Academic journal article Military Review

Force Agility through Crowdsourced Development of Tactics

Academic journal article Military Review

Force Agility through Crowdsourced Development of Tactics

Article excerpt

The year is 2020. On a Navy aircraft carrier off the western coast of Africa, U.S. Army Col. Lisa Eversen, commander of Task Force Justice, reads the mission statement quickly: (1)

Who: Task Force Justice

What: Attack to destroy three terrorist training camps--conduct attacks simultaneously

When: Execute the missions in seven hours

Where: Per attached coordinates

Why: Help remove terrorist forces to enable the restoration of law and order in the democratically elected government

Eversen and her staff quickly begin a condensed Army military decisionmaking process (MDMP) to create an executable plan, per Field Manual 6-0, Commander and Staff Organization and Operations. (2) The commander and staff have only seven hours until their mission commences. For planning, they need to assemble threat and friendly force information, intelligence products, environmental data, logistic requirements, and other planning material.

In the past, the development and evaluation of viable courses of action (COAs) would have largely been driven by experience, doctrine, and best practices contributed by a small staff group. (3) In 2020, however, Task Force Justice also uses the force agility--crowdsourced development of tactics (FA-CDT) technology, a new way to develop and analyze COAs. Using a structured process with the FA-CDT technology, the staff systematically produces five viable COAs, based on

* crowdsourced, tactical game play gathered from over one million global players using mobile platforms that incorporate the latest threat tactics,

* war-gaming of COAs against one hundred thousand threat simulations to produce success probabilities,

* big data to analyze and improve the five draft COAs for Task Force Justice, and

* a systematic twelve-step process.

After developing and analyzing COAs (in steps 3 and 4 of the MDMP), Task Force Justice begins comparing their COAs (in step 5) with tactical planning options created, tested, improved, and delivered for approval and final planning. Their technology integrates crowdsourcing, big data, and mobile-gaming technology from a global military user base to create the best chance of tactical success.

Effective Responses to Future Challenges

The Army needs an FA-CDT technology platform that will allow design, validation, war-gaming, and dynamic analysis for creating plans with the greatest probability of success in the shortest time possible. Three pieces of technology in use today that can drive the future of Army planning are crowdsourcing, big data, and mobile gaming. The way to revolutionize Army tactical mission planning is through a mobile-gaming platform that could be offered to thousands, or even millions, of users and then have the results analyzed using big data analytics.

The key question concerning military challenges in 2020 and beyond is what path do leaders take to prepare for a successful future? Two possible ways to prepare for future military operations are to (1) attempt to predict where future wars will be and why, or (2) create agile systems to speed decision making for successful operations. The historical record of predicting the military future has shown that the chances for failure are high, and the chances for success are slim. On the other hand, agile systems like FA-CDT could help the Army accomplish missions that it might not be able to predict.

Prediction. The failure of the French Maginot Line, built during the pre-World War II years along the French and German border, offers a warning on the shortcomings of military prediction. The French built an extensive static defense, based mainly on experience and old technology. This approach did not predict or anticipate the rapid advance of technology (such as faster tanks and glider infantry) and new tactics (such as blitzkrieg) that rapidly neutralized static defense. …

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