As the only permanent Training Development Officer (TDO) within the United States Security Coordinator (USSC), I have been assigned the unique responsibility of assisting the Palestinian Authority Security Forces (PASF) in the development/expansion of their training system. The USSC approach to supporting PASF training has evolved from providing tactical-level training to focusing more on capacity building and sustainability such that the PASF could eventually develop training programs independently that are pedagogically sound and built upon a clearly defined training requirement. Such is the work currently underway at the Logistics Commission (LC) in Ramallah.
The LC is an organization charged with providing logistical support and leadership on logistics issues across the PASF. As the Centre of Excellence (COE) for Logistics services and training, the LC up until recently was more a consumer of training, not a producer, but this is changing. By partnering with our international colleagues, doctrinal elements of a training system were socialized within the LC that will be applied locally but are consistent with doctrinal direction that the PASF is being encouraged to adopt. This system includes training development activities fashioned after the ADDIE industry standard quality control model. ADDIE being the acronym for: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.
In coordination with the LC, a requirement for Safe Food Handling training was identified. However, with the USSC’s movement away from tactical-level support to capacity building and sustainability, developing a Food Safety training program without integrating the training development skills into the LC would be inconsistent with the USSC approach. Rather, food safety was used as a vehicle by which to integrate broad-reaching capability including providing key members of the LC with skills in task analysis and training design that would give them the ability to participate in qualification standard and training plan writing boards leading to the production of training control documents that the Training Development Officer Branch is familiar. Graduates from this course were now in the position to support the development of training for the Food Safety course spoken of earlier.
The training development course represented, however, but a first step in a much larger effort related to food safety across the PASF. Through partnership with the Palestinian Authority’s Consumer Protection Association (CPA), our project team, which consisted of Palestinian, PASF, Canadian Logistics personnel, and me as project manager, produced and implemented a needs assessment of PASF food safety that included a focus on kitchen infrastructure, equipment cataloguing, equipment life cycle management, food handling procedures, as well as policy and doctrine related to both training development and logistics, and of course, training. This intersection of training and logistics systems necessarily had to be addressed if the conceptual food safety system was going to be successful. This study identified and documented the areas to be targeted for PASF and international support. It represented a strategic-focused activity that members of the LC could continue to pursue under USSC mentorship for years to come.
So, what is the lesson here? As TDOs, by virtue of the jobs we do, simply relying on our technical expertise in training is insufficient. Organizational success is not reliant on the success of any one system but on the harmonization and intersection of a variety of systems across organizational and disciplinary boundaries. It is impossible to imagine implementing a training system at the LC without the assurance (and growth and development, where necessary) of dependent systems. Continuing with the LC example, for food safety training to be successful, its development is dependent upon food safety policy and procedures. PASF food safety policy and procedures are necessarily dependent upon and informed by validated food safety policies and procedures of the Palestine Authority (PA). It is equally impossible to assure a food safety system if the state of equipment and infrastructure cannot support it. The procurement, replacement, and life cycle management of kitchen equipment and infrastructure is dependent (at least for the moment) upon international support. Most importantly, empowering the LC as COE to provide oversight is critical in ensuring that a decentralized program is coordinated and managed by a centralized authority. I am sure you can appreciate that this is no longer a simple training development activity but a major, multidisciplinary project. As TDOs, our knowledge of systems within systems was critical to fully appreciating what at first glance might look like a simple training problem.
There are a few additional lessons here for TDOs who deploy to support the development of training or training systems. We are particularly good at what we do and often we see issues that few else can. If you wish to add value to your team and the host country that you have the privilege of serving, it is imperative that you seek out the problems where they are and truly understand them. If you think an opening exists (choose your battles wisely), act on it. Do not wait to be told to fix them. Seize the opportunity!
A few final words of wisdom. Be sure to include leadership in the decision-making process. Help them understand the vision and keep them informed of your progress. They are an integral part of the solution and will help you open doors that may otherwise remain closed. TFJ R21 was fortunate to have inspirational leadership which made this important work all the more possible.
Lastly, recognize those in the host country, and any internationals supporting your cause, for the work they do. Change takes time but a few moments of recognition go a long way to making change successful and permanent.
As my time draws to a close here in Jerusalem and moving on to the RCAF, I am saddened that I cannot finish what has been started. The enthusiasm that the LC team feels for this project motivates and reassures me and I take comfort knowing that members of the next roto will carry on where we left off. I reflect on the many lessons I have learned here, the most important being leadership, inspiration, having a vision, remaining flexible, and maintaining a positive attitude. Change happens according to the timetable of those you serve. Inspire them and they will surprise you.
Maj Len Matiowsky
Training Management Systems Advisor