedule, maybe there needs to be a short list of responsibilities for leadership made so that COs, XOs, PLs, PSGs, SLs, and TLs know what they're all supposed to do at their levels. There is no definitive guide to leadership, and I know the next thing that will be posted is "well then research it" but again this goes back to the problem of new leaders maybe not knowing what to know. If our answer to these kinds of questions is "look it up, don't ask me" then we're dooming ourselves. Leaders are forged through the leadership of others.

I'd love to play as leadership for an event, but the issue of scheduling airsoft with ROTC and college classes is a pain in the ***. I've been pretty lazy with event attendance since Assault on Volgograd though, so we'll see what I can work out.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Blade View Post

So in your opinion now, what should be implemented to:
1. Guaranty better/competent leaders.?
2. Create a solid preparation structure. ?
Perhaps a mentor kind of thing? There are a few commanders that we all recognize as being able to get the job done. Perhaps let them name a successor and have the new commander be an XO for an event or two?

Kind of like real military, work your way up through the ranks. Or have people prove themselves by being leaders in your smaller events and you could have a pool of people that are known to you. This way you would also be able to ensure that they are used to your style of event and they can make decisions in the spirit of the rules you put down.

I don't know if it would work, just brainstorming =)
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:48 PM
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Without intending to get off topic, my feedback is in general to the original question on FB of how to keep milsim events going in our current environment.

While an effective command structure will win or lose the game, I think game design is more important if the goal is to keep people going on objectives and not being concerned will how much trigger time they had.

For example, this spring my guys and I hit up a Third Coast Airsoft event in south Chicago. We hadn't been really happy with LC events as of late, we felt they were largely turning into open plays at really great venues.

Third Coast used a simple yet really effective model that I feel would work well with Blind Fury given how many people BF can bring in. They simply used 6+ objective locations that had a pelican box with a point counter inside. The whole goal was take control of the objectives, switch the toggle on the box to your team, and watch the point s for your team start accumulating. At the end, staff simply collected the boxes and totaled up the points.

The benefit of this was even if you had a total commo breakdown, everyone still knew the large/overall goals - capture and hold the points. The winners would of course be determined by who had good commo and knew where to allocate human resources, but everyone was still able to stay on the overall mission regardless of command breakdown.

Now, a setup like this can of course be enhanced by having supplemental FRAGOS/DAMs, side missions, whatever. I just think when you're trying to keep an event of this size, age groups, and varying experience levels; simplicity/clarity on a large portion of the objectives is a great thing.

To speak more to Franc's original post. Here is what I think works:

-Whitelisting COs/XOs. EOs can share who has done an effective job leading smaller events so that when it comes time to recruit for large events, you actually have a pool of vetted people to contact.

-Emailing Info. While I think it's good and necessary that a site/FB page/forum thread has documents and roster info, I think top down email communication starting from the CO/XO is the most effective way to make sure the command structure is in the loop ahead of time. Require a personal email address for each player. It just always seems that when private forums and/or private FB groups are used that only a small % of folks get registered.

-Forced small briefings. Make the final ticket/patch/whatever needed to gain entrance to the field only obtainable after viewing/listening to a small group on-site briefing. Roll these briefings every 10-15 minutes while chronos are open.
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Old 08-30-2016, 12:58 AM
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I think there's a lot of good ideas here. I like the idea of a whitelist for leaders, as well as a system where you can't be a platoon leader until you have played as a squad leader, can't be an XO until you've succeeded as a platoon leader, etc. I don't know if there is enough consistency in people to make that work; you guys would know better if there is a large enough pool of prospective leaders to make that kind of thing work.
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Old 08-30-2016, 02:14 AM
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First let me say even the worst BF event is still a really good time! I was on the tan team this year and I will have to say our CO/XO failed to even communicate with me through FB posting or emails even worse I came out friday to touch base with the CO and just here what plans I may have missed and the CO had no clue what was going on. I feel the best approach for future events is for Blade to actually get COs that are not part of the paid participants and he is 100% percent confident they will command and control there team, the XO should be from the paid players.

One thing a CO needs to understand is he/she is no longer a fighter they need to focus on giving assignments to squad leaders and monitoring progress to meet the objective. A CO can not do this if they are part of the battle. A idea for solving this issues is to place each team CO in a permanent Command Post that can not be captured. All scenario objectives from the EO would be given face to face to each teams Command post not over the radio, this would eliminate confusion that can happen over unclear radios. Once each CO gets the objective its up to them to assign squads either by radio or the old fashion way of assigning a runner to send the message to a squad.

Just and idea but it seems that three teams just creates way to much chaos and frustration, scale back to 2 teams with clear objectives.

Just and Idea, how about assigning each team a Base at each end of the field and start the game from there with one main objective, NOT loss your base while completing objectives assigned from the EO.

