Great article, despite the sardonic tone I found the graphics actually interesting, like something that would be read out loud and discussed on Jocko's podcast. That last line, however, reminded me of just how far we've taken it with systems that stalk targets from the sky for weeks to be used as evidence to authorize drone strikes.
" After a while you realize that this image could be used anywhere in any paper or presentation and make perfect sense. This is a graphic that defines a way of describing anything that has ever existed and everything that has ever happened, in any situation."
John Boyd was an Air Force officer who came up with the OODA loop theory. Basically, a pilot in air combat loops through the stages of Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act, and if a pilot is capable of iterating through this loop faster than their opponent, they win. Some people realized this same theory could actually explain combat more generally (particularly maneuver warfare) as well as business and everyday life.
John Boyd's magnum opus was a slide presentation of several hundred slides, which took several hours to present, which he never allowed to be abridged or summarized in any way.
John Boyd was influential and I don't even think he was a complete crackpot, but the military's tendency to overuse PowerPoint and develop vague theories-of-everything as their operational doctrines reminds me of him. I don't think they pull it off as well as he did.
I think you're referring to Patterns of Conflict which is/was 187 slides plus around 9 slides of sources. The funny thing is that Patterns is mostly comprised of dense text, not diagrams or pictures. It was a lot of fun trying to absorb Boyd's ideas if one can find the presentations online. They are quite a contrast to (publicly available) military briefings and papers these days given the lower text-to-visuals ratio.
Chuck Spinney and Chet Richards worked with Boyd, as did Ginger Richards, on various major briefings. To your point, most of them are 40+ pages/slides each.
Nearly 5.5 hours!
Standalone modern slides, almost 200 pages:
Alternate modern slides with PiP presentation of same presentation as above, but in separate parts, but best audio IMO, with auto-generated captions, typos included:
The story behind the original uploader getting the source videos which were uploaded in separate parts, which have been remastered and combined since:
Which seems to link to an alternate version of the talk in four parts, but which is not exhaustive or complete as above versions.
The other part is these "theories of war" become vehicles for self advancement. These become almost cult like fads within the pentagon. Then a few years later the new fad takes over. Remember "Shock and Awe?" Don't hear much about that anymore do we...
From a game theory perspective, groups are incentivized to advertise (and hopefully popularize) their positions.
Individuals are then incentivized to align and advertise their allegiance with either popular or up-and-coming positions.
The end result... exactly what we see.
(And it's not like this isn't present in tech via cargo cultism either)
But that's the case for a lot of things. REPL and OODA fall into that category of philosophies that are simple once presented, but we needed someone to recognize as existing. And there is a benefit to recognizing these patterns as they allow us to optimize them.
Also, things that get independently discovered in several places are more likely to be correct as they seem to be naturally emergent.
 which reminds me of the IDF/Deleuze thing - the grand insight they got from reading Difference & Repetition was that... they could blow holes in walls instead of going around them https://www.metamute.org/editorial/articles/art-war-deleuze-...
Consultants are everywhere in the military. Especially the business / strategy / org behavior types. Anything the military does will have been done a hundred times before in industry — the military just needs it at goliath scale.
And if you're making million+ dollar bets on the basis of that philosophy, wouldn't it seem reasonable to pay six figures for a set of alternative philosophies to consider?
Or, in concrete terms, the CEO who is successful once because they were lucky vs the CEO who has decades of success in wildly different environments, because they learned alternatives and chose the most apt at any time.
Want to know what an infantry platoon and squad does? Here's 826 pages: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ATP%203... .
What about an infantry company? Here's 618 pages: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN8519... .
And those just cover the basics of organization, movement, attack, and defense. Want to know how to call in artillery support? Here's 256 pages: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN2193... .
92 pages on military deception: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/ARN15310-FM_3-1... .
192 pages on recognizing aircraft by sight: https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN3274... .
