Why Design? - Fund For Fallen Allies

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Preface


“A victorious army first wins and then seeks battle. A defeated army first battles and then seeks
victory.”

Sun Tzu,
The Art of War


The
A
rmy is standing astride a doctrinal fault line which requires a sober evaluation of old
practices
and
the
creation of new approaches for the practice of operational art.


Today, the
U.S.

A
rmy is

confronting a revolution in military affairs as significant as those of the
19
th

and
20
th

centuries.
The nature of combat operations marking the first decade of t
he
21
st

C
entury has
demonstrated the need for new ways of thinking about the use of force to restore balance within
the complex social
-
political and cultural
milieus

that breed current threats to national and,
indeed, global security. Military force is em
ployed
, today,

less to
win a

war by overthrow of a
hostile military opponent, than to provide an environment in which
all

means of power and
influence can restore complicated political situations to conditions within
the
tolerances of our
Nation’s politica
l authorities. Hybrid threats, combining patterns of irregular warfare with select
high
-
tech niche capabilities and traditional political fronts, pose new challenges to conventional
operational approaches

for warfare in the 21
st

Century
. Just as the Army

had to adapt to the
implications of radically different mission sets and technological environments in the nineteenth
and twentieth centur
ies
, today the radical shifts in the global economic and socio
-
political
ecology are challenging the Army’s ability t
o adapt its thinking to meet new requirements.
The
world has always been and will continue to be complex and will present polit
ical and military
leaders with

situation
s
that will defy long standing normative problem solving behavior.
Imaginative new appro
aches to problem solving will continue to be required.


The Art of Design is one such approach, already hinted at in current and emerging Joint and
Service doctrine.
1

The Art of Design
is a

theory and practice of iterative learning
and action
that develop
s and uses critical thinking skills to understand and manage complex
problem
s

across the security environment
.
The Art of Design is a cognitive paradigm shift from a 20
th

Century doctrinal model

that emphasized check
-
lists, templates and processes.
Desig
n
focuses
on employing

c
reative thinking skills

for operational art to deal with complex ill
-
structured
economic
-
socio
-
cultural
-
political
-
military situations.
It is possible, and often useful, to design at
Strategic, Operational
and

Tactical levels. The
Design approach makes explicit what
Commanders do intuitively in combat as they learn from acting within complex and complicated
systems. Our collective goal is to codify these practices for doctrine.


Design is anchored on two broad groups of intellectua
l activity: System Framing and Operations
Framing.
System
s

F
raming

is

the foundational activity

to

build the cognitive base of a broad
and deep shared understanding of complex situations.
A presumption of Design is that no matter
how much learning takes
place during Systems Framing, understanding is always incomplete
.


This presumption drives the leader to require

continuous, iterative

learning to
ensure a more
complete understanding while
operat
ing

in
a dynamic,

competitive security environment.



1

Chapter 4, FM 3
-
24/MCWP 3
-
33.5,
Counterinsurgency
(December 2006); Chapter IV, Joint Publication 5
-
0
, Joint
Operation Planning

(26 December 2006), TRADOC Pamphlet 525
-
5
-
500,
Commander’s Appreciation and
Campaign Design
(28 Janua
ry 2008).




4


Creatio
n of an adequate
Systems Frame

allows the commander and his design group to
cognitively map their environment and create a relevant Problem Statement and Theory of
Action for moving an unsatisfactory state of affairs to a condition that is within tolerance

of the
political sponsor or of a senior military commander.


Operation
s

F
raming

involves

making choices of intervention, setting boundaries for action and
iden
tifying areas for exploitation based on the

Theory of Action. Together, the Systems Frame
and O
perations Frame provide the basis to prepare a viable strategy for higher command review,
refinement, approval, and implementation. This should provide subordinate organizations and
coordinating authorities the necessary purpose, direction, and guidance t
o support their
traditional planning efforts.


Design’s benefit to current doctrine is the creation of a frame of reference that aids comparison
in a changing environment and enables learning through iterative actions. Design has the
potential to provide

a systemic shared understanding that is easily communicated to U
.
S
.

forces,
coalition, and interagency partners.
Design

requires

a collaborative leadership and participative
style of command that engages subordinate commanders, coordinating authorities,
representatives of various staff disciplines
,

and the higher commander in continuing dialog and
discussion, leading to a
shared understanding of the situation
requirements and a sense of
participation
by all

in
decision making. Design
will
enable commande
rs a
nd
leaders to learn by
exploiting
multiple perspectives, varied sources of knowledge and expertise
,

while formulating
a
sophisticated
understanding

of the situation through the employment of critical thinking skills
.


The paper that follows

address
es

the
practice
of
Design

by first examining the nature of the
complex situations confronted by today’s commanders
(Chapter 1
);

the theory and practice of the
Art of Design for dealing with

complex situations and

ill
-
structured problems (Chapter 2), and
the
implications of Design for the practice of Battle Command (Chapter 3).




5


CONTENTS


Prefa
ce …………………………………………………………………………
..

3

Chapter 1:
Co
gnitive

Framework …………………………………
..

....
.
...

7

Complicated versus Complex Systems
…………
…………………………

.

7

Complicated Systems

Co
mplex Systems

Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex Conflicts ……………………………………………………………….
.

9

The Structure of
Operational Problems

...
…………………………………
..

12

Well
-
Structured Problems

Medium
-
Structured Problems

Ill
-
Structured Problems

Operational Art
...…………………………………………
……………………… 16

The Relationship of Design to Planning

Designing

Planning

Chapter 2: T
h
e Theory and Practice of Design
…………………
..



21

Why Design?
........................................................................................
..
. 23

Design Overview
………
…………………………………………………….. 26

Underlying Theories
………………………………………………………...
.

27

Operationalizing The Theory of Learning
.
……………

……………….

29

System Fram
e

Development



Problem Statement

and Theory of Action

Operations Frame


Design

Formulation

Assessment and Refram
ing
……………………………………………….
.

3
6

Chapter
3
: Design and the Art of Battle Command………
..




...
3
8

Introduction
…………………………………………………………………
.
.. 3
8

The Role of the Commander in Design
…………………………………
.
. 39


The Commander’s Role Outside of Headquarters


The Commander’s Role
Within the Headquarters

The Relationship Between the Commander, his Staff,


and his Subordinate Commanders
………………………………. 4
4

Conditions For Productive Activity Within the Staff
…………………. 45

How Design May Influence the Current Army Battle


Command Paradigm
……
…………………………………………… 4
8

Conclusion
……………………………………………………………………
49


Appendices:

Appendix 1: Contin
uum of
Ill
-
Structured P
roblems


..
…………
5
0


Appendix 2:
Example
Questions for Learning About the



Oppositi
on as a System

………………………………
….
..
..
.
.
.

5
1




6


Appendix 3:
Ex
ample
Questions About the Friendly



(Collaborative) Command System ..……
………………

.
.
.

5
4


Appendix 4:
Example
Questions About the System
of


Logistics”

…………………………………
.
……………
..

.
..
..

5
5


Appendix 5:
Example
Questions for Determining the Form



Of Intervention
and Design Formulation

..…
..
…..
.

..

..
..

5
6


Glos
sary ……………………………………………………………

…..

..

5
8




7



Chapter 1:

Co
gnitive

Framework



Some systems have a very large number of components and perform sophisticated tasks but in a
way that can be analyzed

accurately. Su
ch a system is complicated. Other systems are
constituted by such intricate sets of non
-
linear relationships and feedback loops that only certain
aspects of them can be analyzed at a time. Moreover, these analyses would cause distortions.
Systems of thi
s kind are complex.


Paul Cilliers

Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems
2




Complicated versus Complex Systems


Complicated systems
, like jumbo jets, are defined by the presence of a large number of
interactive components or parts.

In spite of the number of elements, such systems are ultimately
knowable and their behavior is predictable.
Such systems demonstrate
linearity
,

because they
exhibit
proportionality
,

repeatability
, additivity,
and
demonstrability of cause and effect
.



P
roportionality

means that a small input leads to a small output, a larger input to a larger
output. Push down lightly on the accelerator, the car will go slowly, but push down heavily and
its speed will increase.

Repeatability

means that the system will
respond the same way to an
input under the same conditions. Re
peatability
also allows
cause and effect

to be demonstrated.
Thus, a driver knows that changing the position of the accelerator causes the speed to change.





2

Paul Cilliers,
Complexity and Postmodernism: Understanding Complex Systems
(New York: Routledge, 1998), 3.
Cilliers goes on to say, tongue in cheek, that a jet plane, with its thousands of parts, is merely complicated. A
mayonnaise is comple
x.

Complicated versus Complex Systems …………….. 7

Complicated Systems

Complex Systems

Complex Adaptive Systems

Complex

Conflicts………………………………………. 9

The Structure of
Operational Problems
.…………… 12

Well
-
Structur
ed Problems

Medium
-
Structured Problems

Ill
-
Structured Problems

Operational Art
………………………………………….. 16

The Relationship of Design to Planning

Designing

Planning




8


Additivity

means that the whole is
equal to the sum of the parts.
3

The additive nature of
linear systems legitimizes
reductionist
analysis.
Reductionist a
nalysis reduces the system into
progressively smaller components in order to determine the properties of each. In a system that
exhibi
ts little interactive complexity, the properties of the whole system can be understood based
upon the properties of the components.
Because it is possible to analyze, understand and predict
the behavior of complicated systems, many engineered systems are
specifically designed to have
these desirable properties.
The most effective way to study such a system is
systematically
4

and
,
where possible,
quantitatively using the analytical problem solving

method
. Unfort
unately, the
operational
s
ystems

confronting

commanders at all levels are rarely linear.


Complex systems
, in contrast, are systems in which the interactions of elements and
components have so many possible interrelationships and feedback loops that their behavior is
never completely predictable
and

deliberate attempts to
transform

a complex system will always
involve some trial and erro
r
.
Such systems are marked by a phenomenon called
emergence
,
the
power to generate “behavio
u
r that
could not be anticipated from a

knowledge of the parts of the
syst
em alone,” and
self
-
organization
, which means
order arises spontaneously


“there is no
external controller or planner engineering the appearance of these emergent features.”
5

Systems
defined by human interaction a
re, for the most part, complex
, not least

due to the human
characteristic of combining multiple identities in single actors, each with its own particular
complex of roles and interpretations

of the world around it
.
6

Natural systems also exhibit
ubiquitous interactive complexity, ranging from the

Earth as a self
-
regulating system, to food
webs of predator
-
prey interactions in ecosystems, to self
-
organizing ant colonies, down to the
distributed adaptive nature of the human immune system.
Reductionism
, the method of breaki
ng
a problem into simpler p
arts

and analysis of components in isolation
, is

not sufficient for
understanding complex systems because this
lose
s

sight of the dynamics and relationships
between the components.
In other words, reductionist techniques cannot account for emergent
proper
ties.
The study of complex systems must be
systemic
7

rather than reductionist, qualitative
as well as

quantitative, and must use different
heuristic
8

approaches
as well as

analytical
problem solving.





3

T
h
om
as

Czerwinski
,

Coping with the Bounds
:


Speculations on Nonlinearity
in Military Affairs

(
Washington,
D.C.: DoD Command and Control Research Program, 1997
), pp. 8
-
9
.

4

Systematic
: A

methodical process dependant on an expectation of prescriptive c
ause and effect within a closed
system
.

5

Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO), Fact Sheet, “Complex or Just
Complicated: What is a complex system?” Available on
-
line at
http://www.CSIRO.au/resources/AboutComplexSystems.html
. Accessed September 13, 2008.

6

David Snowdon, “Complex Knowledge,” in Miriam Cunningham, et al,
Building the Knowledge Economy: Issues,
Application, Case Studies

(Amsterdam, Netherland
s: IOS Press, 2003), 811.

7

Systemic
:
A holistic approach that draws from systems theory, aimed at understanding and influencing change in
an open system
.

Note that system is derived from a Greek word meaning “to combine.” A systemic understanding
means

combining components of a system in a context and establishing the nature of their behavior and
relationships. S
ystemic is not equivalent to systematic
.

8

Heuristic is a key term in Design
. It is used in the sense offered by the
Merrimam
-
Webster On
-
Line

Dictionary
…”of or relating to
exploratory

problem
-
solving methods that utilize
self
-
educating

techniques (as the
evaluation of feedback) to improve performance. In short, it is a sophisticated effort at trial and error, learning in
structured layers. Th
e term heuristic has a number of meanings depending on the discipline in question.




9


Complex Adaptive Systems
. The speed with which even i
rregular forces learn and adapt
adds a temporal dimension to complexity. The ability to learn and adapt while fighting marks
current and
future adversaries, and the societies from which they come, as
complex
and
adaptive
systems
. Such systems “exhibit
co
herence under change, via conditional action and anticipation,
and they do so without central direction.”
9


Irregular forces, because they are less regimented and
hierarchical, can change not only their fighting techniques, but also their organization and
the
very objectives for which they are fighting. Irregular forces include actors who form dissipative
organizations, which cluster for a time and conduct cyber
-
space raids and then disband, never to
be joined together again. Complex adaptive systems are
inherent in the cognitive, moral,
physical and cyber domains.


During operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, the Israeli
Defense Forces (IDF) formed a Center for Army Lessons Learned, which “
collected, analyzed
and dispersed operati
onal knowledge and lessons learned in real
-
time amongst fighting forces
.”
10

The center gathered knowledge gained from each day’s operations, printed digests, and
distributed these down to company level by the next day. However, the Israelis were not the
o
nly ones learning and adapting. Gil Ariely, the
Chief Knowledge Officer

of the

IDF
Ground
Forces noted
, “
The need to learn while fighting was initially derived from
[
H
e
zbollah’s
]

intuitive
ability to learn in short cycles.

11


It is important to note that
the systems that comprise the adversary are not the only ones
capable of adaptation. The wider environment and friendly systems, such as domestic public
opinion, also adapt in response to operations and perceptions of operations. The ability of all
these

systems to change makes it essential for armies to learn while operating in much shorter
learning cycles. As the enemy and other elements in the operational environment have adapted
to earlier actions, a commander may discover that his original understan
ding of a situation or
problem is no longer valid. Operational learning will be discussed in more detail in Chapter 2.


This chapter introduces the co
gnitive

framework behind Design, focusing on three topics:
complexity, problem structure
, and

operationa
l art,
the latter drawing a hard distinction between
Design and planning
. Chapters 2 and 3 describe the
Practice of the Art of Design and the
implications of Design for the Art of Battle Command, respectively.


Complex

Conflicts

The complexity of warfare
in the early twenty
-
first century poses special challenges to
the United States (U.S.) Armed Forces. The services developed much of their doctrine,
organizations, and equipment during the Cold War in preparation for war between states. At the
time, this
type of war was the most dangerous threat to our Nation’s survival, but it was not the
most likely form of conflict

then or now. In fact, throughout the Cold War and the period that
followed, war between states has been the rarest form of conflict in whic
h the United States



9

John H. Holland,
Hidden Order: How Adaptation Builds Complexity

(Reading, Massachusetts: Addison
-
Wesley
Publishing Co, 1995.), p. 55.

10

Gil Ariely, “
Learning to digest dur
ing fighting


Real
time k
nowledge
m
anagement,”
http://www.instituteforcounterterrorism.org/apage/7572.php
.

11

Ibid.




10


engaged.
12

U.S. joint doctrine must advance beyond the old paradigm of war between states and
between armies of regulars that are organized, trained, and equipped according to a similar logic.


Future violent conflicts are more likely t
o reflect what British General Rupert Smith has
called “war amongst the people.”
13

These are conflicts in which some or all of the participants
are irregulars and military operations cannot deliver a conclusive political result. Rather,
political and mili
tary activities intermingle, requiring cohesive unified action

by a range of actors

seeking to restore or establish a condition with
in

the tolerances of the Nation’s political leaders
.
Fighting is frequently conducted among the people in villages and citi
es

and

their acceptance if
not support of our actions will be a critical objective.

The employment of proxy forces by nation
states also complicates and clouds our understanding of modern warfare.
The Internet and cable
television shape the perceptions o
f a global audience in near real time. Every action conveys a
message, and the interpretation of that message often varies from one audience to another in
unintended and unpredictable ways.



Several features of the current and future operational environm
ent have magnified the
non
-
linear complexity inherent in all warfare. War amongst the people highlighted the number
of relationships within the operational environment, and made the freely
-
formed opinions of
both
small and
large groups of people on all si
des

to include neutrals

important to the outcome.
The media carry images and perceptions of the ongoing operations and each action carries an
implicit strategic message. Each Soldier thus has potential links to the members of a global
audience, and there
fore his actions can “directly impact on the outcome of [a] larger
operation.”
14


The way that adversaries are organized add
s

to the complexity of the operational
environment. In many cases, the adversaries are indistinguishable from the rest of the
popula
tion. Their organizations and objectives are not just different than the regular armies of
states; they have a completely different logic, one that makes the recognition of cultural
narratives and the study of anthropology, history, and language essential

for a more complete
understanding of the nature of the conflict. Likewise, the way we organize, educate and train for
warfare can enhance or retard our capability to win war
s

amongst the people in a 21
st

Century
Information
-
dominated paradigm.


In such
c
onflict
s
, adversaries

seek to establish favorable political and social conditions

through virtual perception management
.
This approach, which employs an unprecedented global



12

Kore
a, Panama, and the Gulf War were wars between states. The Ph
ilippine War, Banana Wars, Vietnam, Beirut,
Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, and Afghanistan were wars that pitted states against armed groups of irregulars.
El Salvador

combined both inter
-
state conflict with Nicaragua and a domestic insurgency
. Operation
I
RAQ
I
F
REEDOM

began as
a traditional war between states, but quickly became an irregular war amongst the people
.

13

Rupert
Smith,

The Utility of Force: The Art of War in the Modern World

(
London: Penguin Books Ltd, 2005
),
pp. 17
-
18
.

14

Charles C. Krulak, “Th
e Strategic Corporal: Leadership in the Three Block War,”
Marines
, January 1999
, p. 31
.

It is important to differentiate between having a strategic effect and achieving a strategic aim.

A tactical unit may
have a strategic effect, but only in exceptional
ly rare cases will a tactical unit

operating by itself

achieve a
strategic aim. Normally, achieving strategic aims require the unified effort of large forces and all of the instruments
of national power.




11


communications network, creates significant tensions for political leaders who at
tempt, in
traditional ways,

to formulate firm objectives and end states that

her
etofore led to resolution
through treaties, the norm in the 20
th

Century security environment.
However, rather than the
firm absolute objectives that political leaders traditi
onally resolved in treaties, these conditions
are malleable, requiring acceptance by individuals and societies. As a consequence, campaigns
in the future will be prolonged and have dynamics more complex than those of traditional nation
state wars. Even c
onflicts that begin as traditional state
-
versus
-
state wars

Operation

I
RAQI
F
REEDOM

(OIF), for example

are likely to have aspects of “war amongst the people” since the
goals may include establishing new social and political conditions. As these conflicts a
re
inherently more complex than traditional state
-
based warfare, they demand a different way of
thinking

which begin
s

by exploring the nature of the
mission assigned and the operation

of the
system in which action is proposed
.


Traditional planning process
es implicitly assume that higher headquarters have
a
ccurately

understood the situation and
framed the problem

for their subordinates. Design

recognizes that orders flow from higher to lower

but

that understanding and learning must flow
both
f
r
om the top do
wn
,

and from the bottom up
,

to achieve a true shared systemic understanding
of the situation,

especially when operational
situation
s are complex.
C
ommanders at all levels
will frame the
ir

situation

and define the problem for
themselves
, from their respect
ive vantage
point
. Then they will

share their understanding with their superiors and subordinates.


Superiors usually have a
broader contextual

perspective, which any understanding of an
operational pr
oblem must take into account: W
here does this campa
ign or operation fit within
the larger strat
egy?
S
ubordinate commanders, who are the high
er

commander’s learning
instruments, have the
pulse and

the systems unders
tanding of the complex reality that

must be
shar
e
d with superiors
,

iteratively, through lear
ning mechanisms that are constructed in our battle
rhythms.
A significant goal of Design

is a shared understanding of complex
situations and
problems
, not mistaking all of the former for the latter
. This requires battlefield circulation by
higher command
ers; candid discourse with superiors, subordinates, peers, and staff; and strategic
thinking at all levels.
15




15

Gary Luck, “
Insights on Joint Operations: The Art

and Science
,” The Joint Warfighting Center, U.S. Joint Forces
Command (September 2006), pp. 3, 12, and 22.




12


A word on taxonomy
.

S
ituations
, are
the combination of
circumstances at any given moment;
state o
f affairs
. (Webster’s New World
䑩a瑩潮ory映瑨 ⁁ e物ra渠iang畡来⸩†
p楴畡瑩潮猠oa渠扥⁰潲瑲aye搠d猠sy獴敭献†
A system

is defined by the American
Heritage College Dictionary as
a group
of interacting, interrelated, or
interdependent elements forming a
co
mplex whole.

Systems are categorized
in this paper as simple [implicitly],
complicated

and
complex
.
Operational
Problems

are defined in the text as
a
discrepancy between the state of affairs
as it is

and the state of affairs
as
desired,

which
compels actio
n to
resolve
the difference
.

Discrepancies
that do not require action are referred to
as
concerns
. The paper adopts the
convention of using the word problem
only to indicate a situation in which it
has already been determined that action
is required. El
sewhere the term
situation is employed.
S
ystems,
s
ituations and problems can be
complex.

Only problems can be ill
-
structured
.


The Structure of
Operational Problems

Complexity is significant to commanders as a characteristic of
a
situation judged to be
an
operational pro
blem. An
operational problem

is
a discrepancy between the state of affairs
as it
is

and the state of affairs
as

desired, which

compels action to resolve
the difference
.

