How Critical Thinking Shapes the Military Decision Making Process
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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A lack of Combatant Commander COCOM critical thinking in the Military Decision Making Process MDMP is a causal factor in military failure at the operational level. However, critical thinking can improve the MDMP of the COCOM. This paper analyzes the effects of critical thinking on the combatant commanders decision making process by defining critical thinking illustrating its impact on intuitive and analytical decisions demonstrating barriers to critical thinking and proposing practical ways to use critical thinking in the MDMP. An historical vignette illustrates the effects of critical thinking on decision making in a major operation. The MDMP is a process and critical thinking is an enabler to that process. Frequently the MDMP solution is plagued by a lack of analytic depth, faulty assumptions, vague analysis and wishful thinking. Two common barriers to clear thinking are psychological and logical fallacies. This paper provides examples of both types of barriers. Critical thinking can improve the MDMP decisions resulting in a higher probability of operational success. Finally, the paper offers a starting point by proposing several critical thinking ideas to use in the MDMP.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics