AURORA, Colo. (NNS) -- More than 70 senior officers, enlisted leaders and civilians from the Navy's Information Dominance Corps Reserve Command (IDCRC) gathered at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, May 15-17, to chart a course forward for one of only two Navy Reserve Commands permanently led by a Navy Reserve Flag Officer.
Rear Adm. Daniel MacDonnell, Commander, IDCRC, opened the annual leadership conference by sharing his perspective on how the IDCRC needed to build upon its existing relationships and continue to develop stronger collaboration with its active duty counterpart, the newly-established Information Dominance Forces (IDFOR) Command, and with the individual active duty units the IDCRC's Sailors supported.
"Our mission is to meet the demand signal from our active duty forces," MacDonnell reminded his leaders, "and ensure that our 7,000-plus Sailors are trained, equipped and ready to bring our capabilities and skillsets to the warfighter. To meet that goal, we must continue to integrate our communities so that we can collectively leverage our capabilities as a single Corps and maintain a ready force to support operational commanders."
MacDonnell's message was reinforced by the participation of Rear Adm. Linnea Sommer-Weddington, director of Assured Command and Control within the OPNAV directorate of Information Dominance (N2/N6) of the Chief of Naval Operations, who shared the Information Dominance Corps (IDC) perspective on how IDCRC units and Sailors help create operational advantages for the Navy by integrating formation functions, capabilities and resources to optimize decision-making and maximize warfighting effects.
The IDCRC was established in 2012 to man, train and equip Reserve personnel from the space, information warfare, oceanography and meteorology, information professionals and intelligence communities, who all play critical roles in the maintaining the Navy's three core Information Dominance capabilities: assuring command and control, maintaining battlespace awareness and integrating kinetic and non-kinetic fires.
Because of the critical value of these capabilities to the Navy today, a common theme of the conference was the importance of appropriately managing the rapid expansion and growth of the IDCRC, which surpassed 7,000 billets for the first time in April, accounting for more than 10 percent of the entire Navy Reserve.
"I have never seen changes and increases in billets and in units like this," said Michael Kautz, the IDCRC director for Manpower. "We now have over 5,000 Sailors spread across 125 units, and nearly 2,000 Sailors in embedded billets. By fiscal year 2019, we are expecting to add nearly 1,000 more billets to the Command."
With a large number of senior enlisted leaders participating, the perspective of the enlisted Sailors was often a topic of conversation.
"This three-day evolution helped to ensure that the IDCRC's senior enlisted leaders were able to share with our flag officer and senior officers the perspective of Sailors throughout the Command," said IDCRC Command Master Chief Joseph Dooley. He extolled the benefits of the conference as it provided an opportunity to network, to receive and discuss feedback and to determine what course corrections could be made to better support Sailors as the IDCRC continued its rapid growth.
As the IDCRC approaches its third anniversary, a great deal of effort is still required to create a shared sense of mission and purpose among Sailors hailing from five historically distinct communities.
"It is critical that we continue to celebrate the diversity of our different communities, even as we pursue greater integration," said MacDonnell. "Our aim is to take the best processes and procedures and standardize them across the IDCRC. However, it is important to respect individual communities' traditions when they make sense. An excellent example of this is the intelligence community's unit awards program. Any time you become part of a larger group, it is important that you step back and examine how you do things, with the goal of making the entire organization better."
As part of the effort to make changes that would positively impact all elements of the command, IDCRC leadership polled regional leaders prior to the conference to identify areas for improvement. Based on that feedback, conference attendees were broken up into workings groups to study six problems and challenges that have the potential to be addressed through small but measurable improvements.
Over the last two days of the conference, each working group developed and presented a solution for their assigned challenge. The challenges included efforts to improve the enlisted warfare qualification process, create standardized practices across IDCRC regional commands and create a better process for communicating with the IDCRC's 2,000 embedded Sailors. Over the next year, each of the six regional IDCRC commanders will be responsible for implementing and refining one of the solutions, setting the stage for future IDCRC-wide introduction of tested and proven solutions.
For more news from Navy Information Dominance Forces, visit www.navy.mil/local/navidfor/.