Management Consulting Group – Planning

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Category: Oversight and Accountability

Management Consulting Group – Planning

Management ConsultingStrategic

Strategic and Tactical Planning


As an ethos, Management Consulting is at the very heart of who we are and what we’re about.  After all, bringing together the highest quality deliverables to address engineering needs, develop process auditing,  manage risk, or guide your project is meaningless if we don’t already have set in place a bullet-proof management plan that will ensure success.  Because of our 70+ years of combined experience in these areas, our Client Family is assured of comprehensive guidance.  In today’s post we’ll focus on one area we absolutely love and thrive upon – Strategic and Tactical Planning.


Strategic and/vs. Tactical

First off, let’s recognize that there is a difference between the two.  Strategic refers to long-term, broad-based business goals, objectives, and even wishes.  The Tactical Plan feeds from the Strategic and is much more short-term (even immediate) and normally narrowly focused.  Finally, a strategic plan is more concerned with the future while the tactical is concerned with the here and now.  To be even more specific, it is possible to have a Strategic Plan without a Tactical Plan but, in the strict interpretation, you cannot have a Tactical Plan without a Strategic Plan.  Why?

For those familiar with the strategic planning/project management process, the creation of action items and assignment of individuals or groups to complete them is a sign that you are nearing the “end of the beginning” in creating your strategic plan.  Many times those responsible for completion are key-persons involved in plan creation resulting in no “trickle-down” to management at other levels – NO Tactical Plan.  In others, the direct result of action item creation is the Tactical Plan and assignment of action items (the tactical plan itself) to management staff at lower levels who have a better understanding of day-to-day mechanics and are more in-tune with “how” as opposed to the “what”.


RTSGC Planning Aspects

  1. We utilize your key personnel, and others, in the creation and facilitation of an Advisory Board.
  2. We guide a review of your company’s Goals and Objectives, Mission and Vision Statements, and previous elucidations (if any), in the strategic plan area.
  3. We arrange for and guide a complete evaluation of your organization’s Corporate (or Agency or Non-Profit) Structure and reassignment or modification of hierarchical metrics, as needed.
  4. We perform an in-depth analysis of Internal Operations, preparing and delivering a report, for the preceding 3 years, minimum.
  5. Following recognized best practices, we guide you in completing a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) Analysis, defining Core Purpose & Ideologies, identifying long-term goals and objectives, and completing an Environmental Scan.
  6. We facilitate the creation of a Media/Marketing/Advertising aspect of your Strategic and Tactical Plans.
  7. We aid your embedded HR department in full development of all key Position Descriptions.
  8. When appropriate we facilitate the process of converting Action Items to a geographically by department focused Tactical Plan.
  9. We annually direct the process of setting in place an operational work plan for the upcoming year based upon creation of the Tactical Plan.
  10. Annually we guide your CXO professionals in defining/redefining aspects of the strategic plan to be addressed in the Tactical (Operational) (Work) Plan.

The planning process is NOT just for large corporations.  In fact it can be especially beneficial for small, family run businesses and non-profit organizations because it brings experts with different perspectives to the table and requires a great deal of introspection from participants.  There are so many other areas in which a properly facilitated and executed plan can concern itself and most of these are specific to you, your company, and the industry in which you operate!  Reach out to us for more information

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Cultivate Female Afghanistan Leaders


(In)Effectiveness of Targeted USAID Afghanistan Program

In late 2014 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it would be spending in excess of 400 million U.S. tax dollars on a program to “empower AfghanistanAfghan women”.  Called Promoting Gender Equity in National Priority Programs or “PROMOTE”, it “seeks to advance opportunities for thousands of Afghan women to help them become leaders in the political, private, and civil society sectors”.  Less than 2 years later the U.S. Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction (SIGAR), expressed concern stating that “the Afghan women engaged in the program may be left without any tangible benefit upon completion” — which could be construed as the American taxpayer having squandered (potentially) hundreds of millions of dollars.

One of the supported activities of PROMOTE is the educational workshop.  In a recent article by Dr. Cheryl Benard published via the National Interest, USAID’s design, staffing, and implementation of PROMOTE workshops was brought into serious question.  The author notes that the workshops are set-up specifically to not provide deliverables like educating attendees on increasing crop yields, basic how-to’s on identifying diseases, or teaching carpentry 101.  Instead they apparently are, “sessions in which women, mostly, and generally the same ones over and over again are informed by their trainers that they are equal, important, and born to be leaders.”  Dr. Benard goes on to explain that the reason why the same participants are seen continuously at these workshops is that, “those who speak good English and have the savvy to get themselves on the invitee list (are) recycled endlessly because that’s so much easier than looking for new candidates.”  Bernard also claims that the USAID trainers direct participants to “practice writing their ‘visions for the future’ on a whiteboard and giving fictitious radio interviews.”  Benard concludes by stating that, “if they play their cards right, (the women can move on) to the advanced class and the refresher workshop and the specialized class on how to run for office.  It can become something like a profession, with free meals, a stipend, days spent in nice hotels and for the especially lucky, conferences in Dubai or Europe or even the United States.”

