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Firing Officers

Depends what you mean by 'proper' - getting bogged down in PRINCE 2-type crap would hinder, not enhance, the estimate.

Bottom line is that risk analysis is a means to an end, not the end in itself, and wrapping oneself around the risk axle, to the detriment of more useful activity, perhaps imposes greater risk. As he previous poster states, if the assumptions are incorrect then all the risk analysis in the world isn't going to make a jot of difference.

You are demonstrating exactly the blinkered thinking that we are talking about. I am talking about the high end risk analysis tools used by businesses delivering complex, high value projects. All projects start with assumptions; proper risk assessment tests those assumptions and provides consequence analysis if the assumptions are wrong. Sometimes the risks associated with an assumption change the course of a project.

I am an ACSC graduate and have worked as a staff officer on operations at Div and Bde level. I can categorically that I was never taught or saw anything that resembled effective risk assessment whilst serving. In business, I have been taught and have used class leading risk management tools and techniques and know how powerful they are in both decision making and in the execution of decisions.
 
All projects start with assumptions; proper risk assessment tests those assumptions and provides consequence analysis if the assumptions are wrong. Sometimes the risks associated with an assumption change the course of a project.


...and all military operations start with political assumptions, a reality which imposes massive additional risk that, even if it were to be identified, cannot be mitigated or terminated, hence the pointlessness of wrapping oneself around the risk axle.
 

Daxx

MIA
Book Reviewer
Surely the Military exists to take the risks civilians are unwilling to expose themselves to?
 
Unsuprisingly enough, I think pretty much every single CO of the combat arms got an OBE/MBE or DSO in todays operational honours and awards release. No doubt some were well deserved but I get the feeling that providing a CO doesn't massively screw up on tour it's pretty much a given that they are going to get some form of award.
 
Subsunk said:
There is a fine line between relief and firing which has been lost, and as a result this measure is never applied.

I agree if you are referring to junior officers (below field grade) but at least in the USMC while there may be a technical difference the effect--career over and if Colonel or above, retirement forthwith.
 
...and all military operations start with political assumptions, a reality which imposes massive additional risk that, even if it were to be identified, cannot be mitigated or terminated, hence the pointlessness of wrapping oneself around the risk axle.

All the more reason why risks need to be identified and managed, even of management is only tolerance. Interesting that the CENTCOM report on the sacking of the two Generals talks openly about a failure to properly assess risks.......
 
You are demonstrating exactly the blinkered thinking that we are talking about. I am talking about the high end risk analysis tools used by businesses delivering complex, high value projects. All projects start with assumptions; proper risk assessment tests those assumptions and provides consequence analysis if the assumptions are wrong. Sometimes the risks associated with an assumption change the course of a project.

I am an ACSC graduate and have worked as a staff officer on operations at Div and Bde level. I can categorically that I was never taught or saw anything that resembled effective risk assessment whilst serving. In business, I have been taught and have used class leading risk management tools and techniques and know how powerful they are in both decision making and in the execution of decisions.

I'm surprised you say that. Civilian risk management techniques had their roots in the army - starting with the basic 'Appreciation' "So what?"
 
I'm surprised you say that. Civilian risk management techniques had their roots in the army - starting with the basic 'Appreciation' "So what?"

I don't think that is true. There is a history of risk assessment and management going back to the Ancient Greeks; Against the Odds, the Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein charts the history of risk management pretty well.

In any event, there is nothing in UK doctrine that looks like what one would conventionally recognise as a risk register, with risks analysed, quantified, probabllized, owned and managed. If there was, we would probably not have put soldiers on the streets of Basrah in snatch Landrovers.....

The open, challenging identification of risk used in industry would be an anathema to most officers because it would be seen as challenging the commander's judgment, As Sarastro tells us earlier, "Proper risk analysis (in Bde and below estimates) is there, as the preserve largely of J2 & Q1 but also J3/5 in Q2". Thereby conveniently eliminating, for example, logistic risk from the plan.

"Proper" risk analysis can never be the preserve of a single staff branch; the apparently bone headed question from the non-specialsit often identifies the biggest risk.
 
I don't think that is true. There is a history of risk assessment and management going back to the Ancient Greeks; Against the Odds, the Remarkable Story of Risk by Peter Bernstein charts the history of risk management pretty well.

In any event, there is nothing in UK doctrine that looks like what one would conventionally recognise as a risk register, with risks analysed, quantified, probabllized, owned and managed. If there was, we would probably not have put soldiers on the streets of Basrah in snatch Landrovers.....

The open, challenging identification of risk used in industry would be an anathema to most officers because it would be seen as challenging the commander's judgment, As Sarastro tells us earlier, "Proper risk analysis (in Bde and below estimates) is there, as the preserve largely of J2 & Q1 but also J3/5 in Q2". Thereby conveniently eliminating, for example, logistic risk from the plan.

"Proper" risk analysis can never be the preserve of a single staff branch; the apparently bone headed question from the non-specialsit often identifies the biggest risk.

Force protection and some of the supporting doctrine gets close to what is out in industry WRT personal/occupational safety.

I have seen the commander's pocket guide to operational safety being referred to by some ex mil HSE bods working on onshore projects in remote and austere environments..

The big area where there isn't the industry match/cross polination is in what would be called process safety. Focused on the big projects or plants, it is where screw ups cost people their lives or their livelyhoods (Deepwater Horizon, Texas city, Buncefield, Piper Alpha, Sevesco, Flixborough to name but a few).

Response to these disasters has generally been a tightening up of existing or creation of new legislation.

Within the military, a parallel to process safety could be defined as strategic risk.

If (working on bobthebuilder's observations) there is no consistent or externally understandable way to firstly define this strategic risk, secondly, to understand/manage it and thirdly, to explain it in a concise objective measurable format to primary stake holders ( MOD & Government), then 10 years of cutting the grass, changing objectives and ultimately failing to achieve significant or long lasting seems inevitable.

I still find it amazing that the strata of military leadership who are the SMEs advising political decision makers have escaped censure.
It also says quite a lot for Politicians integrity (or embarrassment) that none have turned round and wailed " but I only said yes to what the generals in the snazzy up/in or out/down uniforms said they could easily do/want to do"
 

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