146 pages on "Army Ceremonial Music Performance":https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/pdf/web/ARN3102... .
There's just a ton out there if you want to dig around: https://armypubs.army.mil/ProductMaps/PubForm/TC.aspx .
One funny thing she said was the moment they got off the bus, she had someone in her face in perfect military dress, screaming at her every minute of the day and night. She figured out later that they would take short shifts swapping off, getting in people's faces, then leaving and relaxing before showering and changing clothes and doing it again for a few hours.
They got recruits from every walk of life. They were taught every skill, not only how to march or make a bed military style, but also some had to learn how to brush their teeth.
Every skill is new to someone. I guess it makes sense to document everything so you can teach it and make it uniform.
If you were in a position of influence in the army would you choose to soul-search about bombed children or try and construct some meaning around "Figure 4-1. Movement of the staff and command bugler around commander of troops".
The MIC is about spending as much money as possible.
Officially, it's $721,531,000,000 FY2020
"In 2018, it was announced that the Department of Defense was indeed the subject of a comprehensive budgetary audit. This review was conducted by private, third-party accounting consultants. The audit ended and was deemed incomplete due to deficient accounting practices in the department."
That's not rhetorical. I'm curious how this document is instilled in the short period of boot camp training before they are shipped off to their deployments.
Edit: I was also not a college grad at the time. People can still read without a degree.
The requirements are a bit different for officers and warrant officers. The training of officers and warrant officers is much more academically oriented. A 152F, Apache attack helicopter pilot is required to basically memorize the entire Technical Manual for their aircraft as well as many details about Army procedure for radios, weapon engagement, airspace management, etc. There are also joint publications, that are shared across the army, navy, airforce, marines, etc (sometimes with NATO allies) that folks in certain roles (pilots, FACs, officers) must be aware of.
Hopefully you find this helpful.
The value isn't in the content of the publication (hence why it's public), it's in the training that soldiers undergo to make the information 1st-hand nature.
Example--you can read about the OODA loop. Reading about it doesn't make you good at using it. That takes training, and the Army has specific exercises that helps a baseline soldier know the fundamentals.
Like with nearly all skills, start with first principles, ingrain them with drills and repetation, then build advanced skills based on those fundamentals.
The trick here is to actually learn via repetition so you internalize much of the training in a way that it becomes subconscious. The same would apply to me asking a developer how to build an iOS app (random example) -- you probably have so much internalized knowledge that you can write a few hundred pages on UX, UI, underlying tech infrastructure, coding practices, etc.
This. If I had to put numbers on it, I'd probably say: 4th grade = 250 pages (excluding social skills); 8th grade = 1000 pages; 12th grade = 2000 pages; bachelor's = 10,000 pages; PhD = 15,000 pages
Then about 100 pages(?) for each year of work experience.
Seriously though. The goal isn't to make every soldier an expert. At the most this will be discussed for a few hours in Basic Training, and units that are in the training phase of their cycle can spend a little time on it.
Basic training is the Hello World of military training. When Soldiers aren't deployed the spend about half of their work hours on training that is planned and executed at the company (~120 person) level. The Platoon Leader and Platoon Sergeant will most likely incorporate this into other activities. Other specialized training programs (SAPPER, Ranger, SF, ...) will use this document extensively as part of their training.
It's probably important to note that each branch has more specific things they need to know. Much of the Marine Corps relies on cross-training to fulfill this demand because their goal is much more open-ended than the rest of the branches (to my knowledge it's something like, "seize forward operation bases and areas of operation".)
