Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Lone Desert Sailor

Which person in the image above is a Sailor? If you guessed "all of them," then you would be correct. 

The Lone Sailor in Norfolk
Many people recognize the Lone Sailor, an icon in Navy heritage. Symbolic of the honor, courage, and commitment of Sailors to serve their country at sea, the lone Sailor is easily recognized--but "Lone Sailor" can, in some ways, also refer to an Individual Augmentee (IA). Beginning with Navy Reserve mobilizations in response to the events of 9/11, IAs have been serving around the world, providing augmentation to other services, as well as joint and combined commands in support of the Global War on Terrorism and later, in Overseas Contingency Operations. Individual Augmentees are exactly what the title says - individuals who deploy by themselves, without a unit, as additional personnel for another command. Alternately, IAs come from commands throughout the Navy or other services to form an ad hoc unit comprised of all IAs. 

Why does the Navy have IAs? 

All IAs start as requirements tasked in accordance with the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Global Force Management Allocation Program (GFMAP). The GFMAP is the master plan that tasks all missions throughout the world to all services via their capabilities. So, at a greater level, Navy ships and squadrons and units deploy as a sea service for the Joint GFMAP, and IAs are needed to fill requirements at the individual level across all services.

Since 2008, United States Fleet Forces in Norfolk has been the Executive Agent for all things IA – which means finding the personnel to fill the IA requirements; manning, training, and equipping the IAs for the specific mission; and the R3 experience (Return, Reunion, & Reintegration) when they come back to their command and home.
Individual Augmentee (IA) Sailors, assigned to Navy Provisional Detainee Battalion 2,
are greeted by family and friends as they arrive at Naval Station Norfolk.

IAs have non-traditional assignments in two ways. First, traditionally all services fit and train units as a team to perform a mission. For the Navy, operational units are usually ships (aircraft carrier, etc.), squadrons (fighter jets, etc.), or any of several unique capabilities – like SEAL teams or Seabees. The units have a defined structure that varies little but always trains together to perform the mission safely and effectively. Their mission reflects the Navy’s capability and their direction to execute in accordance with the Joint Chiefs’ of Staff (JCS). Individual Augmentees do not have this unit structure and, more critically, the cohesion that develops within a team. IAs will sometimes join a command and mission that is ongoing, such as numerous Joint (multi-service) or Combined (multi-nation) task forces that support US and coalition forces through out the world. Other IAs will fill emergent requirements that are a one-time fill or established to support for a limited, but seldom defined, period of time. Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) and detainee operations (Iraq, Afghanistan, & Guantanamo Bay) are just a couple of the many missions that have lasted several years but are now complete.

(This post was written by Commander Colette Grail.)

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