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DEEP GREEN - or, how to cut down on donkeywork in BG HQ

#21
Max_Bialystock said:
My point on CAST was not that the users were rigid (though it has been known, hasn't it...) but that the time lines of three days to plan against one day to fight were focused on the exercise of producing plans and orders. This necessarily led to big op orders when people tried to do it for real.
Agreed, and the more info that users have the more they feel it needs to be used, hence the proliferation of the OpO forest. Perhaps we need to go back to first principles, including that of brevity. Regardless of the outcome of this particular op, I believe that the OpO (links below) produced for 4th Army in 1916 is a masterpiece of brevity.

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j141/dt43/WW1.jpg

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j141/dt43/WW1A.jpg

http://i79.photobucket.com/albums/j141/dt43/WW1B.jpg

Max_Bialystock said:
Where do we stand now? Has Afghanistan with its large AORs, mix of terrain and new style of ops taken us back to a WW2 style situation where Mission Command was essential at times because of no comms?
.............and the above OpO was surely dependent upon mission command (again noting the Somme was not our most glorious mil episode).
 
#22
Having said that, there is a place for the big paper approach- look at the 116 pages of Admiralty orders for D Day. Mind you, having met the Navy...

Perhaps the lesson is one of horses for courses; D Day, on the Naval side, needed to be controlled. Ops in Helmand probably don't. Still, I'll find out all about rigid orders in a mission command context over the next few years, I suspect...
 
#23
pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Agreed, and the more info that users have the more they feel it needs to be used, hence the proliferation of the OpO forest. Perhaps we need to go back to first principles, including that of brevity.
I can think of some reasons that "extra" information is "used":
- it's the only way to transmit the raw information from the whiteboards at the unit HQ to the notebooks of the sub-units
- it's the only way to explain the deductions underlying the plan, so that if a factor changes, everyone can revisit the results.
- it's the best way to ensure that everyone actually understood that part of the orders.

So; part of the story is brevity when briefing (after all, we shouldn't stand up and completely restate the bleeding obvious at every O-Group) and another part of the story is passing out information through more frequent and more timely downward SITREPs. If these pieces of information (say, the G2 cell's Situation Enemy Forces brief) are automatically extracted from the unit picture, are a standard product (much like a standard orders format), and are easy to absorb and to use (i.e a picture, rather than a thousand words) then I would be hopeful. If not, as others have suggested, bin it and stick to KISS.

The problem then becomes bandwidth management - while spreading out the information will ease the load on the data network carrying it, all it takes is one budding Napoleon in the G2 cell to insist that everyone needs several Mb of aerial photos just to do a platoon attack...

pombsen-armchair-warrior said:
Regardless of the outcome of this particular op, I believe that the OpO produced for 4th Army in 1916 is a masterpiece of brevity.
I think the German OpO for the response to Op MARKET GARDEN has been quoted in BAR/ATDN somewhere; just as brief, and more successful.

Is part of the problem that most of our teaching examples (barring at least a week at CAST) involve walking into a totally new scenario, and having to brief everyone about everything all at once, for the first and only set of orders? How often do we see a series of unit teaching scenarios within the same larger operation, close enough together to allow the previous O-Group to have provided much of the orders, so that we can practice brevity?
 
#24
"Coming at it from a software point of view" kind of illustrates the problem doesn't it! You have to let the dog (OA/doctrine) wag the tail (software/simulation) or you are just playing computer games.
 
#25
Cuddles said:
Gravelbelly said:
Max_Bialystock said:
Back to Deep Green and the analysis side, does anybody have any first hand experience of OA and the actual likelihood of getting it to predict options correctly?
Coming from a software, rather than OA, view...

I don't think that it's realistic. If you think that they've only just sorted out the ultimate draughts computer, and are still working at a truly unbeatable chess program, solving a problem (i.e a Bde deliberate operation) where there are orders of magnitude more complexity, seems unrealistic to say the least.
"Coming at it from a software point of view" kind of illustrates the problem doesn't it! You have to let the dog (OA/doctrine) wag the tail (software/simulation) or you are just playing computer games.
I agree that technology has to support process - that's why I keep going on about the automation of HQ products.... But I suspect you're taking that quote slightly out of its intended context.

Architects can draw wonderful pictures, but if the engineers who have to build it say "sorry, can't be done, technology isn't there", then the game's over.

"We've come up with a wonderful tool, it just needs time travel and telepathy to make it work"

It keeps occurring to me that there are huge similarities between the software engineering process and the orders process.

Ironically, software engineers keep being promised new and fantastic processes that will analyse all of our requirements, solve all of our problems, manage all of our risks, test all of our outputs. Strangely, they involve consultants and salesmen who promise that an open chequebook is the route to Shangri-La... meanwhile, most IT projects arrive late)

:) ...right, that's it, let's shoot all of the consultants... :)
 
#26
Shooting is not the answer to everything GB...it just seems like it is.