Note that
no
t all discrep
ancies require action, and those that do not

are more accura
tely called “concerns.”
National leaders may not like the fact that
these
concern
s

exist, but
their

negative effect on our
national interests
and ideals are

not severe enough
,
when compared to the cost or potential for solution
,

to
require military action
. The

situations are
within the
limits
of tolerance of our leadership
.


To illustrate the
difference, consider the fighting in Bosnia as
Yugoslavia disintegrated after 1991. Prior to the
Dayton Peace Accords, Bosnia was a concern to the
U.S.

tragic, but
not worth the price of action. At
Dayton, Bosnia became an operational problem that
compelled U.S. military action.
T
here are no
operational problems that are strictly military; force
must be used in harmony with other instruments of
national power in a
coordinated comprehensive
approach

to bring operational problems back within
the lim
its of tolerance of

our political leadership along
a productive range of conflict
.


Well
-
Structured Problems
. Soldiers are
problem solvers
.

Today
the
nature

of
operatio
nal
problems range from

well
-
structured problems to
those that are extremely ill
-
structured. Like other
professions, Soldiers prefer

well structured problems
.
Such problems are easy to control through technical
reduction and a systematic method
-
based sol
ution.
They are also easier to recognize and place in
categories

based on years of previous pattern
development
. Modern U.S. Army tactical doctrine
fits this mold, specifying the tasks, conditions, and
standards for every task from tank gunnery to
conduc
ting a defense. The most structured problems,
tank gunnery for example,
has
one correct solution.
Success in gunnery requires learning to perfect the established technique.


(See figure 1
-
1 for
types of problems and solution strategies.)


Medium
-
Structur
ed Problems
. Medium
-
structured problems are more interactively
complex. There is a manual that describes how a battalion task force should conduct a defense,
but there is no single correct solution. Professional Soldiers will agree on the structure of t
he
problem (“conduct a defense”), appropriate tasks, and the end state, but they may disagree about
how the general principles in doctrine are applied on a specific piece of terrain against a specific



13


enemy. Furthermore, it is possible for a defense to su
cceed against one enemy commander yet
fail against another under precisely the same circumstances. The difference between success and
failure in this case is a function of
situational
complexity, rather than a structural or technical
difference between th
e two enemy forces.

In training, evaluators frequently focus on the linear phenomena rather than the non
-
linear. In other w
ords, they focus on the science
, or linear part,
of war, which is based upon
measurable capabilities

the application of which

is aut
horitatively prescribed in doctrin
al
templates, or approved patterns of action
, rather than the
practice of the
art of war, which is
based upon intuition and genius.
16

It is difficult to build a leader development system
designed to produce genius because
genius is idiosyncratic. Therefore, professional
institutions have based doctrine, training, and leader development on the science of war, the
linear phenomena that can be controlled
, measured

and on whose structure professional
Soldiers can agree.



Wel
l
-
Structured

Problem


Medium
-
Structured

Problem

Ill
-
Structured

Problem

Problem
Structuring

The problem is self
-
evident. Structuring is
trivial.

Professionals easily agree on
its structure.

Professionals will have difficulty
agreeing on problem structure
and
will have to agree on a shared
starting hypothesis.

Solution
Development

There is only one right
solution. It may be
difficult to find.

There may be more than one
“right” answer. Professionals
may disagree on the best
solution. Desired end state
ca
n be agreed.

Professionals will disagree on:



How the problem can be solved.



The most desirable end state.



Whether it can be attained.

Execution of
Solution

Success requires
learning to perfect
technique.

Success requires learning to
perfect technique and

adjust
solution.

Success requires learning to perfect
technique, adjust solution, and
refine problem framing.

Adaptive
Iteration

No adaptive iteration
required.

Adaptive iteration is required
to find the best solution.

Adaptive iteration is required both

to refine problem structure and to
find the best solution.

Figure 1
-
1
.

Types of Problems and Solution Strategies
17


Ill
-
Structured Problems
. Ill
-
structured problems are the most interactively complex,
non
-
linear, and chaotic

and therefore the most chall
enging. Unlike well
-

or medium
-
structured
problems, professionals will disagree about how to solve this type of problem, what should be
the end state, and whether the desired end state is even achievable. At the root of this lack of
professional consensu
s is the difficulty in agreeing

even

on the structure of the problem. Unlike
medium structured problems, it i
s not clear what action to take

because the nature of the problem
itself is not clear. In 1972, a professor of Design at UC Berkeley, Horst Ritte
l, described the



16

Carl von Clausewitz,

On War
,
Michael Howard, and

Peter Paret, eds., (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton
University Press, 1984), pp. 100
-
112. Claus
ewitz summarized military genius as a harmonious combination of
courage, powers of intellect, and strength of will.

17

See Appendix 1 for more detailed analysis of ill
-
structured problems.




14


characteristics of
problems involving
social

complex
ity
.
18

With slight modification, Rittel’s
description of this category
of situation or problem
captures the challenge posed by operational
problems in the modern era:




There is no definit
ive way to formulate an ill
-
structured problem
.
19

Given a
well
-

structured

problem, it is possible to formulate the problem with all the information
necessary to solve it

provided that the problem
-
solver knows his method. However,
this is not possible wit
h
ill
-
structured

problems. The information needed to understand
the problem depends upon how one defines it. And the solution depends upon how one
understands the
ill
-
structured
problem, or how one answers the question: “What is
causing this problem?”
Ill
-
structured
problem
s

rarely have a single cause, and different
stakeholders will see the relationships between the causes and their importance
differently. Thus, understanding and formulation depend to some degree upon the
perspective of the problem
-
so
lver rather than objective truth. This is not to say that the
objective conditions do not exist, but our perception of these conditions as a problem that
must be solve
d is itself subjective.
All
the aspects of an ill
-
structured problem cannot be
known in
itially. Ill
-
structured problems require iterative
active
learning by commanders
and organizations to add structure to a situation that is generating concern for a political
leader or military commander. Iterative learning will add structure and coherenc
e to ill
-
structured problems and will improve our understanding for how to develop solutions that
place the difficult problems back within the limits of tolerance of our leadership and
society.





Ill
-
structured problems have no fixed set of potential solu
tions
.
20

Since each
ill
-
structured

problem is a one
-
of
-
a
-
kind situation, it requires a custom solution

rather than a
standard response

or template
answer
modified to fit circumstances. Tactical doctrine
offers standard templates for action, standard ways
of doing things that have to be
adapted to specific circumstances. Strategists and operational artists have no similar kit
of generic solutions. The dynamics that make an operational problem unique also
demand the design of a custom solution. Additional
ly, there is no way to prove that “all
solutions to
[
a
n ill
-
structur
e
d]

problem have been identified and considered.”
21

Commanders may never consider s
ome solutions

due to confirmation bias
, either because
they are too exotic or because self
-
imposed constr
aints limit potential actions.




Every ill
-
structured problem is essentially unique and novel
.
22

Historical analogies may
provide useful insights

particularly on individual aspects of a larger problem

but the



18

Horst W. J. Rittel, “On the Planning Crisis: Systems Analysis of
the ‘First and Second Generations,’”
Bedriftsøkonomen

8 (1972), pp. 392
-
393
. Horst W. J. Rittel and

Melvin M. Webber, “Dilemmas in a General
Theory of Planning,”
Policy Sciences

4 (1973), pp. 161
-
167.

19

The list which follows is obviously derived, though
not duplicative, from Rittel and Webber’s 10 points
discussing what they called “Wicked Problems”. Rittel and Web
b
er, 161
-
167. This one, for example, is related to
number 1, “There is no definitive formulation of a wicked problem,” 161.