To put it in a metaphor: bootcamp is considered dipping your toes in the water, your MOS school is like getting in ankle deep, the fleet is being nose deep with only your clothes on. When you get to "the fleet" is when your real training will begin and it is unending; the only thing that changes over time is that you figure out your clothes are actually flotation devices (fun fact, they actually are). You will spend night after night in the field training, they'll institute artificial stress, and attempt to train you into dealing with it. They'll use simulations like paint rounds, explosions, medical evacuations, and simulation towns in group-training settings with real civilians doing all the erratic things real civilians would do when caught in the middle of a gun fight or normal operation. No expense is really spared, you will actually fight like you play and that is a regular mantra. I'm reminded of a time in 29 Palms where my unit airlifted a radio truck onto a mountain so they could broadcast on the other side of it, which is exactly what you would do in country if you couldn't get to the top of the mountain.
Aside from that you'll be subject to the typical "death by powerpoint" classes that continue to drive in some of these trainings, but they're always referring you to a manual to learn more from. When people do screw up, they'll usually make them teach a class to show everyone what they learned.
I don't know if there's an official statistic on this, but a majority of the training that is conducted in the Marines I would be willing to put three paychecks on is conducted by Lance Corporal through Sergeant.
The goal is to cross-train enough people and foster enough interest that a team can be mostly self-sustaining.
Literally the second sentence in the document, on p. ix:
> Included in the intended audience are Soldiers
They mean soldiers who need to develop training to deliver to other soldiers.
Had the actual written meaning been exclusively those tasked with integrating training, then the wording would have said so. As it is currently written, the intended audience is all soldiers.
If it is true that junior soldiers are not expected to read a document such as this, then the document should not state that the intended audience is soldiers.
A military manual is not a James Joyce novel. If the manual says the intended audience is soldiers, then you should not be able to come in and say 'actually, regardless of what they wrote, that's not what they really meant'.
"We tried to make this understandable by Soldiers, among others, as far as reading level and expected context & background knowledge"
> ...particularly those tasked with integrating ASA concepts into training
"This subset of soldiers are the ones we mostly expect to read it, or to be required to read it, though, so expect that the content is tuned to and most suitable for their needs"
Nowhere does it say that all soldiers read this or that anyone expects that a typical soldier be required to read it. They are stating the background of their intended audience (Soldier, among others, should suffice) and those whom they expect to be best-served by the document ("those tasked with integrating ASA concepts into training"). This sentence is about as clear as English gets, to the point that I'm baffled this exchange is taking place. It says nothing about "junior soldiers [being] expected to read a document such as this".
> A military manual is not a James Joyce novel. If the manual says the intended audience is soldiers, then you should not be able to come in and say 'actually, regardless of what they wrote, that's not what they really meant'.
Your confidence and repeated insistence that your reading is correct here is not warranted. You're wrong. It is not ambiguous whether you're wrong.
And nowhere do I make this claim. The discussion is bout the intended, not the required, audience. And the intended audience is explicitly stated to be Soldiers in the manual itself.
Then consider, given the context of the whole thread, how "expected" was intended here:
> Junior soldiers are not expected to read documents like this.
Webster's for "expect": 1 c. to consider bound in duty or obligated
(1a and 1b also more-or-less apply)
That's what I take as the use of expect here, fitting with the thread before. Most soldiers are not obligated to read this work. No-one will be surprised or disappointed or pissed-off if most soldiers never crack it open.
And then consider how I (and others) may have read your use of "expected" in your response to that:
> If it is true that junior soldiers are not expected to read a document such as this, then the document should not state that the intended audience is soldiers.
By this you mean that the authors anticipate (sense 2 of "expect" in Webster's) that some of those reading it will be soldiers, that they expect (some!) soldiers to be among their readers—at least I assume so, given your agreement with the notion that most soldiers are not obligated to read the text.
You've been writing past everyone in this thread because your original response was a non sequitur to the thread-in-progress, which was about who is obligated or intended, in practice, to read this document.
chrisseaton was addressing something different from what you're trying to argue over. You aren't even contradicting him because you're talking about different things.
