The 'Directed COA' and Recognition-Primed Decision-Making

Understanding cognitive psychology provides insights on phenomena such as the 'directed course of action.' Cognitive psychologist Gary Klein's book, Sources of Power: How People Make Decisions, describes what he calls recognition-primed decision-making, offering an explanation and insights into how tactical leaders think and develop approaches to solve problems on the battlefield.

The Role of the Intelligence Officer: Knowing the Enemy

Guest writer Brad Wellsandt joins us again, arguing that at the battalion/brigade level, intelligence officers must clearly understand their role.  The S2 must take on the mindset of a fighter, one who fights the enemy, fights for information, and fights to get knowledge to his Commander.  Additionally, they must integrate intelligence into the planning process and during execution through the development and use of priority intelligence requirements. Assuming these roles will allow intelligence officers and, as a result, their Commanders better understand the enemy.

Thinking about Ranges At the Tactical Level

Crucial to tactical decision-making is the commander’s consideration of the environment, his own forces, and the enemy’s forces. Tactical leaders think at three levels and how they visualize the actions of friendly and enemy forces significantly impacts the quality of their decision-making.

Innovation at the Tactical Level: The Drink & Think

Communities of practice such as the Irwin Drink and Think are developing and growing across the US Army. The experience that members of The Tactical Leader gained in establishing a group and coming together for three years might prove valuable to anyone seeking to start a similar type of community of practice. In particular, three insights lead us to believe that the success that we enjoyed meets a currently existing demand, is easily replicable, and yields meaningful results - the very definition of innovation.

Spoiling for a Fight: Making a Case for Aggressive Reconnaissance

Preparing and training formations almost exclusively in the conduct of passive, stealthy reconnaissance leaves the formation out-of-balance in respect to its capabilities. The ability to conduct aggressive reconnaissance is an essential proficiency in large-scale combat operations. Formations must train both. This post seeks to highlights considerations in favor of conducting aggressive reconnaissance that a tactical leader should use to inform thier model of reconnaissance.

The State of the Intelligence Warfighting Function in the US Army Brigade Combat Team

Guest CPT Brad Wellsandt argues that US Army Soldiers and leaders operating within the intelligence warfighting function find themselves amid a crisis of relevance at the tactical level. Often ineffective at informing the BCT Commander's decision-making and increasingly marginalized, he recommends better integration with other warfighting functions, changing the culture surrounding intelligence at the tactical level, and reforming training.

Winning the 'Fight to See'

In our efforts to conduct reconnaissance, we find ourselves falling well short of achieving the reconnaissance objective. We must leverage the Cavalry formation’s capability to conduct combined-arms maneuver to overcome this challenge.