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08 6 2020

Meet Master Warrant Officer Maurice Boire

Every three to four years, Nations send their talented military personnel to fill NATO positions and learn more about the Alliance, while contributing to its mission. Military staff spend their careers rotating regularly to gain experience.

But with the coronavirus pandemic hindering travel, many military-held posts were extended so staff needn't rotate in these difficult conditions. Canadian Master Warrant Officer Maurice Boire has been with the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency for almost four years. Due to COVID-19, Boire will be staying an additional year as a training and liaison officer at the Communications and Information Systems (CIS) Support Unit (CSU), in Norfolk, Virginia, United States.

Coincidently Boire started studying for his Master's degree programme in public safety while working remotely. Seeing parallels with a world pandemic unfolding in real time has put his studies into perspective.

Meet Master Warrant Officer Maurice Boire

Why did you decide to study public safety?

I have been in the military for 34 years and I will be retiring from it soon to pursue a career as a civilian. There was a chance to get a Master's degree in something that I found very interesting – public safety, and I chose to specialize in emergency measures. I've learned that it is very costly to react to a situation like a world pandemic, so it is important that we prepare for it and have a plan for the recovery. History shows us that this crisis is not unprecedented. Spending money on mitigating measures is not attractive to any government or business, but it should be essential.

What do you do?

My main job is in Training and Liaison. I provide training opportunities for all CSU Norfolk personnel and liaise with the NCI Agency's internal education and training team as well as with other NATO bodies and external training providers to coordinate and facilitate training courses. As the Senior Enlisted Leader (SEL) for CSU Norfolk, I am responsible for Non-Commissioned Officers' (NCOs) development. I try to set up discussions about important leadership topics, for example, different principles of leadership, management vs. leadership, sexual harassment... I also work with our Commander to provide leadership and direction for our CSU's management. I am the point of contact for all CSU Norfolk personnel and I try to help them solve their concerns or bring them forward to the Commander. I am also responsible for the morale and welfare of our unit. We want to make sure that everyone in the CSU Norfolk has an active, happy and healthy life.

How has the coronavirus pandemic affected your work?

I can do most of my work from home. However, I actually enjoy discussing things with colleagues in person, and this situation makes it harder to keep track of the morale and welfare of the team, so I am relaying on the inputs of several people to stay in tune with the situation and make sure no one is getting overwhelmed in these difficult times.

What are your most recent achievements?

I've been coordinating with the internal Education and Training team to organize online trainings and find other solutions to provide education during the pandemic.

We have been improving our service delivery recently. The Technical Information Exchange is a forum where technical staff in CSUs and Service Lines exchange ideas and best practices in order to improve service delivery to the Agency's customers. The attendance and the feedback have been very positive. The Agency is in the early stages of developing a new support model where CSU Norfolk uses its location and the time difference between the US and Europe to our advantage to avoid shift work or overtime. Follow-the-Sun is a method of maintaining a centralized service desk while providing services in different locations and it is already showing positive results. Software updates must be applied in a small maintenance window so we can take care of a task during our afternoon, which is late evening in Europe. It gives much more flexibility to the centralized service desk.

Why is your work important for the Agency and for NATO?

I think my work in Training and Liaison gives our personnel – especially newcomers – the knowledge they need to do their work. The NCI Agency is not just a mix of different Nations, we are also a mix of civilians and military staff. So it is up to people like me to help bridge the gap between these two sides and support them to work as a team, and also help every individual staff member with any problems they might face.