Cadet deputy commander is a challenging position partly because it can be so ambiguous. The deputy is the commander’s right hand, but each commander will use their deputy in a different way. There is no universal job description for deputy. Additionally, the deputy is usually the cadet next in line to become cadet commander, so this cadet will need to learn the cadet commander’s job as well.
Immediate Supervisor: Cadet Commander
Typical Grades: C/Capt through C/Lt Col
Manage Cadet Operations.
With the cadet commander focused on the long-term challenges affecting the cadet corps, as deputy you will be called on to manage cadet operations. You are the main focal point for planning cadet activities, drafting training plans, and preparing training schedules for the commander’s approval.
Supervise & Mentor Flight Commanders.
Your responsibilities in man-aging cadet operations will have you working closely with the flight commanders. In most large squadrons, the deputy acts as the immediate supervisor and mentor for the flight commanders. Ensure they understand the scope of their responsibilities, and help them grow as leaders.
Monitor Cadet Inspection Programs.
Take a high level view of cadet inspections and manage the overall inspection system. What trends are you seeing? What do the trends tell you about the cadets’ training needs? How well are the flight commanders preparing their cadets for inspection?
Recommend Duty Assignments.
As deputy, you are involved in nearly every aspect of cadet life in a squadron. The cadet commander will therefore call for your perspective when it is time to find the right duty assignment for each cadet. Likewise, the commander will often ask for input on how each cadet staff member is doing. Who needs additional mentoring? Who is doing great? Who are the squadron’s up and coming leaders?
Command the Squadron.
In the cadet commander’s absence, you are responsible for commanding the squadron. At all times, you represent the commander and are presumed to speak on his or her behalf.
Respect the special trust placed in you.
Prepare for the Future: Cadet Commander
- Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the squadron’s programs and procedures. Pay attention during debriefings and “lessons learned” discussions after cadet activities so that you can improve the programs next time.
- Try to be included in the cadet commander’s decision-making process. Take note of the wide range of issues and options discussed. You’ll need an appreciation for the breadth and depth of the issues cadet commanders encounter.
- Create (or update) a continuity file for the squadron’s major programs. If you become cadet commander, you will be leading those programs and will not have time to re-invent the wheel.
- Continue developing a good rapport with senior members. If you become cadet commander, you immediate supervisor will be a senior.