Sensemaking in the Fog of War: An Experimental Study of How Command Teams Arrive at a Basis for Action
SWEDISH NATIONAL DEFENCE COLLEGE STOCKHOLM (SWEDEN) DEPT OF WAR STUDIES
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A commander and his staff have to use whatever information is available to arrive at an understanding of the situation that can serve as a basis for action, hence sensemaking has a central role in the C2 process. This paper reports the results of a first experimental study of the sensemaking process in a command team. The participants were 99 Army captains studying at the Swedish National Defense College. They worked in 16 teams of 5-7 individuals, and one team member acted as brigade commander. The task was to produce a part of a brigade order within six hours. All teams were video taped for the entire session. Eight teams, assigned to the low uncertainty condition, received information about the location of all enemy units. The remaining eight teams, in the control, normal condition received what might normally be expected. It proved possible to distinguish two sensemaking processes, one concerned with understanding the mission and what it required, and one that involved producing the basis for the plan. The quality of the plan, as judged by experts, was related to the characteristics of the sensemaking process, as assessed from the video recordings.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics