Tuesday March 17, 2009
What is it?
Design is an approach to critical and creative thinking that enables a commander to understand unique situations, to visualize and describe how to shape positive change across the operational environment. By its very nature, design is a fundamentally iterative activity, evolving with the dynamics of the operational environment. Design assists the commander in leading innovative, adaptive work and guides planning, execution and assessment – it facilitates the ability of the commander to frame complex, ambiguous problems and develop solutions that are flexible and adaptive to dynamic conditions. Design leverages organizational intellectual power into decisive combat power that can be used to manage ambiguous situations over time.
What has the Army done?
After four years of concept development and experimentation, the Army is laying the doctrinal foundation to establish design as a key enabler to the operations process. With the publication of Field Manual 5-0, The Operations Process, later this year, the intellectual underpinnings for a contemporary approach to battle command will be cemented into the knowledge base. In the School for Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), design has been incorporated into the curriculum in an effort to apply design theory and philosophy to the daunting challenges of the current operating environment. These efforts are vital to developing better understanding of complex situations, when action is required but no consensus exists on the nature of the problem or how to proceed.
Why is this important to the Army?
Design lies at the heart of battle command – it provides commanders with the cognitive tools to lead, learn, understand, visualize, describe and direct action. Design provides this methodology and assists commanders with what they are already doing in an ad hoc fashion. Design thinking helps to develop officers who can not only design military responses to complex situations but also officers who are critical and creative thinkers, culturally aware, effective communicators, and confident leaders of operational planning teams who can truly employ a comprehensive approach to complex problem solving..
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"Design is the next step on a path to maturing our battle command model for the complexities of operations in an era of persistent conflict. It will provide future generations of leaders with the cognitive tools necessary to master our operations process . . . forging an operational paradigm that is as flexible and adaptive as the leaders we are developing."
- Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, commanding general, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in a recent blog post
"St. Patrick's Day is a time to celebrate Irish heritage and gather with friends and family, but it can quickly end in tragedy due to impaired driving. You wouldn't leave a buddy pinned down under enemy fire in Iraq, so don't leave a buddy pinned down sitting at the end of a bar in hometown America. Remember we are a Band of Brothers and Sisters, on and off the battlefield, and need to look after each other."
- Command Sgt. Maj. Tod Glidewell of the USACR/Safety Center
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