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Thread: Analytical and Intuitive Methods of Decisionmaking

  1. #1
    DDilegge
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    Default Analytical and Intuitive Methods of Decisionmaking

    US Army Strategic Studies Institute monograph - Coup D'Oeil: Strategic Intuition in Army Planning.

    In our military professions, formal analytical methods co-exist with intuitive decisionmaking by leaders in action. For the most part, there is no harm done. But many officers can recount times when they knew they should have “gone with their gut,” but followed instead the results of their analytical methods. The gap between these two forms of decisionmaking perhaps has grown wider in recent times, especially in Iraq, where adaptive leadership seems to have overshadowed formal methods of planning. Departing from formal methods increasingly seems to be the mark of an effective commander, as we learn from Dr. Leonard Wong’s recent Strategic Studies Institute (SSI) report, Developing Adaptive Leaders: The Crucible Experience of Operation Iraqi Freedom (July 2004).

    But must it be so? Dr. William Duggan shows how to reconcile analytical and intuitive methods of decisionmaking by drawing on recent scientific research that brings the two together. He applies this new research to the Army’s core methods of analytical decisionmaking as found in Field Manual (FM) 5-0, Army Planning and Orders Production. The result is “strategic intuition,” which bears remarkable resemblance to von Clausewitz’s idea of coup d’oeil in his classic work, On War. Dr. Duggan’s monograph provides a theoretical overview of strategic intuition and practical suggestions for amending FM 5-0 to take it into account...

  2. #2
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default 'Bout Damn Time!

    Dave,

    MDMP has been and still is one of my pet peeves. It is a form of institutionalized paint by the numbers approach that seeks to replace experience with process. In other words, MDMP is a method for making up for poorly trained, inexperienced staff officers. This study is very refreshing in that it takes the experience factor and places it ahead of process. What I really like about it is that it does the same for inexperienced leaders, offering a method to systematically capture and expand their experience levels as they mature.

    This also mirrors my own world of intelligence where IPB (a process) is too often equated with analysis, and that a distorted view of analysis that fixes on process. Whether you call it intuitive based or coup d'oeil ala Clausewitz, the more experienced you are in a given area or a realm of operations, the more you use that experience to format and develop your analysis. I had several occasions where I knew what was going to happen or that something was going to happen. But because there was no MDMP/IPB analytical paper trail to fit on a briefing slide, I had to watch as events proved me correct and my process-fixated superiors wrong.

    I will offer this one out to Ops Grp here for their consideration.

    Best all,
    Tom

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    Default Ops fires back

    While I have been tutored by the Army's finest in the process of MDMP, I find the process overly cumbersome, bureaucratic, and slow, so I found this paper refreshing and hope it finds a wide audience. We all know that many in our ranks will react to this well thought out challenge to our MDMP as the coming of the anti-christ. Why? Because they're bureaucrats and they believe more in processes than results.

    The author provides some well thought out arguments on why the current MDMP is not based on science, and offers some interesting modications; however, I wish he would have used a more relevant example than building a wash rack! While his alternative approaches make sense, I don't think he provided enough information to begin implementation without further developing the concept (well worth the effort). I hope to try it out in the near future, but I'm still not sure where EBO fits in this process? (that was for you Tom)

    We have all wasted hours developing an unneeded 2nd COA over the years simply to adhere to the doctrinal process, not because it was value added. BCTO and JFCOM observers should be directed to read this paper and to stop blindly pushing adherence to an outdated doctrinal approach to planning. The author's comments on COA evaluation criteria and value systems being inutiative anyway, vice scientific, should open some eyes.

    The ops side runs into the same packaging challenges you have encountered on the Intell side, so we're still stuck in the process and format over logic and content.

    We'll play with this and reply back if we find a successful way to implement it.

  4. #4
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Moore
    While I have been tutored by the Army's finest in the process of MDMP, I find the process overly cumbersome, bureaucratic, and slow, so I found this paper refreshing and hope it finds a wide audience. We all know that many in our ranks will react to this well thought out challenge to our MDMP as the coming of the anti-christ. Why? Because they're bureaucrats and they believe more in processes than results.

    The author provides some well thought out arguments on why the current MDMP is not based on science, and offers some interesting modications; however, I wish he would have used a more relevant example than building a wash rack! While his alternative approaches make sense, I don't think he provided enough information to begin implementation without further developing the concept (well worth the effort). I hope to try it out in the near future, but I'm still not sure where EBO fits in this process? (that was for you Tom)

    We have all wasted hours developing an unneeded 2nd COA over the years simply to adhere to the doctrinal process, not because it was value added. BCTO and JFCOM observers should be directed to read this paper and to stop blindly pushing adherence to an outdated doctrinal approach to planning. The author's comments on COA evaluation criteria and value systems being inutiative anyway, vice scientific, should open some eyes.

    The ops side runs into the same packaging challenges you have encountered on the Intell side, so we're still stuck in the process and format over logic and content.

