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March 25, 2011 | Major Wayne Wall

Hello again everyone. Just wanted to take a few minutes to tell you all a few things about my experiences over the past few weeks. As I said before, writing is a bit challenging for someone working in my position because at this level almost everything has some level of sensitivity to it. It also requires time that I still have to struggle to find.

Life in this senior staff position has been very taxing. As a member of the DCG-O CAG I am bound to my boss's schedule, and he is a very busy individual. For those that don't know what a CAG does, we work to ensure that the boss is prepared for all the events on his calendar. We also work with the staff as a sort of fast lane for ideas, helping them to better understand the boss's intent and brainstorming new ideas that may have benefit. All of this requires us to be aware of everything that is going on in our area, and to understand how the boss views those things.

As a FAO, I focus on political-military, cultural, and regional matters. I am by default the point of contact for a lot of embassy matters due to my previous experience. I go on key leader engagements (KLEs) as a note taker and observer. In this area my training in Arabic has proven very useful, as often I am the only one who can keep up with everything that is being said whenever an interpreter is not nearby. The last thing I'll add is that I also put together information papers for circulation amongst the senior leaders and staff on cultural and regional issues. These papers help frame issues for leaders and staff that may not have contextual perspective on certain issues, and help jumpstart thought processes. The ability to add this perspective is one of the unique tools that a FAO brings to the fight and is a direct result of the FAO training program. Although, in a place like Iraq where everyone is on their third or fourth deployment, you do have to be tactful with how you interject that perspective.

So, enough shop talk. On a more human experience level, I'm surviving. The days are super long and just about everyone I know who was envious of the fun time I had traveling last year is now reminding me that I was due for a little payback. I don't mind... This is a great assignment and a very interesting time to be in Iraq. I have a great view of events and I'm doing work that I love. I may complain about not having time to do my own thing (I had hoped to spend time a lot more time in the gym), but I can't complain about the meaning of the work. I miss family and friends, and I really didn't get any time back in the States after Jordan, so I'm looking forward to R&R leave in a couple of months. May be a bit early to think about it, but the thought keeps me going.

That's it for now... Back on my head.


Deployment, iraq, fao


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    3/29/2011 12:21 PM
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  • Chuck Canon
    4/4/2011 12:17 AM
    Still tracking you, Wayne.. thanks for updating this. I have seen the "CAG" (we called it a CIG, "Commanders Initiative Group" at I Corps) in action back at FT Lewis. Interesting job, to say the least. I'm glad you are well, please keep describing your time as a FAO, especially the things that detail how your particular skills help out. I'm in Sound and Script as I write this.........still in your footsteps.

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