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An Introduction for Training Staff
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(This section is not restricted to training staff.  All members are more than welcome to read on in the Training Staff sections.  I do ask that members go through their state staff regarding comments and questions before addressing them to me. 
Thanks, NNN0ASN

Some of you are fairly new to the training field in MARS.  Others have been doing it a good number of years.  Either way, please take a few moments to read through this introduction and the sections that follow.

We are all here for one primary purpose, to help members do the best job they can.  My door is always open so please feel free to contact me at any time with your comments, concerns, questions, and suggestions. I do ask that State and Region staff consult with their respective director, or their counterparts at Region and Area levels first as they can often resolve the question 
My e-mail is nnn0asn@navymars.org

It is not a requirement, but it is highly recommended that the member selected to serve as the area FOUR will have attained the rating of NMO Chief, or higher.  This is recommended because the area FOUR will have copies of the NMO courses answer keys.

  Watch-words for Training Staff
As a member of the Navy Marine Corps MARS training staff you have a monumental task in front of you.  It's not an impossible task by any means, however it does require   diligence, consistency, and correctness.

Diligence that you are ever watchful.  Certainly, no one expects you to be on every net every day, but when you are on a net pay close attention.  Try to check into each net in your AOR (Area  of Responsibility) at least occasionally.  Be watchful of your own conduct on the nets and adherence to the rules.  

Address the "little things", don't wait for them to become a major problem.  There are a variety of ways to address mistakes.  It doesn't have to always be right then on the net.  Read on for more ideas.

Consistency in that what you tell a member on Monday is the same thing you told a member last Wednesday.  Be consistent with NTP-8 and your AOG/ROG.  Consistent also means that what is said in Region One is the same thing staff teach in Region Nine.  Can you imagine if two teams went to the Super Bowl and each decided they were going to play by their own rules, disregarding any NFL rules they didn't like??  For some of us this means a bit of a rethink on what we do.  

"We've always done it this way", or "but this is what works well for us" just doesn't cut it.  The prescribed procedures exist for a reason.  They are the result of many years of experience by the Navy and NMC MARS in what works under the broadest of circumstances, and what does not work well.

Correctness in what you say.  Be certain of the information you give.  Check your references first, don't assume.  One of the greatest problem areas is the tendency to Make Stuff Up (MSU as one longtime MARS trainer is fond of saying).  Not intentionally mind you, it comes from not checking "the book".  It's easy to fall into this trap.  We think we know the answer so we give it without checking the references.  Sometimes misinformation has drifted around for so many years it's taken as "law".  This is the biggest trap of them all.  It's where a great many errors come into play.  As a result wide gaps in procedure exist from region to region.  There is so much stuff in NTP-8 and your AOG, etc. it is highly unlikely anyone has it memorized.

  Look it up!  Always give a reference!  Be certain what you say is accurate.  When you address an error with a member it is vital that you include the relevant references.  If you do not, the member has no reason to accept what you say.   More importantly, you leave them to hunt for the answers.  They are far more likely to look it up when you give the reference, and far more likely to accept the authority by which you addressed them.

The same goes for on-the-air training, whether a formal training net, or a mini training session during a slow period on a traffic net; Include references!  Cite the document, the chapter or annex, and paragraph number(s); or the originator and DTG of a message.  You need to lead the listener directly to the information you are discussing.

When referencing a pub (NTP-8, etc.) do not use page numbers. Instead, always use chapter or annex and paragraph numbers whenever possible.  Pubs exist in a variety of electronic formats.  Some members may reformat with larger print, smaller margins, who knows what all.  Therefore, page numbers are really rather meaningless.

The only authorized and acceptable references, in order of their authority, are:
-Chief MARS official instructions* (usually via CMB messages);
-NTP-8 (series);
Voice Net Standard Operating Procedures (Voice SOP)  short title
-your area directors' official instructions.
-your AOG;
-your region directors' official instructions
- your ROG (if your region has one);
- your state director's official instructions;
-your State Operations Guide (if there is one)

-ECOM Plans: Each administrative level should have one.

