Wildland Fire Leadership Council Meeting
October 29-30, 2014
The Wildland Fire Leadership Council, (WFLC), met over two full days at the Hall of States in Washington, DC from October 29-30, 2014. This meeting was the first opportunity for the WFLC to come together in person to explore and understand a series of key decisions taken between April and October 2014 pertaining to the WFLC’s value, form and function.
With the Cohesive Strategy (CS) finalized, the WFLC now turns its attention to how best to implement the strategy through a collaborative implementation framework. This is a strategic juncture for the body to ensure that it is properly positioned to align within and across organizations around key tenets of the CS, and leverage leadership, resources and influence in the interest of ensuring optimal conditions for collaborative implementation. Whereas in more recent history the WFLC has functioned at more of a tactical and implementation level, the group has taken a series of decisions to re-calibrate in light of the collaborative implementation framework and function at a more strategic level with a focus on problem-solving and collaboration. Key issues addressed in the meeting included exploring the value proposition of the WFLC in this new era (i.e. strategic, high level relationships and cross organizational integration), articulating key elements of a draft vision for the WFLC, and from there, exploring the role and function of the National Strategy Committee (NSC) and Regional Strategic Committees (RSC). Key themes included the need for consistent communication to institutionalize collaboration, landscape scale planning, a focus on prevention, and the distinction between policy relevant conversations and policymaking roles.
- Clarify new WFLC leadership roles and responsibilities in light of the recent decision to be a more active and engaged body;
- Set the tone, behaviors and direction of future WFLC engagements through prioritizing WFLC goals and building understanding around what requires WFLC support; and,
- Discuss and establish the role of the NSC and the selection process of the NSC executive manager.
Agreements, Action Items, and Next Steps
- WFLC Vision: Key elements of a WFLC vision include strategic direction and intent, alignment around tenets of the CS, and communication to institutionalize collaboration.
- WFLC Scope:
- The three goals of the Cohesive Strategy will serve as the basis for WFLC work.
- WFLC needs to set national strategic direction and intent to help ensure the decisions made at the state, local and regional level address problems within the national framework.
- Communication of priorities and cultivation of shared learning: It was agreed that there is a need to increase the pace and scale of creating resilient landscapes across all landscapes; WFLC can establish priorities and set goals but it only “happens” on the ground. Thus there is a need for communication between priorities set at a high level and the reality on the ground. Regions can bring additional points forward through the NSC – organizational structure can be responsive to what we need to do here but WFLC needs to set national priorities and cultivate shared understanding.
- Review of the CS Collaborative Implementation Framework: Page three language for the sentence starting with “In addition” was changed to “In addition, they will provide active oversight to ensure accountable and effective coordination of wildland fire policies and related long-term strategies.”
- National Strategy Committee (NSC):
- Form and Function: The NSC will serve as a “quick connect” to operationalize the guidance of and take direction from WFLC, while also gathering and summarizing information from the regions.
- WFLC will decide upon the process (accountability, boundaries, etc.) and content through prioritizing actions to achieve the goals of the CS National Action Plan.
- WFLC charters the regions (but the day to day interaction with the regions will be conducted by the NSC).
- Language in the Cohesive Strategy Implementation Plan will be used as a basis for developing charter language for the RSCs. The last sentence of Regional Roles and Responsibilities in the CS Collaborative Implementation Framework Plan will be struck for purposes of the RSC charter.
- The Executive Manger will serve as the focal point for accountability between the WFLC and NSC (Noting also that the day to day interaction with the regions will be conducted by the by the Executive Manager and NSC).
- Process for Staffing the NSC:
- Send nominations for NSC members by November 14, 2014.
- A voluntary committee was created to organize nominees into several slates for the WFLC to vote on electronically.
- Kolibri Consulting Group will create an online voting template for WFLC to utilize.
- Executive Manager - two non-feds and one person each from USDA and DOI will sit in on interviews and identify the top three candidates for the WFLC to discuss.
- WFLC Meeting Structure and Frequency: Organize more frequent (quarterly) WFLC meetings that are better targeted to engage principals (shorter meetings).
- The Cohesive Strategy Communication Framework document developed by National Communications Team will be shared among WFLC members and support staff in order to facilitate better communication of the CS.