Another issue I have noticed at every BF and other games is medic rules and how to properly enforce them. In real life you get shot your either dead or you go to hospital, at milsim you get shot, dragged to a place out of fire and get revived right where you lay and then you are right back into the fight from right where you died makes it difficult to determine if a team has lost the battle and the real estate. Maybe change it up that you have to go to a field hospital away from the fight, establish the field hospitals within 200 yards of each location on the map, medics get to you put your tourniquet on then you can be escorted by the medic or one player to the field hospital. You could even place event staff there to track how many kills for each team and incorporate that into a scoring system for the event.

I know how much work it must take to plan this event and even more how hard it is to get staff to help run the event. It may surprise you how many of us in the Airsoft Community would be willing to volunteer to help run the event with no more than a cool t-shirt and a thank you.

I know as an EO this year frustrated you, but honestly it was still fun. I do agree that it is time for a format change and asking for input like this a positive direction. I look forward to more BF, just like several others out there and I am willing to help out even if that means not playing but volunteering to help.
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Old 08-30-2016, 08:54 AM
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I know first hand that leadership can be tough both before and during an event. I think that Jonah as CO for Civi's did a fantastic job in both aspects. That being said, I have also been at events where the COC either was not good and/or broke down. A prime example was 2 years ago at Blind Fury where Jonah had a death in the family and could not attend. Friday night I stepped up and got civi's organized until Greg could arrive and take over as CO. On Sunday, Greg had gotten zero trigger time with his brand new stoner and I again stepped up to get that man on the field. I use this as an example not to boast but to show that on the field when COC breaks down or coms are crappy, someone needs to step up and take charge. I saw veteran players on green and tan this year. If you are having those issues, take charge get in touch with Blade or your event EO, advise them of the situation, and get those objectives and set your men in motion.
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Old 08-30-2016, 10:45 AM
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I think the registration and cut of dates need to be finalized a little sooner. I know this limits the amount of players you'll end up with, but this gives command (a quality CO) sufficient time to set a CoC, with players who actually want to be there.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:41 AM
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Typically, I agree with the concept of the CO for large milsim games as a game staff/admin -- This would help make sure the CO is on task, and creates an easy line of communication between the EO and the COs, who should be working closely in any case.

Another idea I think would help is having a check in table for each team when players arrive on site -- COs (or their staff) check people against a roster, make sure they know what squad they're playing with, direct people to their chain of command, and can answer questions before the game. Since most players can't be bothered to to plan ahead of time (Or just never communicate), you're generally organizing half your squads on the day of game anyway, so it gives you an opportunity to fill out the TOE instead of trying to organize people at the last minute during briefing.
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Old 08-30-2016, 01:10 PM
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All ideas are great here, gotta remember them myself in case I'm ever in command/hosting....
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Old 11-14-2016, 05:03 PM
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This seems very similar to a topic I just replied to. So I'll copy & paste my response and add to it based on other comments.

Originally Posted by Kishi
I like the idea of making a ranking system of where you start at the bottom and climb, but then where do you start?
As event organizers, do YOU assign the roles upon these players and see who does well, and do you change it up?
Do you assign CO XO and ask for feedback?
Basically i'm asking, how do you start a rank system with no current rankings at hand?
I am quite interested in the aspect of MilSim that this could add to games and such.

I know, I myself, have always been a Squad Leader at most games except Crucible IV i was a soldier who was moved to Squad Leader by forfeit or default (original SL had to end up being staff.) and Crucible V where I proudly served as IAC Recon with Hogue as Recon SL.
With our OP Arthur series, we have chosen members of our team to be CO for the factions.
I attended OP Redemption Road a year or so ago as a rifleman with no responsibilities other than to shoot. Throughout the course of the game, I was promoted to Squad Leader, then to CO after our CO threw a temper and exited the game or something.

My point is all players have different experiences that COULD qualify them.
Should we have them submit some sort of resume perhaps?
All too many times, I've seen command structures fail at low-scale MilSim games due to a lack of command structure. I won't name these games specifically because I don't want any anuses hurt, nor do I want to seem like "Mr Hot-shot I can do better" because honestly, who the hell knows.
Although at bigger sized games: Crucible IAC IV and V, Blind Fury XII, these games have had some of the best command structure I've seen in the last two years (as far as games I've attended) and it is EASY to see the difference.

Originally Posted by tombo131
-Whitelisting COs/XOs. EOs can share who has done an effective job leading smaller events so that when it comes time to recruit for large events, you actually have a pool of vetted people to contact.

-Emailing Info. While I think it's good and necessary that a site/FB page/forum thread has documents and roster info, I think top down email communication starting from the CO/XO is the most effective way to make sure the command structure is in the loop ahead of time. Require a personal email address for each player. It just always seems that when private forums and/or private FB groups are used that only a small % of folks get registered.

-Forced small briefings. Make the final ticket/patch/whatever needed to gain entrance to the field only obtainable after viewing/listening to a small group on-site briefing. Roll these briefings every 10-15 minutes while chronos are open.
I wholeheartedly agree and enjoy the thought of implementing all of these ideas.
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Last edited by Kishi; 11-14-2016 at 05:18 PM.
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