    We'll play with this and reply back if we find a successful way to implement it.
    Thanks, Bill I would put EBO as we are pushing it today at the level where MDMP started in the mid-to late 1980s. By that I mean we are in pushing effects based operations as a method, pushing the idea of parallel, cooperative, and concientous application of lethal and non-lethal effects in our planning. If we migrate toward the model proposed in this monograph, we do not necessarily drop the idea of EBO. A strategic intuition model for planning and decision making that centers on the decision maker's experience is a natural fit for effects based operations; the EBO process (yeah, I used the "p" word) looks at 2nd, 3rd and tertiary effects. Strategic intuition--at least the way I read this thing--uses experience as a filter or channel for much the same thing.

    In any case, EBO was/is a repackaging effort at least here to blend IO at the tactical level into the operations cycle. EBO is very much a targeting based approach to operations, examined as a function of output--the effects--versus inputs--steel on target, troops committed, etc. If we look at this mongraph and say. ok, we are going to model our planning cycle, decision making, and leadership to accept its premises, we have to make sure that our leaders gain the experience they need. And that we use them and their experiences accordingly.

    I agree with you on the wash rack example.

    Best
    Tom

  5. #5
    DDilegge
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    Default Flashback - 1999

    General Krulak wrote about decisionmaking in an increasingly chaotic world in this 1999 Marine Corps Gazette article - "Cultivating Intuitive Decisionmaking".

    ... Generally, we know that there are two primary models for human decisionmaking -- the analytical model and the intuitive, or recognitional, model. Military leaders at all levels are familiar with the analytical model because it is the one historically used in our formal schools. In this model, Marines prepare estimates of the situation which eventually evolve into potential courses of action. Analytical decisionmaking uses a scientific, quantitative approach, and to be effective, it depends on a relatively high level of situational certainty and accuracy. The greater the degree of situational certainty and awareness, the more effective analytical decisionmaking becomes. Unfortunately, the analytical model does not lend itself well to military applications once the enemy is engaged. At that point, military situations most often become very ambiguous, and the leader cannot afford to wait for detailed, quantitative data without risking the initiative. Analytical decisionmaking offers distinct advantages when the situation allows an indefinite amount of time for analysis, such as during pre-hostility contingency planning, but it rapidly diminishes in usefulness once "you cross the line of departure."

    While analytical decisionmaking is based on a comparison of quantitative options, recognitional decisionmaking depends on a qualitative assessment of the situation based on the decider’s judgement and experience. It does not look for the ideal solution; instead, it seeks the first solution that will work. Research by noted psychologist Dr. Gary Klein indicates that most people use the recognitional, or intuitive, model of decisionmaking over 90 percent of the time. Ironically, until recently our formal schools have focused almost exclusively on training Marines in the analytical model. This began to change, however, with a growing acceptance of the ideas presented by the late Colonel John R. Boyd, U.S. Air Force (Retired). Boyd demonstrated that a person in the midst of conflict continuously moves through a recognitional decision pattern that he termed the "Observe-Orient-Decide-Act (OODA) Loop." He pointed out that the leader who moves through this OODA cycle the quickest gains a potentially decisive advantage in the conflict by disrupting his enemy’s ability to respond and react. In short, the leader who consistently makes the faster decisions, can interfere with his opponent’s own decisionmaking process and effectively degrade his ability to inflict his will and continue the struggle. Colonel Boyd’s ideas, entirely consistent with the Marine Corps’ maneuver warfare philosophy, were incorporated into our doctrine in 1989.

    As Colonel Boyd recognized, the chief advantage of intuitive decisionmaking in military operations is its speed. Numerous military historians and sociologists, including such notables as John Keegan and S.L.A. Marshall, have pointed out that the normal tendency for inexperienced leaders under extremis conditions is to wait for as much information as possible before making a decision. Of course, the longer the decision is delayed, the more opportunities are missed. Initiative can be forfeited to the enemy. For this reason, Sun Tzu noted that, "Speed is the essence of war," and Patton observed, "a good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week." History has repeatedly demonstrated that battles have been lost more often by a leader’s failure to make a decision than by his making a poor one.

    Napoleon believed that the intuitive ability to rapidly assess the situation on the battlefield and make a sound decision was the most important quality a commander could possess. He referred to this intuition as coup d’oeuil, or "the strike of the eye," and thought that it was a gift of nature. More recently, however, practitioners of the military art have come to believe that while heredity and personality may well have an impact on an individual’s intuitive skills, these skills can also be cultivated and developed. Prior to and during World War II, the Japanese called this skill, ishin denshin, or the "sixth sense," and they observed that it began to appear after months of intense repetitive training in a cohesive unit. During the same time period, the Germans referred to the capacity to make rapid, intuitive decisions in combat as "character." They attempted to first identify innate intuition during their recruiting processes, and then cultivate the skill by forcing their officers to repeatedly make tactical decisions under stressful situations throughout their professional schooling. While some might point out that both the Germans and Japanese were on the losing end of World War II, we might be wiser to ask how they were able to achieve such great military successes given their relative size and resource limitations. Napoleon may be correct if he meant that intuition cannot be taught in the traditional sense, but both the Germans and the Japanese were successful in assuming that -- through repetition -- it could be learned...

  6. #6
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    MDMP is a method for making up for poorly trained, inexperienced staff officers.
    The same can be said for it's sinister offspring: TLPs.
    Last edited by GorTex6; 12-30-2005 at 07:27 AM.

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