Besides, your reading is every bit as "connotative" as chrisseaton's, except that you're ignoring a big chunk of the (not long!) sentence you quoted in order to preserve yours as the exclusively correct reading. In particular, there are two senses of "audience" at play, between this thread and the text in question. Your reading that the piece is intended to be understandable by a "Soldier"—so that is the "audience"—does have support in the text, clearly, but the contention that the "audience", in the sense of who is actually expected to read it, and so for whose needs we may expect the text to have been crafted, is more precisely specified in the second part of the sentence, is also supported by the text, and is what comes out when the entire sentence is considered. That second sense is what was under discussion, originally.
Your interpretation, irrespective of accuracy, is at odds with what is written in the actual document.
Apparently a lot, based on some of the replies in this sub-thread. I, on the other hand, fully agree with you and have no trouble understanding this distinction.
The poster to which my original comment was a response to, however, claimed that soldiers were not the intended audience.
Sometimes 'soldier' means anyone in the Army.
Sometimes 'soldier' means anyone in the Army but not commissioned officers.
Sometimes 'soldier' means only private members of the Army.
In this case obviously 'soldiers' are intended to read it - as people in the Army are intended to read it. But also 'soldiers' are not intended to read it, as private soldiers would normally get training and would not have to read it.
Reading requires context and domain knowledge.
If you have context and domain knowledge, this document is perfectly clear on the audience.
(I've had multiple training jobs in the (British) Army.)
100% memorization is neither achieved nor expected.
It's definitely both, I don't know why you're trying to knock that some people either by birth or through their experiences are just better at something than others. I had Marines who had excellent situational awareness that could spot trouble or issues far before they became a problem and I had others that would accidentally a whole truck. They were trained, for the most part, the same way.
I also disagree that situational awareness is a "soft skill". Having situational awareness, to me, means that you know a subject deeply enough to infer things about your environment from that knowledge. That would make it a very technical skill.
I think you start to wonder, how do many people in this world get through life sleepwalking?
Not to say that this awareness = "superior", of course, many people have different talents and being situationally aware is just one such thing. And for some, not being situationally aware is necessary to allow some less tangible benefits to appear (creativity, relaxation to enable free thought, intangible problem solving, etc). Hopefully such people, by the way, have other people looking out for them.
But sometimes, you wonder -- person XYZ on the street, neither paying attention, nor having someone who looks out for you as you talk your head off unawares and self-absorbed... What world do you live in?
The number one behavior that upsets me is in grocery stores: people who do not realize that their shopping cart placement is causing a noticeable blockade and others are squeaking by or (im)patiently waiting for them to move, or avoiding the aisle entirely. This is not restricted to any type of person either; just today I witnessed a young man in scrubs park his cart sideways in the center bread aisle, halfway through turning around, and then abandon it to walk to the aisle cap to grab something (which he analyzed for some time before deciding upon taking). My mom used to do this same thing and it always bothered me, except now I view it as not just an annoyance but an evacuation and movement hazard.
The other one that bugs me is when I see people stopping at an entrance/top of escalator/exit of elevator or similar choke point. Please, I know it's overwhelming to decide what to do/where to go next, but be aware of your immediate surroundings and move to the side as you figure out the rest.
I think ASA is not exclusively focused on outer awareness. I think there's a significant component of awareness of yourself (strengths, emotions, thoughts) that's part of it, and associated with resilience etc. I also don't think that situational awareness, inner or outer, is exclusive with creativity, relaxation, free thought, intangible problem solving.
I think what you're missing here is that the "concrete outer world" can also be manipulated and conceived abstractly at a very high level. I think the "head in the clouds" creative is a stereotype, and exists, but is not representative, and is not a majority one, and there's plenty of super aware people who are also super creative. Me included. Also I think maybe many of those people who "shut away" in the inner (or phone?) world, can probably handle many inputs and thoughts, but it's a case of where they choose to put their attention. Surely there are some who deliberately isolate their senses in this way, because they are so very sensitive, and just haven't learned how to comfortable utilize it, or perhaps just not yet.
