Carlisle, Pa. -- Planners for U.S. Army North and the Mexican Joint Staff connected at the Army War College and collaborated through a Design exercise, June 28-30 in Carlisle Pa.
The Mexican delegation, led by Col. Jose Jorge Lozano Arce, included experts in logistics, training, doctrine, air forces and international affairs. The Joint Staff planning efforts will support the Mexican Secretary of National Defense in its responsibilities to coordinate, plan, control, direct and supervise the military activities of the Army and Air Force.
The Mexican delegation is working with partner counterparts from USARNORTH to take a fresh look at how the two armies will work together to meet shared objectives in a resource-limited environment, noted the U.S. delegation lead, Dave Mantiply, supervisory plans specialist with the USARNORTH Office of Security Cooperation.
Having met many times virtually through the COVID-19 period, the planners welcomed the opportunity to tap into Dr. Celestino ‘Tino‘ Perez’s expertise with the Design process and the collaborative environment of the Army War College, said Mantiply.
“When we have this exercise together, it gives opportunity to visualize and brainstorm,” he said about the objective proposed by USNORTHCOM for the two planning elements. An initial step was to find a common understanding of their objective, operational compatibility. “We have an agreement to present to leaders,” said Mantiply.
“What we do here is brainstorm and discuss – to move forward toward a better solution and reinforce cooperation between Mexico and the U.S.,” said Lozano Arce. “And, when we have a point in common, we can amplify the conversation and get to a goal in a mutual way.
“I believe Tino’s help very useful. This way of designing we can apply to our own planning,” he said.
For the US-Mexican military planning effort, Perez customized a 3-day exercise to apply the conceptual steps of Design to examine U.S.-Mexican armies’ operational compatibility. He leveraged the flexibility of the AWC experimental classroom to encourage discussion and convey complex concepts and relationships.
The Army War College-led collaboration reflects principles of the Army Operating Concept -- integrating exercises to ensure cumulative learning and prioritizing development of leaders capable of visualizing, describing, and assessing operations in complex environments.
Mantiply sought out Perez’s experience in teaching and applying Design principles, having worked with then-Col. Tino Perez previously. As an Army War College faculty instructor, Perez is adept at both teaching and applying Design principles and process.
Strategic Design constructs a conceptual framework that can underpin a national level strategy. The process includes visualizing the strategic environment, understanding the problem to be solved, and developing a broad approach that can be converted through joint planning processes to a detailed solution.
"Design provides national-security professionals with a way to better understand a complex environment and its challenges,” said Perez. “Design's most important strength comes from multiple persons sharing their perspectives about how best to understand and confront a problem."