We at RTSGC believe the PROMOTE program, while striking in planned scope and potential coverage, has fallen short of expectations most especially when it comes to implementation and gaining traction.  “Young Afghans are the future of their country, and our aim is for the young women who participate in this program to be the future leaders of all sectors of Afghan society.” – USAID Afghanistan Mission Director Bill Hammink.  An admirable goal to be sure, however only cursory research is required to find just how non-impactful the program appears to have become.

Created in 2008, SIGAR’s mission is to “promote economy and efficiency of U.S.-funded reconstruction programs in Afghanistan and to detect and deter fraud, waste, and abuse by conducting independent, objective, and strategic audits, inspections, and investigations to promote efficiency and effectiveness of reconstruction programs, and to detect and prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayer dollars.  SIGAR also has a hotline that allows individuals to report suspected fraud”.  Unfortunately with little or no ability to affect and enforce change or at the very least to refer for accountable consequences, SIGAR’s exemplary reporting has resulted in limited meaningful action and is unlikely to do so unless the new U.S. administration follows-up to effect change and eliminate waste.  In fact in a December 18, 2014 report, SIGAR states, “the Defense and State Departments and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) were (in many cases) unable to identify the portions of programs that specifically related to Afghan women.”

So, all of this begs the question, “How do Afghan women benefit from this costly USAID program (PROMOTE)?  At RTSGC, this is of special concern to us as our CEO invested many years embedded in-country working with the very people, men and women, the PROMOTE program is attempting to educate and protect.  He witnessed first-hand the well documented physical and mental abuse and oppression of women.  In her National Interest Article, Dr. Benard opines that, “The challenges & atrocities that women in Afghanistan face in order to secure an income for her family to raising children amidst the harsh economic crisis are increasing and it is primarily because of the lack of political will and laws that perpetuate gender inequity at the national level.  When you are highly advanced and living in peacetime, and your switch turns on the lights, you can define “empowerment” as meaning that women should speak up more loudly in the next board meeting.  But when you are trying to dig out from over  forty years of war, and when you were one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world even before that, “empowerment” might (simply) mean: (a dam that brings actual power to your home).”

In a country so fundamentally different culturally from the US, we at RTSGC, agree fundamentally with Dr. Benard.  We believe a more appropriate course of action would be to focus first on completing “bricks and mortar” projects such as power generation and distribution, textiles, rare-earth mining, specialized agricultural development (e.g. saffron production), building new schools, road construction, providing safe drinking water, and other infrastructure type/impactful-on-the-LONG-TERM opportunities versus attempting to dramatically shift an existing culture to a more Westernized way of thinking.  Opportunities for such efforts could synergize with women-owned business development efforts.  In fact, we believe that a much more effective way to spend US tax dollars would be to focus on those ideas and projects that are going to have the most impact, over the longest period of time, impacting the greatest number of people.  Common sense?  You decide.

“Ground truth…”

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US Plans Expansion of UK Intelligence Drawdown


Civilian Intelligence Assets Pay the PriceSatellite Dish

In early 2015, the BBC reported that, as part of the DOD base-closure/cost-savings program, the United States Air Force would be eliminating intelligence and other facilities located in the United Kingdom.  Specifically those at RAF Mildenhall, RAF Alconbury, and RAF Molesworth.  “US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said the Americans will leave (as) part of a program to save $500m a year across Europe. The USAF lease(s) the RAF bases.”

While significant expansion seems to be taking place at RAF Croughton, as reported in the Banbury Guardian.  “The former RAF bomber base, now fully operated by the USA, is set to become the center for consolidated operations from other US intelligence groups based at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire.  The new, ultra-secure Croughton could be staffed by 1,250 personnel covering operations in Africa, a current focus for US counter-terrorism activities.”

A recent article from Stars and Stripes by John Vandiver calls into question just how far the US will take the drawdown in the “land of our cousins across the pond”.  “Congressional legislation to eliminate housing subsidies for hundreds of U.S. intelligence analysts based in the United Kingdom, the latest salvo in a battle with the Pentagon over a base relocation plan, has raised fears about a possible exodus of qualified personnel.”  Many are concerned that the US Congress may be now irreparably harming the very apparatus that is vital to the protection of its citizens.

The Vandiver article goes on to note that, “The proposal to end housing benefits for all Defense Intelligence Agency employees assigned to U.S. European and Africa Commands is contained in the House’s Intelligence Authorization Act for 2017.  The legislation, which has already passed the House and now must be considered by the Senate, would effectively cut off all living quarters allowances for roughly 1,000 personnel.  Those housing benefits, considered recruiting incentives, apply toward rent and can add up to as much as $3,000 per month.”

A DIA spokesman commented, “Our talented dedicated analytical workforce that fulfills a critical mission requirement overseas, could be faced with a decision of ending their tour early.  Employees considering tours overseas might not want to go.”

This concerns us greatly at RTSGC as we believe there is no substitute for the human component when it comes to information gathering.  HUMINT – arguably producing the highest quality information – is not possible without actual personnel at many levels.  While there is some consolation in the expansion of the US presence at other facilities, we would submit that the potentially permanent loss of civilians operating within our information gathering community is a catastrophe that must be avoided.

“Ground truth…”

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