Systemic Thinking: Enhancing Intelligence Preparation and Estimates
NAVAL WAR COLL NEWPORT RI JOINT MILITARY OPERATIONS DEPT
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U.S. Army Intelligence doctrine and training regarding Intelligence Preparation of the Operational Environment IPOE and Intelligence Estimates do not adequately address the complex, Contemporary Operating Environment COE. Intelligence doctrine and training overly focuses on linear reduction, and provide an imbalanced approach to addressing novel problems or complex adaptive systems that morph over time. Intelligence doctrine is also de-linked from Army Operations field manuals that have begun to advocate holistic approaches to problem-solving. General systems concepts offer promising methods to better address the challenges of the COE, and enhance the quality of intelligence estimates, operational planning, and their value to commanders. Systemic thinking concepts attempt to not only understand subsystems, but understand the system as a whole and how each piece relates to one another. Systemic thinking also acknowledges complex systems change over time, and encourage users to reevaluate and reframe the problem before planning. This paper critiques current U.S. Army Intelligence doctrine, gives a short explanation of systems theory and associated concepts, and explains how incorporating systemic thinking into intelligence doctrine and training will enhance operational design, operational planning, and tactical planning.
- Military Intelligence