D. THE NPRN COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE
3. NPRN Community of Practice Pace
According to Anklam, the interaction pace of a network balances “connections in both place and space.”282 The intensity and frequency of the network members’
interactions, its pace, and its rhythm, are what enables the membership to synchronize their activities.283 Since the members consist of several sub-networks, attention to their
integration is essential. The most frequent interaction between NPRN members occurs at various PR events. The core NPRN events in peacetime that have the most potential for the integration of core PR actors, commanders and staffs, forces, and isolated personnel and practice in the execution phase, are the services’ SERE level-C certification exercises. Figure 43 illustrates how the NPRN actors and the NAO can provide an overview of the network interaction pace, namely its events, to all participants in the form of a NPRN PR event “wheel.”
282 Anklam, Net Work, 88. 283 Ibid.
The PR event wheel should be built to display the opportunities that exist to interact between network members, where and when they occur, and how to gain access and participation. The example above illustrates, counterclockwise, events available from January to December and a quick symbol explanation on the right.
Figure 43. NPRN CoP PR Event “Wheel”284
The purpose of the event wheel is to display to all NPRN members PR events where and when there is an opportunity for the CoP to physically interact. The PR wheel should display the aggregate of PR events as they unfold throughout the year and the availability for members to join and to benefit. To maximize PR resources and achieve the most interaction and collaboration, the NAO and the lead organizations should emphasize and maximally make use of planned events to increase the NPRN interaction frequency. Core events are the full-scale PR and SERE exercises, visualized in Figure 43, with the PR model of the execution phase. PR and SERE OPR symbols are smaller scale events, and unit symbols display local events as they are scheduled. The interaction pace, as displayed by the PR event wheel, becomes an important arena for the CoP to meet and develop their knowledge and keep the PR conversation going. Each event becomes an important place to build network ties. The network governance structure should seek to include a diverse CoP at each event.
Figures 44, 45, and 46 illustrate how the network interaction pace is an important arena for the development of network actors’ PR knowledge as they join one of the core PR events, here represented by participating in an RNoAF SERE level-C course.
Figure 44 illustrates an example of participants at a NPRN event, represented by a RNoAF SERE level-C course and certification exercise. From top left and clockwise, participants include Conduct after Capture instructors (CACIs), from the Intelligence Service OPR for CAC, SERE instructor from the Army PR and SERE OPR, the RNoAF OPR with its instructor cadre, planners representing the NJHQ and the NAOC, forces from several RNoAF squadrons, isolated personnel from the Army and RNoAF, as well as international participants and squadron SERE instructors. The Home Guard participates and represents enemy forces.
Figure 44. NPRN Example of PR and SERE PACE and CoP285
Figure 44 illustrates the diversity of PR actors at the beginning of a PR event. Network members are participating from all services and all levels of the PR organization including isolated personnel, forces, and commanders and staffs, as well as the education and training institutions of more than one service. Network governance awareness of the importance of the network pace represented by its interaction events is critical for the CoP’s abilty to keep PR development going, as these events are their primary meeting place. Figure 45 illustrates the potential to build and expand NPRN connections as the SERE C course unfolds and participants collaborate, in this case, towards a common purpose of producing SERE level-C certified isolated personnel and educating and training commanders and staff, as well as forces.
The NPRN event serves as a key event for many of the various actors in the NPRN to come together, collaborate, hone, and develop PR skills and situational awareness and most important, to build trust and social capital that cross service and hierarchical boundaries.
Figure 45. Communities of Practice: Creating Ties, Trust and Social Capital I286
Figure 46 illustrates new ties created by the interaction and collaboration of the NPRN event.
The NPRN event creates new ties between the various PR actors..287
Figure 46. Communities of Practice: Creating Ties, Trust and Social Capital II
There are only limited opportunities available for the NPRN to physically meet and collaborate. Therefore, it is important that the NPRN leadership uses these occasions to their fullest advantage to broaden the interactions with all the network members. Virtual interactions, in addition to the physical interactions in space, also are needed. They can provide PR information and knowledge and through a formal web-based communication system, support the CoP activities and interactions.