July 16, 2008
Name: Adrian B.
Posting date: 7/16/08
Stationed in: Afghanistan
Milblog: The Satirist at War
The inspiration for this post comes from several discussions I’ve had over the past ten days; some with co-workers, some with friends. The subject of these conversations -- verbal, written, and in some cases play-acted -- has been meetings. As redeployment is just around the corner, and I am an Executive Officer (responsible in garrison for the most boring, frustrating part of a Company’s life: coordination), I’ve been logging no less than four meetings a day for over a week.
War is hell.
The importance of meetings, and the extent to which they are detested, can be seen in the large number of ways there are to say “meeting” in Army-speak. You have:
Meeting — A meeting.
Huddle — A small meeting of those chiefly responsible for a mess that needs cleaning up.
Pre-huddle — A small meeting prior to the actual meeting.
Synch — A meeting.
Azimuth Check / Map Check — A meeting to make sure everyone’s “on the same page” or “tracking.”
Breakout Session — A small meeting after a bigger meeting, consisting of a few key personnel.
Sidebar — A small internal meeting during the actual meeting, usually conducted "offline." Often includes unkind remarks about the meeting's moderator.
AAR or “After Action Review” — An official meeting the purpose of which is to identify what went right/wrong with a mission or Operation. Usually a waste of everyone’s time.
Hotwash — A meeting the purpose of which is to identify what went right/wrong with a mission or Operation. Less formal than an AAR. Generally identifies what actually went wrong.
Sit-down — A meeting.
Pow-wow — A meeting.
Skull Session — Where the “heads” get together to plan “the movement piece.” Typically involves chalkboard / colored chalk or dry-erase board with minimum two colored dry erase markers.
IPR or “Interim Progress Review” — A meeting to gauge progress on a particular project.
In attempting to catalogue the different types of meetings, I’ve thrown out some terms that people may not be familiar with in their Army usage. Here are their definitions:
on the same page — an expression that designates comprehension
tracking — same as above
offline — not during a meeting, or whispered during a meeting
heads — leadership
the movement piece — the fun part of the plan
nug it out — to figure out a problem
Meetings...Lord. I’m typing this up between meetings. Sometimes a day is so thick with meetings, I'll roll through three or four, get into a fifth, and be asked what the progress was on the item asked about in the first; of course, as I've been in meetings since the issue was identified, the progress will be: “none.”
If I’m forgetting anything, let me know.