20

Ibid,
, Number
6: “Wicked problems do not have an enumerable (or an exhaustively describable) set of potential
solutions, nor is there a well
-
described set of permissible operations that may be incorporated into the plan.

21

Ibid.. Rittel and Webber use
wicked

rather tha
n
ill
-
structured

in the original text.

22

Ibid, 164, Number 7: “Every wicked problem is essential unique.”




15


differences between even similar situations are
profound and significant. The political
goals at stake, stakeholders involved, cultural milieu, histories, and other dynamics will
all be novel and unique to a particular situation.




Solutions to ill
-
structured problems are better
-
or
-
worse, not right
-
or
-
w
rong
.
23


There is no
objective measure of success and different stakeholders may disagree about the quality of
a solution. The suitability of a solution will depend upon how the individual stakeholders
have formulated the problem and what constitute
s

succe
ss for them.

Success most often
w
ill be our ability to produce iterative

solutions over time that bring these difficult
situations back within limits of tolerance and

a produc
tive range of conflict
.




Ill
-
structured problems are interactively complex
.

The
se types of
problems are socially
complex because people have tremendous freedom of interaction.
Since

interactively
complex
situation
s are non
-
linear, a relatively minor action can create disproportionately
large effects. The same action performed
on th
e same problem at a
later
time

may
produce a different result. Interactive
situational
complexity makes it difficult to explain
and predict cause and effect.




Every solution to an ill
-
structured problem is a ‘one
-
shot operation
.
24

Every attempted
course o
f action has effects that create a new situation and cannot be undone. The
consequences of military action are effectively irreversible. Whenever actions are
irreversible and the duration of their effects is long, every attempted action counts

and
comman
ders should go to great lengths to create

the

learning mechanisms necessary
during the course of a battle rhythm to capture the
key aspects of an intervention.
Introduction of energy into a system will create changes in the friendly, enemy

and
neutral

act
ors
,

and the social, political and governmental systems which are involved
.




There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to an ill
-
structured problem
.
25

The perceived quality of a solution to an ill
-
structured problem can change over time.
Sp
eaking metaphorically, yesterday’s solution might appear good today, but disastrous
tomorrow as the unintended effects become clearer. In the discussion of measures of
effectiveness, JP 5
-
0 notes that measurable results to a particular action may not appe
ar
for some time. This time lag complicates assessment enormously because
,

in the
meantime the operational command may have executed other actions, which will make
assessing cause and effect even more difficult.




Ill
-
structured problems have no ‘stopping
rule’
.
26

It is impossible to say conclusively that
such a problem has been solved in the sense that a student knows when he has solved a
math problem. Work on a
n ill
-
structured

problem will continue until strategic leaders



23

Ibid, 162, Number 3: “Solutions to wicked problems are not true
-
or
-
false, but good
-
or
-
bad.”

24

Ibid, 163, Number 5: “Every solution to a wicked
problem is a “one
-
shot operation”; because there is no
opportunity to learn by trial
-
and
-
error, every attempt counts significantly.”

25

Ibid, 163, Number 4: “There is no immediate and no ultimate test of a solution to a wicked problem.”

26

Ibid, 162, Numbe
r 2: Wicked problems have no stopping rule.”




16


judg
e the situation is “good eno
ugh


and resides within an acceptable limit of tolerance

or until national interest, will, or resources have been diverted or exhausted.




Every ill
-
structured problem is a symptom of another problem
.
27

S
olving one problem
often reveals another higher level

problem of which the original one was a symptom.
The level at which
a

problem is solved depends among other things upon the
critical
thinking skill,
authority, confidence, and resources of a particular commander. One
should not simply cure
the
symptoms,

which are readily apparent in dealing with ill
-
structured problems. Iterative learning and shared systemic understanding derived
through rigorous meta
-
question
ing

are the tools that help define and create meaningful
structure to
complex

situations and
il
l
-
structured
problems.




The problem
-
solver has no right to be wrong
.
28


The writ of an operational commander
and his staff is to improve the state of affairs in the world as
his

countrymen perceive it.
Like others in
G
overnment service, he is responsible f
or the consequences of the actions
he generates.


Of the
ten
characteristics of ill
-
structured problems,
noted above,
the most significant are
the first two.
Since there is n
o definitive way to formulate an ill
-
structured
problem
, initially,

and since eac
h
one

is unique and novel, a commander must formulate
this type of
problem
himself
,

through the employment of his staff, subordinate commanders and superiors in an
intera
c
tive learning and action model that adds clarity to these difficult problems over tim
e
.
He
will not find
a meaningful template or checklist of activity

listed in a training manual
.


Operational Art

In the past, dealing with complexity was the
work

of generals and admirals, usually
performed by strategic leaders down to the commander of a
theater of operations in charge of a
campaign. Today, commanders at much lower levels must master these skills. Consider, for
instance, the recent experience of Colonel Sean MacFarland, commander of 1st Brigade, 1st
Armored Division. In June 2006, Colon
el MacFarland was ordered from Tal Afar in northern
Iraq to Ramadi in the west. “I was given very broad guidance,” he said. “Fix Ramadi, but don’t
destroy it. Don’t do a Fallujah.”
29

He had to determine how to forge relationship
s

with the
residents and
take the city back from insurgents without launching a general assault. It was his
responsibility to share his understanding of his piece of the overall problem with his superiors,
not the other way around.
He is

not the only brigade commander who has us
ed
operational art.

Some of w
hat the average battalion commander does

today

is much more like operational art
than tactics.

Commanders at lower echelons will face ill
-
structured problems like this where the
burden of understanding is squarely on their sh
oulders alone.
Doctrine needs to adjust to this
reality.





27

Ibid, 165, Number 8: “Every wicked problem can be considered to be a symptom of another problem.”

28

Ibid., 166, Number 10: “The planner has no right to be wrong.”

29

Jim Michaels, “Reclaiming Ramadi: Col.’
s Achievement Could be Blueprint for Success in Iraq,”
Army Times
, 14
May 2007, p. 4. In 2004, Fallujah had also been infested with insurgent and Al Qaida in Iraq bases. The city was
heavily damaged during the assault launched in November 2004 to clear t
he enemy from the city.




17


The Relationship of Design to Planning
30

Design and planning are qualitatively different yet interrelated activities essential for
solving
ill
-
structured

problems. While planning activities receive

consistent emphasis in both
doctrine and practice, discussion of Design remains largely abstract and is rarely practiced

in a
codified manner
. Presented a problem, staffs often rush directly into planning without clearly
understanding the complex environ
ment of the situation, purpose of military involvement, and
the
approach required to address the core issues. The situation is particularly problematic with
insurgencies. Design informs and is informed by planning and operations. It has an intellectual
f
oundation that aids continuous assessment of operations and the operational environment.
Commanders should lead the design effort and communicate the resulting framework to other
commanders for planning, preparation, and execution.
31


It is important to un
derstand the distinction between Design and planning. While both
activities seek to formulate ways to bring about preferable futures, they are cognitively different.
Design inquires into the nature of a problem

to conceive a framework for solving that pr
oblem.
Planning applies established procedures

to solve a largely understood problem within an
accepted framework. In general,
Design is problem setting
, while

planning is problem solving
.

