PRAXIS - The Canadian Army Command and Staff College Dispatch

Big Ideas of Importance to the Army

The Canadian Army Integrated Performance Strategy (CAIPS) uses the term “cognitive dominance” in two senses. In an operational/tactical sense, it refers to the ability of soldiers and systems that can, in a timely manner, out-think the enemy, achieved through enhanced situational awareness. In a psychological sense, soldiers can invest in their personal situational awareness by maintaining a high level of fitness—physical, emotional, social, spiritual, intellectual and familial—which in turn builds individual resilience. Is personal situational awareness in the psychological sense needed to outthink the enemy in the operational/tactical sense? A good discussion of the core issue at the section level can be found at the following link:

http://warnerds.com/wp-content/uploads/Engagement-Decision-Matrix-A-model-of-cognitive-dominance-for-the-infantry-squad.pdf

Critical Thought at the College

A broadly held assumption is that Army Operations Course (AOC) students understand tactics at the necessary level before they get to Tutorial 2 (Residence). Yet the Army Tactical Operations Course (ATOC), as good as it is, exposes students only to combat team tactics, not battle group or brigade tactics. Critical thinking during the AOC focuses on the estimate and the operational planning process (OPP). No one questions the critical importance of teaching the process of decision-making, but a sound grasp of battle group tactics might enhance the quality of the ultimate end-state—a sound plan. Should the discussion of tactics in Tutorial 1 (Distance Learning) be reinforced during Tutorials 2 and 3? The following link provides a good discussion of the issue as experienced at the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth:

https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/01/04/in-defense-of-the-armys-command-general-staff-college-a-rebuttal-to-tom/

Resources for the Student of War

How does one actually study a battle? The CGSC at Fort Leavenworth has developed two forms of battle analysis: basic and advanced. Both forms consist of four steps: defining the subject and evaluating the sources, reviewing the setting, describing the action, and assessing the significance of the action. The last step consists of linking causes to effects and establishing lessons, neither of which is easy. The purpose of the methodology is to ensure that important aspects of historical battles/campaigns are not forgotten. Lessons can hardly be learned from incomplete analysis.

https://usacac.army.mil/CAC2/csi/docs/CombatStudiesInstitute-200804010031-DOC.doc

PRAXIS is produced monthly by the CACSC Professional Military Education Staff. Have questions? Contact us via email at: +CACSC PME@CACSC@Kingston (internal DND only).

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Praxis (from Ancient Greek: πρᾶξις, translit. praxis) is the process by which a theory, lesson, or skill is enacted, embodied, or realized. "Praxis" may also refer to the act of engaging, applying, exercising, realizing, or practicing ideas.

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