Most people stay in Condition White.
Which is why I'm careful to leave 3 seconds between me and the car in front no matter how many people fill the gap - I need all the help I can get to stay safe and I don't care how much slower it makes me.
You actually are better than those other drivers, even if you're not situationally flawless. There's a lot in that manual about the "soldier" understanding their own limitations.
And lot of people drive around thinking that if they open up that much space they'll get cut off so much they'll never get to their destination. Don't know if there's a bit in here about harboring delusions about reality.
> 1-5. People emit certain conscious and subconscious signals indicating their mental states and intent. Humans tend to follow predictable patterns of behavior. Continued observation of behaviors and the surrounding environment reveals patterns that can be used to derive other information about the person or people being observed. The goal of this observation is to determine the relevance of the information provided to the matter at hand.
> 1-6. Soldiers can observe indicators based upon an established baseline. Soldiers can identify the enemy among civilians. Baselines are established when the enemy is not present because the lack of enemy presence allows the observer to determine the most complete baseline.
Consider the "enemy" here to be the idiot who is about to pull into traffic without seeing you coming, and the signal to be how they did an aggressive stop, they blew the line of the stop sign completely, and they're displaying aggressiveness and impatience.
Your foot should already be coming off the gas and covering the brake pedal, and if you see them move forwards at all you should be already actively braking.
Generally any vehicle waiting at a stop sign I mentally label as a possible threat, but you can often be better prepared when you observe someone's actions in their vehicle that seems different than baseline. You don't need to react as strongly every time you see a vehicle waiting at a stop sign at a cross street to you, but when you see signs of aggressiveness, you should increase your own defensiveness and preparation to act.
I'm sure I'll hit the sections on visualization and preparation for action later.
If you watch r/roadcam vids on reddit you'll often see accidents that are the counter example to this where people speed at a consistent 8 mph over the limit all the time, and don't adjust their velocity ever for hazards or even just intersections and are caught completely unaware when another vehicle that displays a deviation from baseline, immediately then does something really dumb and collides with them.
My wife, of course, had no such limitation. 'THEY'RE. RIGHT. HERE.' a common exasperation of hers as our departure time and planned arrival time converge.
I really do feel like I'm holding the reins of a big dumb animal sometimes.
I was in the bathroom early one morning and found myself staring blank-brained at my eyes in the mirror. Kind of like that sense you get when you suddenly realize you're looking into an open refrigerator, I knew I had just walked in there for some reason but it wasn't coming to me. Meds? No. Shower? I don't think so. Shave? ... ... *pokes out chin* ... man I'm looking a little rough ... and just then, as I start getting distracted with the unkempt dude in the mirror, my right arm raises without any provocation and *angrily* mimes brushing my teeth. Like three.hard.rakes across the grill and then back down.
As soon as that happened it's like someone unclicked pause in my brain and everything flooded back. Brushing my teeth! So I grabbed my toothbrush and toothpaste and as I'm dosing it up with a fresh blob I think wait...what the fuck was that? It was like my arm was possessed and tired of me being an idiot lol.
It's almost terrifying how only a small part of the brain can vocalize, but all parts of the brain are communicating and "thinking". My takeaway is that we observe ourselves and tell stories about it, but have much less real free will than we think.
This is counter to my wife who can remember where most things are when placed somewhere random. We mostly manage, but she is the official house 'finder of things'.
Where I seem to have the most difficulty is entirely my domain - The garage. I put tools down mid work and spend a bunch of time finding them again moments later.
Looking for my keys though is a minor annoyance and I'd rather be thinking about something else, so this isn't something I think needs fixing. It isn't driving a vehicle.
Edit: I dated a girl once who couldn't tell cars apart, and had a really hard time finding hers or anyone elses.
Not everyone processes or thinks the same way.
If you view parenting as a pavlovian process rather than mutual communication and learning, then I'm here to warn you that if you walk down that path far enough, you will experience a day where you discover your children loathe you.