Where

Design focuses on learning about the nature of an unfamili
ar problem



planning focuses
on generating a plan


a series of executable actions

32


When situations do not conform to established frames of reference


when the hardest
part of the problem is figuring out what the problem is


planning alone is inadequa
te and Design
becomes essential. In these situations,

without

the
use of Design to engage the problem’s
essential nature, planners default to doctrinal norms; they develop plans based on the familiar
rather than an understanding of the real situation. De
sign provides a means to conceptualize and
hypothesize about the underlying causes and dynamics that explain an unfamiliar problem.
Design provides a means to gain understanding of a complex problem and insights towards
achieving a workable solution.
33


Th
is description of Design at the tactical level is a form of what Army doctrine calls
commander’s visualization. Commanders begin developing their design upon receipt of a
mission. Design precedes and forms the foundation for staff planning. However, Desi
gn is also
continuous throughout the operation. As part of assessment, commanders continuously test and
refine their design to ensure the relevance of military action to the situation. In this sense,
Design guides and informs planning, preparation, execu
tion, and assessment. However, a plan is
necessary to translate a design into execution

and action, which will allow a commander to learn
about the problem that is being confronted.




30

This section is taken from FM 3
-
24/MCWP3
-
33.5, 4
-
2 to 4
-
3.

31

FM 3
-
24, 4
-
2.

32

Ibid, 4
-
3.

33

Ibid, 4
-
4.




18





Designing
. D
esign
ing

focuses on learning about an unfamiliar problem

and exploits that
understanding to create a broad approach to problem
framing
.

Starting with a blank sheet,
designers frame the problem and give it structure. Designers
build
a

shared

understanding of the
problem through the creation of a conceptual
des
ign
. D
esig
ners usually record their creation

in
some kind of graphic representation

and written narrative
.

Through the employment of meta
-
questioning and meta
-
cognition, the designers analyze
critically
how they are thinking about the
problem at hand and

adjust methods accordingly
, as they learn more about a given complex
situation
.



Designing

is creative

and is

best accomplish
ed through discourse
.
Discourse

is the
candid exchange of ideas that results in a a shared visualization of the problem. The g
oal
of
the
commander
, subordinate commanders, staff, and other stakeholders is
to consider and synthesize
many different perspectives and ideas. Groupthink is the antithesis of healthy discourse. A zero
defects command climate will throttle learning beca
use successful discourse
requires candor and
the free yet mutually respectful competition of
opposing ideas. Participants must be free to take
minority viewpoints

based upon their expertise, experience, and insight; this

includes sharing
ideas that contra
dict the opinions held by those of higher rank.



D
esign seeks
a
systemic

and
shared

understanding. It seeks to explain
the qualitative
relationships embedded within
ill
-
structured

problems, including their history,

tensions
,
propensity, and trends. Nev
ertheless, it recognizes that complete knowledge is
not achievable
,
and therefore constantly questions the limits of existing knowledge and prevailing paradigms
.






19


Commanders may
have difficulty agreeing on
the structure of a complex operational
problem
,
bu
t

they must

agree on a shared starting hypothesis

before they can develop solutions
.


In other
words, political leaders and commanders at all levels
must

develop a shared understanding of the
situation.


This shared understanding is further articulated in
the form of a strategy, which in turn,
informs and facilitates the creation of a new and unique design, capable of solving or managing
the ill
-
structured problem at hand.
Strategy is

“t
he cognitive judgment of such factors as
international conditions, hos
tilities in bilateral politics, military
,

economics, science, social
influence, technology and geography as they apply to the preparation and direction of achieving
the overall objective and plan.

34


A
mbiguity pervades strategy and the language with which
it is
articulated.

Unlike tactics, where professional terms are carefully defined, strategic terms are
subject to further negotiat
ion and future redefinition.
Strategy does not approach the precision
and level of detail required
for tactical execution
.
There is a cognitiv
e tension between strategy
and its execution in a campaign, and it is the role of the commander employing operational art to
resolve this tension through design and discourse with the appropriate leaders who are involved
in the complex p
roblem solving approach.


D
esign

as a proper noun will refer more narrowly to the broad problem solving approach,
which is based upon a systemic and shared understanding.
The
campaign or operational design

arranges operations in space and time to achieve
desired outcome
s, and it identifies

broadly
speaking

the required capabilities and resources
.
A campaign design has a long temporal
horizon, because it focuses on achieving the strategic aim.


Planning
. The work of the designer complements the work of
a

planner

in that it
establishes the conceptual approach for the solution
or the management of

problem

over time
.
The
planner

should

start work with a design and

operating within this existing paradigm

follow

established procedures
to create

plans
, which ar
e

detailed
schemes

for
action. The
planner
’s work is very detailed and physical
,

whereas the designer’s is more conceptual. The
designer may use
estimates or
rules of thumb but the
planner

must calculate

requirements

precisely, using detailed analytical
problem solving methods. The
planner
’s
products
are
detailed plans that
, on order,

translate
a

design into
action
.


Military planners perform the functions of both designers and
planner
s. Military
planning normally includes some elements of both, but the

degree of one or the other depends
upon the complexity and structure of the problem. Thus, the
creative
application of operational
art to solving
ill
-
s
t
ructured

problems contains more of the cognitive elements of design, whereas
the detailed planning for

execution relies more heavily on the cognitive functions of
science
(see
figure 1
-
3).

T
he characteristics of modern

war
fare

demand campaign
ing forces

have the ability
to perform
the
cognitive
functions of design
ers

who are capable of manag
ing ill
-
structu
red
problems or
situations
.






34

Paraphrase of a Chinese Definition of Strategy provided by Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Leavenworth.




20










The next c
hapter describes

the theory and practice of the Art of Design

to

assist in
achieving our strategic aims
.



Figure
1
-
3.


Cognitive Functions of Designers and Planners





21


CHAPTER
2
: The Theory and Practice of The Art of Design



































Why Design?
....................................................
................ 23

Design Overview
……………………………………………. 26

Underlying Theories
………………………………………..

27

Operationalizing The Theory of Learning
……………… 29


System
s Frame Development


Problem Statement

and Theory of Action

Operations Frame


Design

Formulation

Asses
sment and Reframing
……………………………… 36





22



Figure 2
-
1: The Theory of the Art of Design




23


The Art of Design is

a

theory and practice of iterative learning
and action
that develops and
uses critical thinking skills to understand and manage complex
problems

across the
security environment
.

Design involves deconstructing
old

ideas and
approache
s and
creating
new patterns of learning, ideas, and actions.
T
he no
velty and complexity
of today’s

operating
environment

requires new

learning and command doctrine, education and training.



The key

to success in these endeavors lies in

understanding how

to influence groups of
people along useful pathways o
f behaviors to transform a bad situation into a
better one.

The
essence of operational art has always been to realize the aims of
a

strategy through extended
operations
,

within complex settings, in an
interactive contest with adversaries,
working
with
allies of unique character and varied agendas.

This art is no longer the exclusive province of
generalship.

It is a requirement of leaders at much lower levels of command.

In this complex
world, politic
al leaders and senior military commanders often face situations that exceed the
bounds of tolerance faster than a comprehensive understanding of the active cause and effect
relationships producing the crisis can be developed. Consequently, leaders at all
levels

can no
longer
assume that they will be handed only

well structured problem
s
.


It is increasingly routine
for senior leaders to assign missions to their subordinates without fully understanding the
complexities of the local situation, or even the art

of the possible in the existing context.

Why Design?

