Learning the skills behind successful Composite Air Operations (COMAO) is not just for the military.
During the late 1960’s the nature of air warfare changed dramatically when the Soviet military began using radar equipped surface to air missiles and fighter aircraft together. The race to counter this new combined threat saw the birth of a new way to deliver air power – the Composite Air Operation, or ‘COMAO’.
COMAO would involve integrating 50+ aircraft of differing roles and nations under a single commander to deliver the desired effects needed in combat. However, for COMAO to be successful, it required learning new planning skills that evolved around leadership, teamwork and brainstorming.
With 30 years of experience in COMAO – including deploying on operations in the Middle East and the Balkans - I have learnt many hard lessons in how to make COMAO better. Moreover, I owe my life to good COMAO planning after an encounter with Serbian air defences whilst on operations in the 90s. Thanks to a successful brainstorm I and my colleagues had correctly identified potential tactical problems before the mission, creating a robust game-plan to ensure success and our own survival.
For COMAO to be successful it needs effective leadership, teamwork and brainstorming.
I was fortunate enough to finish my air force career as an instructor at NATO’s multi-national centre of excellence for COMAO training. It was here that I could utilise my experience to teach the next generation of combat aviators and evolve training for the future. However, the more time I spent training others, the more I could see the benefits of applying COMAO in civilian life - especially in a competitive business arena. Given the dynamic nature of warfare, there is rarely enough time to plan a COMAO; as such, the planning processes need to be both extremely effective and efficient. Time is money in business so taking those military learnings and having an effective and efficient process will make a company more profitable.
The evolution of technology has levelled the playing field in warfighting, placing more emphasis on getting the best each individual human. The side who thinks quickest and adapts better to the opposition’s tactics will win the battle. The same can be said in business. The business with the best human performance will out-compete their competitors, especially when competing companies are using the same equipment/systems.
To get the best human performance, you need good leadership. Tactical leadership in COMAO is the most critical element to achieving success. This is no different to business, especially when the nature of the business means it has various functions that depend on one another in order to deliver a combined effect (the very nature of COMAO). Therefore, team leaders are probably the most valued part of a company; their skills in leadership must be first-rate. Inzpire’s COMAO leadership training will ensure your team leaders are able to turn a higher-level intent into a vision and then drive that vision into its goal, whilst mitigating the associated risks.
The nature of the business means it has various functions that depend on one another.
The world of COMAO is full of high performing pilots and aircrew - it is the very nature of what we do. Yet, with that comes a lot of competition and ego that can easily work against achieving the overall goal. Much like sporting superstars who all join the top team, it doesn’t always mean they become the best team overall.
However, if you can bring together many talented people and get them working as an effective group, you can turn a bunch of individual superstars into a super-team. Without developing the group you will end up wasting the skills brought by many capable individuals.
Getting the best out of everyone to maximise team performance is necessary in COMAO as well as in business and sport, although it can be very difficult to do and requires significant investment. In the military, rapid deployment generally means teams forming at short notice with the pressure of delivering success quickly. This is made more difficult when individuals all come from differing backgrounds and with differing values, which is common in a multi-national environment. COMAO training ultimately provides quick and effective team building skills, accounting for a range of talents that come from differing backgrounds and upbringings.
Inzpire’s COMAO training is divided in to four modules, three of which are focused on learning the following elements:
COMAO training delivers quick and effective team building, accounting for a range of talents.
The context of delivering airpower via COMAO is only one example of how to learn these skills. Inzpire’s COMAO training benefits from using a variety of scenarios to help students develop. Sometimes prejudice or preconceptions of how something should be stands in the way of learning new skills; to mitigate this, we have developed a range of fictitious scenarios to help students quickly learn the merits of leadership, teamwork and process. We can create bespoke scenarios focused on any customer’s need, to help achieve success as effectively and as efficiently as possible – everything can be designed just for you and your colleagues!
No matter the scenario, getting more from your company’s people - especially team leaders - will ultimately make the business more competitive and proficient than its rivals. In a world where businesses have to get everything they can out of the same processes, systems and equipment being utilised by their rivals, it is the people within that business that make all the difference to its success.
Inzpire’s instructors have first-hand experience of COMAO where it has made the difference between success and failure in many conflicts. We can provide a training package adapted to your business needs which will harness all the core skills that have been learnt in the modern air-war for the last 50 years – get in touch to find out more!
Our team are here to help. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small, please get in touch.