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Thread: Outside the box: inability to think and act creatively

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Outside the box: inability to think and act creatively

    My title is adapted from a blog by an ex-UK SOF officer Ways to Think & Act Outside the Box

    Critical thinking in the military IMHO as a civilian is rare and the author Dan starts with:
    When it comes to critical, innovative or disruptive thinking, experience – a much-prized commodity in most hierarchies – is actually our Achilles heel, it gets in the way. Throughout my military career, especially outside the unique environment of Special Forces I was surprised and ultimately disillusioned by the Army’s inability to think and act creatively – trapped as it was by the weight of its own experience. But the problem with experience in fast paced dynamic environments full of complexity and opportunity is that it thinks it knows. When it fact it is easily deceived by apparent familiarity seeing patterns where really none exist.
    I like this sentence in particular:
    The reason Special Forces can be highly original and innovative is because culturally they are encouraged to engage in this process of constructive dissent.
    Just how 'constructive dissent' can function in the wider military, let alone outside will reflect the stance taken by leaders and how much the institution allows external, wider social developments to affect it.

    Anyway I enjoyed Dan's article and this issue appears irregularly on SWJ Blog regarding the US military.

  2. #2
    Council Member Bob's World's Avatar
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    Nov 2008


    This was a hallmark of the Citizen Soldier Armies of draftees and Guardsmen the US fought pervious wars with as well - but it is a commodity discouraged and feared by the highly starched, doctrine driven regular force who serve to stay and make careers rather than to fight wars and go home.

    One more reason to keep the regular force small in peace and to expand with citizen soldiers to fight wars when necessary. A luxury the US has due to our tremendous geo-strategic advantage over smaller countries that enemies can simply drive or walk to. Sure, we stumbled in a first battle or two, but it is last battles that count.

    We are losing this within SOF as well as SOF is now part of that system of careful career over carefree service. Probably still alive down on the teams, but not as one moves much upward from there.
    Robert C. Jones
    Intellectus Supra Scientia
    (Understanding is more important than Knowledge)

    "The modern COIN mindset is when one arrogantly goes to some foreign land and attempts to make those who live there a lesser version of one's self. The FID mindset is when one humbly goes to some foreign land and seeks first to understand, and then to help in some small way for those who live there to be the best version of their own self." Colonel Robert C. Jones, US Army Special Forces (Retired)

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