Planning for the worst and hoping for the best might be a thing of the past, one day. A military course of action could be an equation and a computer can solve it. How accurate is your gut feeling? What if you could quantify that feeling and then study how it might play out? That’s something that’s going to be commonplace eventually.

Decision making will become both intuitive and objective. But, humans will always make the decisions for better or worse. It’s something that places like DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency), and CTTSO (Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office) are investigating.

I’m sorry to be vague and brief – the internet came from DARPA. These agencies are pushing forward the human condition. Cooler than that, they’re doing it with the warfighter in mind. Many of these projects will both advance how we interact with the world and make the operator safer. Because warfighters will become more efficient, they will make better decisions and have better intel to weigh.

Older people are wise because they’ve learned about life, people, through interactions and observations longer than young people. That explicit knowledge and what works makes them more capable, often, to lead others and make decisions in many organizations. Today there’s no software or decision tool to plug into the core military decision-making process to emulate wisdom. Business decision-making and analytics are capabilities that many in the private sector use today and ought to be present in the army.

When I write basic military decision-making process (MDMP) I mean basic in the sense that everyone uses it. Familiarization and training can start basic training. The military must adapt to the current technological times and not fall behind. There are relatively straightforward Excel applications that can help one weigh decisions and options. This type of contingency planning is quintessential military planning. When we discuss and consider consequences to actions, we don’t use as many facts and figures as we could. But, those second and third order effects weigh heavily in mission planning.

However, we’re limited by our human minds. The Advanced Analytics team at CTTSO, as well as projects in other agencies, undoubtedly, want to develop precisely that MDMP intuitive tool. A way to quantify your gut feeling toward a course of action.

It’s an exciting future capability and an interesting case to consider. This sort of decision technology could shorten reaction times and drastically improve planning in war zones. Warzones that are becoming increasingly dangerous and filled with unknowns.

Featured image courtesy of the U.S. Army.

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