(US) Army announces test of wikis to revise TTPs

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 30, 2009) -- The U.S. Army Combined Arms Center has launched a test allowing Soldiers and leaders to make real-time updates to the Army's tactics, techniques and procedures via a wiki environment.

The intent is to accelerate the creation and sharing of knowledge, said officials at the CAC Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate and the Battle Command Knowledge System, who are conducting the test together. They said the test is in contrast to typical time frames of three to five years for staffing and updating field manuals.

With this test, the Army is exploring the possibility to share and revise TTPs using a milWiki platform available on Army Knowledge Online.


I've done a bit of work on corporate wikis and while the technology has a lot of potential the usual mistake is not to look at the business change and cultural aspects of putting them out there.

It's potentially useful, as long as they've got a few issues in place. The main ones that spring to mind are:

Whether they're overtly identifiable or pseudonymous. they can't be completely anonymous as there would be no way to check legitimacy or the authority that a contributor brings, but equally being completely open risks deterring contributions.

How to reconcile conflicting views and information. It's bound to happen.

How to encourage participation.

How to maintain consistency across the documents and their formal release cycle.

None of it's insurmountable, but it does need resourced and effort put into making sure it works.
This is something the MoD should consider, since it now takes so long to get quality doctrine produced. We are still waiting for the long-over due COIN manual. The writing began in mid-2006, by an author who was in his early 70s. That does not inspire confidence.
They've nicked this idea off the USMC who've been using it for a while - the US Army is a big beast and can't react as fast.

Meanwhile our senior officers are turning to the duty scaley and saying "Just turn that laptop on and set it up would you Corporal".
when someone says the "us army" they make the automatic assumption its a monolithic organization, but every unit has SOP's that differ from the standardized doctrine (fm 7-8, etc). barring a few exceptions, there is no one way to do anything in the army. i think this is a great oppurtunity for individuals and commanders to learn from everyones SOP's, and maybe accomplish the mission set for them and save a few soldiers lives in the process.
The US Army has learnt hard lessons and rapidly adapted their doctrine and resultant TTP, SOPs in the last few years. They have pursued their initial short comings by the investment in time, talent and hard cash all driven from the upper echelons of the Department of the Army and a few acolytes of change such as Gen Petraeus etc. Such drive and talent is infrequently found and rarely encouraged in the British Army and we are the poorer for it. As an example, the US Army issues their Field Manuals (FMs) in draft format for all to see, pass comment upon, begin to teach at the Staff College and seem to avoid the lengthy inertia that accompany any of our publications. We need drive from the top, an identification of talent and experience and for the govt to cough up some cash and add a touch of coherence to their grand designs.
I would suspect that it is a response to companycommander.com. It started out about five years ago as an independent concept and was found good enough by the powers that be to be brought inside the official fold. I tried to get on it as a platoon sergeant and was turned down. Understandable, but I do wonder what I missed out on prior to Oh I'm Fucked III.

If a distributed net of information where a multitude of ideas are posted with a very short lead time "hey this worked for us" and the receiving units can say "yes, but" I cannot but think that this is a good thing. Units on the ground are a far better quality control than an overworked major at Ft. Leavenworth with operational experience restricted to Iraq versus AFG.

When in theater, it is interesting to look how enemy TTP's spread across the battlespace. I like the fact that we now have a formal system with equal or better response times to match the enemy flexibility in disseminating measures and countermeasures as opposed to an informal email network restricted to personal relationships. If it kills one more enemy or saves one Allied life, it is worth it.

Regards quality control, at the end of the day, one guy might have a great idea pulled off the internet, but he still has to sell it it the rest of the platoon or company.

Forgive errors in logic and spelling, vodka is good in the midwestern heat.
redleg6 said:
This is something the MoD should consider, since it now takes so long to get quality doctrine produced. We are still waiting for the long-over due COIN manual. The writing began in mid-2006, by an author who was in his early 70s. That does not inspire confidence.
It certainly began a while ago but I am not so sure about those 'facts'. Should be out in the next few months.
I stand by my facts. Writing began in mid-2006. Author was a retired Brig. He worked for 2 years and his final draft was poorly received. Some Gen officers were aghast at what had been written, bearing in mind it had taken 2 years at that point. Given 30 days to re-write, in fact, a complete re-do. That effort failed, despite 3 star oversight. Team at LWC began in late 2008 with goal to finish by mid 2009.

Latest Threads