At the highest level, the reason is this: Design provides the logical connection between
strategic ends and tactical means that is the foundation for adaptive action in the face of novelty
and complexit
y.
35

A mastery of the Art of Design is not the only ingredient of mission success,
but undertaking a complex mission without Design invites failure.
Commanders are frequently
cautioned against fighting the previous war, while at the same time they are urge
d to learn the
hard
-
earned lessons of previous conflicts. This produces a necessary tension between
recognizing similarities between the current conflict
and

previous experience, and identifying the
features that distinguish the current fight as unique. Be
cause conflicts are unique, they require
individually tailored solutions. There is no recipe or formula for resolving this tension to choose
between competing solutions, because it depends critically upon the creative application of
military judgment. In o
ther pursuits, architects, engineers, and applied artists have a name for
this
art
. The creative application of domain knowledge to the unique characteristics of a new
situation is called
Design
. In military operations, the p
ractice

of
Design

complements t
he
planning process, by providing a structured approach to operational art. As a rule of thumb, the
greater the novelty and complexity of a situation, the more important
Design

becomes to success.


Design is not a new concept in military circles. The equ
ipment we deploy with is the product
of an intensive
design

process.
That said, c
urrent doctrine does not describe the
application of
Design

to
operations in any detail. However, savvy commanders have always intuitively
developed designs to frame problems

so that
their
staff
s

can produce plans using the Military
Decision Making Process (MDMP) to achieve the commander’s intent. Yet there is a danger in
assuming that commanders will always intuitively perform
Design
. It is an even greater risk to
assume that

an implicit design will be understood by other members of the team, especially when
a design problem crosses boundaries between units, services, coalitions, or even other elements



35

This paragraph

and the next were contributed by Dr. Alex Ryan.




24


of national power, and spans multiple rotations

of forces in combat
. The ri
sks of not having an
explicit
approach for D
esign include:




Unrealistic strategic sponsor’s guidance is accepted uncritically
.



Lives and resources
are
wasted trying to solve the wrong problem better
.



Without understanding the system, actions only reinforce

tensions and instability
.



Commanders are s
low to adapt to changing circumstances and unforeseen obstacles; and

are u
nable to make progress towards strategic goals.


Design is particularly useful for addressing complex missions that arise from situations
t
hat combine multiple actors governed by competing human values or perspectives, for which
routine formulaic actions do not provide satisfactory responses. Each such mission
will

require
its own unique approach for transform
ation and the effectiveness of
s
olution
s

tends to decay in
relevance as the system changes in response to actions taken.
36

Dialog among the commander,
principal planners, members of the interagency team, and host nation (HN) representatives helps
develop a coherent design. The involvemen
t of all participants is essential. The object of this
dialog is to achieve a level of situational understanding at which
point
the approach to the
problem’s solution becomes clear

as learning occurs over time
.
Often
true clarity will not be
achiev
able u
ntil
forces

interact with the situation so the initial understanding is at best
provisional. The understanding of the complexity of the problem will place the commander in a
position of skeptical humility ready to adapt because he recognizes the
dynamic
n
ature of the
situation.

As a result, Design focuses on framing the problem rather than
immediately
developing courses of action

or solutions to potentially the wrong problem
.
37

Leaders use Design to combine active learning and rigorous critical thinking ab
out
observed situations in order to gain

a

deep appreciation of their inner logic, to develop theories
of action, and to formulate patterns of
learning

to transform existing conditions into more
acceptable

forms.
Pursuit
of relevant
objectives involves un
derstanding complex causal and
influence networks

and often

requires inte
racting with them in order to learn

how they actually
behave. These networks are composed of multiple players with different and

changing agendas,
waxing or waning influence,
and mul
tiple shifting and

evolving relationships
,

all interacting
under conditions of opaqueness and deception

under this condition
.


Natural forces and human
activity continually modify the ph
ysical systems and environment and s
imple linear causal
chains

are the

exception
,

s
mall events

at a “tipping point” can have disproportionately large
outcomes.
38


Learning and a
ssessment enable incremental improvements to Design. The aim is to
rationalize the problem


to construct a logical explanation of observed events and

subsequently
construct the guiding logic that unravels the problem. The essence of this is the mechanism



36

Russell Ackoff and Fred E. Emery,
On Purposeful Systems: An Interdisciplinary Analysis of Individual and Social
Behavior as a System of Purposeful Events
(London: Tavistock Books, 1972). Rittel and Webber
, 155
-
169
.
A
matrix at Appendix One, adapted from the work of Russell Ackoff, Horst Rittel, Melvin Webber, and others,
describes why some missions require design, and others do not.

37

FM 3
-
24, 4
-
3.

38

Gladwell, “The Tipping Point,”
The New Yorker
(June 3,
1996)
.




25


necessary to achieve success
ful problem management
. This mechanism may not be a military
activity


or it may involve military actions in support of

non
-
military activities.

Accomplishing missions in complex

situations has

a number of implications for
Design
,
planning and the commander’s role

in strategy development.
Design is different from planning
but inevitably
supports

planning
processes
at th
e point where
an abstract idea can

be transformed
into action.
Planning

is a systematic, deductive process to optimize the available force to
achieve an assigned objective.

39

Design

is a non
-
deductive
approach

to build
systemic
understanding and formulat
e unique patterns of
learning and
action to transform existing
conditions

into a more desirable state
.


Well
-
structured, r
outine or
technic
al missions
do not
require
Design. Planning processes
are more than adequate. The danger lies in the misinterpreta
tion of a
complex
problem for one
that is

merely routine. An even greater danger is when a problem changes, such that planning
templates that could previously be used to address the problem no lo
nger apply. In this case,
desi
g
n

is needed to reframe the p
roblem, since continuing to plan within the old paradigm will
only generate side effects and unintended consequences that make the situation worse.

That
said; pl
anning

is

a systematic arrangement of known data for understanding and action.
Only
implement
ation decisions are required;
command is directive.

Fo
r
familiar adversarial missions,
doctrine provides guidance

or a problem frame.
What facts matter, how to approach the mission,
and the underlying logic

of the required response

c
an
be determined rapi
dly by
employ
ing

traditional military planning processes.

Doctrine and shared experience guide commanders


decisions

and use of
mission orders command.


In complex situations, the novelty and complexity of problems often exceeds the
usefulness of doctrine

and experience alone. For extended
adaptive operation
s
,

n
ovel complex
missions require rigorous, iterative design

development before

and

throughout
the
normal
plannin
g processes.
Design dec
isions define which ideas and facts matter and why.
These
decisi
ons inform
success in terms of the pa
rallel and sequential actions or objectives

that are the
means of
learning and
achieving mission success
.

T
hey
also
propose the logic underlying the
pursuit of these objectives

and

determine when initial understanding
and determined actions
cease to be relevant to the evolving situation and reframing and adaptation to new circumstances
are called for. Dynamic situations require use of
mission orders command

plus

maintenance of a

sceptical

and critical stance and active

search for disconfirmatory evidence
.
40

Systems of
command must facilitate
continuous
learning and effective exploit
ation of

what is learned.



Des
ign builds on natural adaptive action
s
. Military

organ
izations on extended operations,

like
t
ribes who have
adapted to their environment, ar
e complex adaptive systems
.