State and Region ECOM plans should exist whether or not there is an operations guide.  Although ECOM plans may contain some instructions they are usually more tactical than operational in nature.

* Official instructions means any Instruction, notice, or directive from the listed source.  They will be in writing, usually in a general message.  They will identify the issuing authority, contain an effective date, and an expiration date if one applies.  If no effective date is specified the DTG of a message or the date of a memo, letter, or notice is considered the effective date.  If no expiration date is indicated it probably does not expire until superseded by a subsequent message.

I trust you've had a chance to review the "Introduction to Students and Staff".  It is my desire that we work closely together assisting MARS members to execute the most reliable performance possible through training and skill development.  To this end I seek the wisdom and experience of those who have been training for a while as well as the fresh ideas of the newer members of the training staff.  It is my hope that we can accomplish this by first setting the example that we, as educators, are all on the same page and doing things the prescribed way.

  Basic Staff Duties
The basic duties of all training staff (area, region, and state FOURs) are:
1.) work in concert with the respective director to develop and implement a regular and adequate program of training for new (Tango) members; 

2.)  Work together with your counterparts at the other levels in your area.

3.) provide ongoing training to all members in your AOR to help assure proper procedures and adequate practice in necessary skills;

4.) provide membership support with augmented training such as the NMO grades;

5.) provide corrective training in a low key, non-offensive manner.  All  corrections must be accurate and based on official policy and procedure. Always cite references.

6.) Always be consistent, don't make stuff up (MSU)

Training plans need to be consistent with the area training plan.  State and region plans should not vary from the area plan.  On occasion a state, in particular, may have a desire to add to the area plan to meet specific and unique needs of that state.  However, states and regions are cautioned not to get "creative" just for the sake of being different or unique.  This is how local operations can get far afield from what the rest of MARS is doing.  It's been known to get so far out of hand in fact that the group was barely recognizable as a MARS entity.

 Involve Other Staff
It is very easy to get overwhelmed in the field of training in MARS.  It is best if training staff stick to overall procedural matters.  It is often better to leave specialized elements to the staff whose duties that falls under.  For example, the TEN for Digital operations, the TWO for ECOM, etc.  Consult with your director about how best to approach specific training in your AOR.

  "Basic Training", and other MARS Correspondence Courses
In addition to the above basic duties, Area FOURs have been tasked by Chief MARS with grading of MARS training courses.  See "Grading Correspondence Courses".  This duty falls under the primary responsibility of the area directors.  State and region staff are not authorized this function, or to possess answer keys except by express permission from Chief MARS on a case by case basis.  

The one overall exception is the MOC review test.  The state FOUR should grade the review test so the state director can have a better idea of how their Tango members are doing.  MOC final exams go to the area FOUR, area ONE, or area director, depending on your area director's policy.

  Get Help
Finally, don't hesitate to ask for help.  Your first best source is usually your next level training staff, or your echelon director (state directors for state FOURs, etc.).  If you are totally stuck contact me, but be sure to info your area FOUR so I know he or she is in the loop.  I will be glad to help if I can.  

When contacting me fully identify yourself.  Include your staff position and what area and region you are in.  Be as specific as you can with your questions.  So often I get questions that are written to vaguely.  I have no idea what they are really asking, or who it is that is asking.  This leads to delays in getting you the assistance you need.

When finished on this page please proceed to "Aspects of Training".  There is some very important information there you won't want to miss.

State training staff should consult with their region and area FOUR or state director; region staff consult with the region director or area FOUR.  Area training staff consult with your area ONE, area director, or feel free to contact me, NNN0ASN, at any time.  

Frequently your respective local staff can answer your question.  If they can not, it keeps them in the loop when passing it up the line and getting an answer back.  Additionally, more than one person may have a comment or suggestion about the same topic.  This allows the local staff to compare and make decisions.  Sometimes a question leads to a problem no one recognized before.


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