By LTC Randy James, Aviation Division, Directorate of Assessments and Prevention, U.S. Combat Readiness CenterSeptember 2, 2020

(Photo Credit: U.S. VIEW original

As we close to the finish of the fourth Quarter of fiscal Year 2020, the year has actually been fraught with numerous challenges requiring separation, personal, instance units, aviation, and also the as a totality to review how it operates. Whether this is early out to changes in the unit mission, in airframes, progress in future vertical lift, or the outcomes of COVID, everyone must review how to execute training and operations in ~ the new environment. Additionally, over the past 6 months, FlightFax focused primarily on the 4th Quarter Spike looking at exactly how we assess, train, and change our devices deliberately. Come be most effective, we should ensure that we codify these changes and also best practices in standard operating procedures (SOP) to preserve standardization and continuity across our organizations and reduce overall workload.

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What is the purpose of an SOP?

According to Joint publication (JP) 3-31, joint Land Operations, “a typical operating procedure is a set of instructions applicable come those features of operations the lend themselves to a identify or standardization procedure there is no the loss of effectiveness.” Therefore, the purpose of one SOP is come standardize exactly how a unit operates through the use of organizational finest practices to maintain the efficacy the the organization. Through the usage of an SOP, each individual Soldier has actually a all set reference to understand how a unit operates and how certain tasks room to be accomplished at a specific unit. The SOP chin clarifies the nuances of operation within the limitations and also challenges certain to every individual unit’s scenarios to preserve and also often boost efficacy.

How go the SOP alleviate workload and also improve safety?

Standard operation procedures have the right to vastly minimize workload by garnering effectiveness in operations. When developing an SOP, standardization gives common, tested procedures for executing particular tasks whether maintenance, administrative, operational or many others in accordance v the ideal practices that the certain unit and also mission. Additionally, because the procedure is created in writing and also derived from proper regulations, it gives a solitary point of recommendation for all Soldiers conducting the task. This process eliminates wasted initiative from each Soldier make the efforts to identify his/her own version the the best way to execute a task. Furthermore, as component of the assessment process, SOPs deal with associated safety challenges to avoid accidental loss, preserve military assets, and also maintain unit effectiveness. Finally, that eliminates the lose of finest practices due to Soldier sales in the unit. The standardized procedure is codified for continuity, safety, and efficiency in the SOP.

Is this really just how we carry out it?

When who asks the question of “Why room you doing it this way?” during a task, many hear the an answer of, “Well, it is the means we’ve constantly done it.” However, this declare alone doesn’t give a enough answer as unit operational settings change. If an activity is in reality the way it has always been done and is the best method to keep effectiveness, then, it have to be reflected in the unit SOP for standardization throughout the organization. If the activity is no the most efficient or encode in one SOP, then, the organization must conduct a reevaluation the the job to determine the best means to execute and also then standardize the process. Adhering to this evaluation, the determined best practice have to then be included into the unit SOP. The answer should never be “That’s the means we’ve always done it.” The answer must be “Because it’s in accordance v our SOP.”

Over time, the setting of the organization will continue to evolve through some changes an ext drastic than others. In ~ a minimum, every SOPs need to be reviewed and also verified v the adjust of every regime manager, coordinator, and/or command to for sure the SOP continues to be valid. Essentially, at any time the signature block that the SOP changes, the SOP must be updated. In stimulate to do this, the reviewer and also signer have to assess how the unit operates offered the many current situation or forecast unit environment and update the SOP. This ensures the the unit stays effective and efficient.

How has actually this changed recently?

Over the past 6 months, the operational environment has adjusted drastically as result of the development of COVID-19 as part of our daily lives. It has affected daily routines, training, and operations as result of social distancing requirements, transforming schedules in ~ work, additional an individual protective devices (PPE), changes in a permanent readjust of station (PCS)/deployment timelines, and other aspects peculiar to every unit. Over time, units proceed to develop brand-new ways to mitigate these challenges and readjust operations because that safety, effectiveness and also efficiency. These difficult lessons learned have noted numerous modified and standardized procedures that must be encode in an SOP for every members the the unit to understand. Together the environment and COVID-19 restrictions change, new challenges will certainly arise necessitating a testimonial of the SOPs to adapt to the next environment.

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When to be the last time her unit the evaluation its SOPs? SOPs room there to support unit effectiveness, alleviate workload, and improve security through standardization the processes. SOPs must be validated often and also updated together the environment, personnel, and standards evolve end time. They space designed to alleviate the must tell each individual Soldier exactly how to do a specific task instead of having actually them know, understand, and internalize a proven, standardization process. Traditional operating steps are there to improve in its entirety unit performance.