Instead I got a whole lot of punishment, much of it physical, because my parents are also evangelical extremists.
Yeah, it is. Especially people posting comments to spoon-feed them an explanation of something rather than research it for themselves. It's a form of learned helplessness.
I also imagine that the intended audience for this book has not been exposed to some of the biological underpinnings of senses, and never had an explanation for why it was difficult to resolve colors in darkness.
That facts are placed right next to actionable workarounds and right next to observable consequences is a pretty good writing strategy to educate practitioners.
I can imagine (but have not experienced) some useful rules of thumb coming from this document that are pounded into minds until they are second nature. Range estimation, hasty search + follow-up search, rough ranges at which cigarettes are visible in darkness, speech is audible, and so on. That's gold for its indented audience.
I am now trying to work out how to fit the UK COBRA response unit into any of my Disaster Recovery Planning templates. They really do need spicing up.
Maybe go with a sentence like "It is considered unlikely that we shall need to notify MI6 of any interruption to our service. The number just in case is 555-12345"
See who actually reads these darn things.
So far? About 1 in 10 to 1 in 15 does it. Tends to be pretty effective actually, helps a lot with weeding out the spam too. Most lead with the 'I would love the opportunity to work with your company' which is clearly just generic spam and they probably didn't even look at the job posting.
I can't work it out now - wrong context. Probably assume that I would get a day long home test, or something.
Anyway, Volaticotherium antiquus
You can cut and paste the question into Google and get the right answer, so you might be overthinking it a bit.
I guess I am being cynical - signalling during the job process is really hard - for both sides, and I doubt there is a quick fix. But I like yours - it might be worth a try next time :-)
In organisations supporting UK critical national infrastructure (e.g. power companies), a cyber response plan might involve contacting (or being contacted by) the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC ), who as a public-facing component of GCHQ will be part of the government chain of command up to and including the Prime Minister.
Plus, some people are hopelessly clueless and don't see subtle details as well as others.
It's a nice thought to explain some trail signs, but experience, practice, and particular personal qualities likely prove more valuable to think independently. Primitive hunting, street and wilderness intelligence, and practiced SA in everyday life are probably the best teachers.
I think ever since then you get a lot of ideas about using men as parts of machines, rather than the more Stalin-esque idea of making a new type of man
>DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
The only real risk is that your adversaries might "steal" your doctrine and use it to train their own troops. But generally a doctrine on its own isn't enough, you need an established tradition and officer corps, as well as the right tools and equipment to execute it properly. And those (especially a competent and well trained officer corps) are much harder to appropriate.
This link will self-destruct in 3 days :P ;) xx
> DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
DISTRIBUTION RESTRICTION: Approved for public release; distribution is unlimited.
And then they are shared with the Israeli military so they can be used to kill in Gaza! Hurray for humanity.
This is just another example of some of the hidden suffering that society predominantly refuses to counteract or even acknowledge.
If you're going to call a reasonable document bullshit, then I might be inclined to say you have a somewhat skewed lens on reality.
Each lesson included could / should be broken out for Joe to make the desired outcomes practical and achievable.
You seem to be making assumptions about how this is intended to be consumed.
If you have a group of 100 random people - that's now 10-20 people. A whole team, maybe two if the cards are particularly bad.
The Army has 479, 000 people. They also have significant, predictable turnover, so if they teach everyone all those things once, in 4-5 years no one in some military specialities will know it again. Based on the average time in service (6.7 yrs) data I can see, even if they teach literally everyone everything they might not know that is considered essential, in ~ half a decade at least 1/3 of the people in the Army won't know some or most of it again.
Add in that people can only pay attention to and retain so much, and you have to repeat things a lot, explain things from a bunch of different angles, and then test and validate on top of that before you can assume they know it.
Even then, they might forget in a week.
It's law of large numbers and people.