These

units
deal with novelty and complexity by continually l
earning new action techniques

and e
xpanding



39

FM 5
-
0
,

defines planning as: “The means by which the commander envisions a desired outcome, lays out
effective ways of achieving it, and communicates to his subordinates his own vision, intent, and decisions, focusing
on the results he expects to
achieve. (FM 3
-
0)” FM 5
-
0,
Army Planning and Orders Production
(January 2005)
Gl
ossary, and Para 1
-
2, page 1
-
2;

FM 3
-
0 (2008), defines planning as “the process by which commanders (and the
staff, if available) translate the commander’s visualization into a

specific course of action for preparation and
execution, focusing on the expected results. [bold in text.
]

FM 3
-
0, (2008) Para 5
-
94, page 5
-
17
-
18.

40

. See briefing by Dr. Anne
-
Marie Grisogono and Dr. Alex Ryan, Defense Science and Technology Organizatio
n,
Australia

Operationalising Adaptive Campaigning
, 12
th

ICCRTS, Newport, RI, USA June 2007. Available on line
at
http://www.dodccrp.org/events/12th_ICCRTS/CD/html/presen
tations/198.pdf
. Accessed 29 July 2008.




26


their
sense
s
, pr
actices

and learn
ing

capabilities.
They improve their organizational memor
y and
redefine

success

in terms of
limits of tolerance
,
41

and
they
learn more precise and actionable
measures of success.

They also learn how to ‘co
-
adapt’ with other complex adaptive systems
within their environment. W
e see this at every CTC rotation and

during every OEF and OIF
deployment. Some do it better than others. Our aim is to improve and
codify

this natural pr
actice
within the U.S. Army
.

The practice of Design rests upon a number of assumptions. First is that the task of
iterative learning and
b
uilding understanding

is commander
-
led but

shared throughout the
organization.

Second is that success will
require honest professional dialogue
, between peers,
with subordinates, and with superiors
. Questioning to achieve shared understanding of facts an
d
expected consequences of action is a mark of professional conduct that does not challenge
authority to decide and direct.

Third is the notion that m
ultidisciplinary discursive collaborative
learning is the quickest way to build shared understanding.


D
esign requires holistic shared understanding. It places emphasis on human relationships
and motivations that define the intangible
system potential,
propensities, tensions
, trends and
contingent relationships

within human systems. Design is best implemen
ted in systems of
participative battle command where leaders are willing to entertain and consider challenges to
their understanding without considering such as a threat to their authority or position. Finally,
Design requires a skeptical intellectual post
ure that considers all understanding provisional and
emphasizes continuous, collaborative and recursive learning. In this view, the practice of Design
is compatible with current Joint Doctrine in
most
respects. The precise l
inkages with doctrinal
methods

will be determined with practice and are beyond the scope of this paper.

Design Overview

Design is a syste
mic theory of
iterative

learning

and action
,

a way to systematize critical
and

creative thinking and conceptualize complex mission situations to pr
oduce unique concepts
for planning and action. It is not a
step
-
wise s
equential process but

is

a
n
interactive cognitive
approach requiring

continual cyclical assessment for relevance
,

which,
periodically
,

feeds new
guidanc
e to planners and subordinates as
an organization learns in combat.


Just as the seven step military planning process has a logical sequence that should not be
violated even when the steps are abbreviated,
the Art of

D
esign also has

a sensible and logical
approach

that also can be abbrevia
ted but not violated. In very broad terms
, the Design effort
begins with

constructing a
conceptual frame of reference, the
Systems Frame
,
42

which maps the
situation and produces a problem statement and theory of action.

The next stage of
Design

is to
constr
uct a narrower conceptual frame of reference, the
Operations Frame, which bounds our
space for action. The
Operations

Frame
43
is developed by making the choices that will
transform the Systems Frame as we understand it to a more favorable set of conditions.

The



41

Limits of tolerance

are conditions within acceptable boundaries. The concept is used because in complex systems
there are few absolute answers or final solutions.

42

Systems Frame
:

An artificial mental construct

of the world as it exists.

Page 31 following.

43

Operations Frame
:

The Operations Frame defines the choices for intervention as noted in the Systems Frame; it
sets boundaries for actions and identifies areas for exploitation.





27


Theory of Action
44

derived from the problem statement forms the starting point for the
development of the Operations F
r
ame and a
S
trategy

to transform the complex situation into a
more tolerable state

in the form of a Design product
.


The structure of

this approach in the Art of Design makes explicit that which is usually
implicit in planning processes. It promotes thinking in terms of interactive actors, their attitudes,
agendas, relationships, tendencies and programs of action, rather than in terms
of structural
component nodes and linkages.
Design also explores the cognitive
,

ph
ysical and moral domains
of

friendly acto
r
s
,

our adversaries

and neutrals

as well as the use of the dimensions of time,
space,
and
the virtual world
of

cyber
-
space.
Design
builds on the creative, inductive
and
deductive cognitive approache
s natural to commanders and principal staff officers. It is
diagnosis more than analysis. Design places high value on early and sufficient engagement of
the command team to build a shared

appreciation
for

the logic
developed by the discursive
exchange
. Design also stresses effective learning and adaptation, given that our best efforts to
understand will be frustrated. This requires early consideration of the mechanisms for learning
at al
l levels of command.

Underlying Theories

Novel
patterns of events will
continue to
unfold

as organizations learn about a complex
situation.

A successful design inquiry depends heavily upon sustained creativity and constant
questioning of existing patterns

that shape
conventional thought.

Unless challenged, past
patterns of learning

will create mental
models

and precondition
al

learning
-
bias
in the present and
future.

The
patterns of language we employ often reflect

how language was
used to describe and
ex
plain prior

ph
enomena and old theories.

Old concepts

may limit our ability to
discuss new
phenomena
and
thus imprison us in obsolete mental models. Past patterns
may explain the logic
of the path to the present but
may

not
inform

mental constructs relevant

to the future.

Designers must remember that any
problem

or situation requiring resolution, which they
may construct i
n their

minds
,

is just that, a provisional men
tal construct. It is not real. Designers
may
frame a problem

and develop a solution for the

perceived situation but
solving that
construct correctly may n
ot improve the situation in the real world. What matters is how closely
the
mental models
cohere with
reality
.

Furthermore,

a corollary to this theory is
the idea that
designers must be skeptic
al
of
feeling comfortable with their acquired understanding

of

an
emerging complex situation. They must continue to
learn
just
as fast as the dynamics
of

the
situation

change and they must create new or novel understandings of the situation as they learn
t
heir way forward.


Because of the novelty of all complex situations, t
emplates and
general
theories
based on
analogy, or
devel
oped for previous cases, can often lead to
doing the wrong thing
,

no matter ho
w
correctly we do

them.

A
ny useful
scheme of
interv
ention must be based on four
unique
theories

of the situation

constructed by designers for just the

case

at hand.


The first such theory is a
theory of the emerging reality
.

This theory offers a causal logic for
systemic
emergence
,
45

the



44

Theory of Action
: The the
ory of action binds the operational frame elements together and provides the
Commander and staff with a theory that enables them to logically derive a mission and intent.

45

Emergence:

Movement or direction of a system within the framework that manifests a
new potentiality within the
overall system.




28


new development w
ithin a system that has rendered the old terms of understanding and strategy
irrelevant and thus forces a new design inquiry

upon which
new

theories, and
d
esign
s of
intervention

can be

constructed.

A theory of emerging reality must be created at the outse
t of
any design project in order to begin to understand the political or military sponsor’s motivations
in initiating a new design effort.

Next, a
theory of l
earning

must be created just for the current complex situation. As
discussed above, h
umans learn h
ow to le
arn from past experiences. N
ovel and