As for similarities between software engineering and the orders process, I couldn't agree more...if you mean we're all great on ground, own troops, enemy, mission et cetera but go to ratchet once we get onto service support and enablers like that!!
 
#27
Cuddles said:
Shooting is not the answer to everything GB...it just seems like it is.
I know, I shouldn't talk about shooting consultants, Mrs.G will hit me. (She did risk management, now does process improvement, has intimidated COs in her time. Oh, and she has her own rifles and can use them).

Cuddles said:
As for similarities between software engineering and the orders process, I couldn't agree more...if you mean we're all great on ground, own troops, enemy, mission et cetera but go to ratchet once we get onto service support and enablers like that!!
Try looking at CMMI as an example.

For the army, the tactics and orders stuff is the bit that normally gets the attention. The focus in the CMMI example is to provide a measurement as to how well a particular group of people actually understand how they go about things; a CMMI audit is very much like going to CAST and having them say "we've watched you, and we think you're ace / average / cake and arse party"

How well do they plan? Can they predict how long it will take us to actually do something? Can they predict what resources we'll need? How often are their planned timescales wrong?

How do they cope with a changed requirement? Do they understand the impact of changes before they agree to them? How often does the change in plan screw up their timescales?

How do they check that their plan will meet its requirements? Do they understand the impact of their changes on other teams?

That's just the planning - what about delivering the plan? How well are they able to monitor what's going on? Can they actually fix things, or are they rabbits in the headlights?
 
#28
Gravelbelly said:
I know, I shouldn't talk about shooting consultants, Mrs.G will hit me. (She did risk management, now does process improvement, has intimidated COs in her time. Oh, and she has her own rifles and can use them).
So am I - I still do risk management - and yes...I too have a schrank full of firearms but I wouldn't waste rifles on you..It will be the Beretta Urika with magnum loads!

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#29
First step - how about automating those parts of the orders that can be extracted automatically, just like those pretty coloured drawings in the pamphlets? There's a saving, for a start. Task Org, Sit En Forces, Comd's intent 1 up, Comd's ME, Svc Sp, Comd & Sig - lots of good stuff.

This is not good. One of the many banes of my life was idle psc officers just *passing on* orders from above without adding the necessary unit level detail. WTF does *weapons tight* as Rules of Engagement mean to an infantryman?
 

Forastero

LE
Moderator
#30
More to the point, why do you keep on resurrecting old threads? I think you managed to 'save' one from 2005 the other day.
 
#31
duffdike said:
First step - how about automating those parts of the orders that can be extracted automatically, just like those pretty coloured drawings in the pamphlets? There's a saving, for a start. Task Org, Sit En Forces, Comd's intent 1 up, Comd's ME, Svc Sp, Comd & Sig - lots of good stuff.
This is not good. One of the many banes of my life was idle psc officers just *passing on* orders from above without adding the necessary unit level detail. WTF does *weapons tight* as Rules of Engagement mean to an infantryman?
You're right - but you can't replace training; after all, what would you say to a patrol commander who read out half-a-dozen grid references (twice) to a patrol who for the most part didn't have maps or compasses?

What I also mean by automation is translation to an appropriate level, at an appropriate time. Saying "Weapons Tight" is clearly defined; conforms to a STANAG; and can be looked up by everyone with a TAM. By contrast, if the Ops Offr decides to get helpful, translates "Weapons Tight" into something infantry-friendly, then everyone has a lot more to write down, and the risk of misunderstanding / transcription error grows.

If you have done your joined-up-writing course, and understand "Weapons Tight" and its implications, then great. If you're normal, new to the job, or knackered and just wanting to double-check, you click on the link to get to the formal definition.

Automation should also mean being aware of who's going to brief the orders; so if the handy-dandy automation tool is running at section level (unrealistic, I know, but bear with me) the words turn up in electronic form as "Weapons Tight", and go through the "Section Commander's translation tool" - magically it turns into "don't shoot unless shot at".

Another example might be CSurv control measures; that list of bigrams is fast to read out, but needs to be thought about. It could check CSCM orders against a sensible set of rules - such as the idle-Ops-Offr detector:
"Did you really mean to put Recce and OP parties under radio silence? How will they tell you about the bad people? Have you issued carrier pigeons as an alternative?"
 
#32
As a (reluctant I admit and short-serving) one time air defender, I hate people in a non-air defence environment using the expression weapons tight. It was a pretty crap way of expressing the original concept but because everyone knew (or in some cases thought they knew) what it meant, it was ok. now people litter their conversations with it and there are several extant definitions of it in several pams/manuals. ROE need to be laid out pretty clearly and should never be in conflict with the mission. Unless you are a Met Police marksman, I suppose...
 

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