Decision Models

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Ryan
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Decision Models

Post by Ryan » Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:39 am

A place to post and discuss decision models. See: O.O.D.A. loop, W.I.N., K.I.S.S., Hick's Law.

To begin discussion, pertaining to combat leadership where decisions are sometimes made on a whim, with little information under extreme duress I have came across an individual single-process model. "WIN". What's Important Now? I find it perfect for stressful events, and it adapts to wide spectrum of circumstances - even to battlefield advanced trauma life support, room clearance or reclearance and leadership. It is being adopted by our Police and Military nationally as a snap-decision process aid, for those times when you just can't think for the life in you. Pure helmet fire, mind-rush situations.

Sometimes for example when you're dealing with or have dealt with an immediate threat, you are treating a casualty who is bleeding extensively, you are mind-clustering to recognize a task you just stop and ask. What's IMPORTANT now? What pertaining to the task. Important pertaining to priority, triage in a way for trauma (i.e. immediate life-threatening hemorrhage over airway checks). Now means right at this present moment, without too critical or supplementary thoughts. It's a small model that simply gets you on track when you're running off it. It may not necessarily develop you to do things in perfect order, but the modularity of simply applying prioritization to a task and progressing with it allows you to adapt to the situation, and not policy or procedure to the situation.

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You can apply it anywhere. It's a back-up, it's not for primary thought. It's just a "I'm stuck", "I'm lost", "My head is elsewhere" - OK, WIN? Right, this, done. For example if we are too focused on the big picture or specific slices of our reality, i.e. say the operation, taking the suspect. And we finally do that - we often have to "come around" to what's coming next. At least... it's good for the inexperienced and those who are finding it a challenge.
CQB-TEAM Education and Motivation.

"Pragmatism over theory."
"Anyone with a weapon is just as deadly as the next person."
"Unopposed CQB is always a success, if you wanted you could moonwalk into the room holding a Pepsi."

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Ryan
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Re: Decision Models

Post by Ryan » Thu Nov 28, 2013 12:53 pm

The WARS Model

Willingness, Awareness, Readiness, Skill

"The W.A.R.S. Initiative Model (Willingness, Awareness, Readiness, Skill) is a model I developed to demonstrate key points of tactical advantage or disadvantage when dealing with initiative. It, along with many other models, can be used to help visualize and evaluate the processes of combat and human conflict. Some of the current models are: Jeff Cooper’s color code of awareness, Col. Boyd’s OODA Loop, and Col. Grossman’s Fight, Flee, Posture, Submit model. All of these have their place, but I believe the W.A.R.S. model addresses an important gap by providing a practical, teachable, system of understanding initiative that that is immediately functional to trainers and end users.

The W.A.R.S. model came about after lengthy review of videotaped real-world situations, combined with personal experience showed me that officers prevail or lose in an encounter based mostly on their ability to achieve and maintain initiative, or their ability to “turn the tables” on a suspect who had an actual advantage in initiative against them. Dictionary definitions will state that initiative involves the ability to act first, freely, and from an advantaged position. My tactical definition is: To decisively act, ideally first, exerting your will on an opponent and reducing or eliminating the opponent’s ability to resist or exert their own will. Initiative is tactics; the two are intertwined and are self-supporting. If an officer has the initiative, tactics will be more effective; if an officer has good tactics, they will help to gain the initiative.

Achieving and maintaining initiative will put an opponent in a negative spiral where they become reactive, lose their ability to act and move freely, and become “stuck” in a worsening disadvantaged position. Ultimately this will lead to submission and compliance, total control, or an act of desperation by the opponent. Most people will choose compliance if properly presented, but there are fanatical and dedicated resisters who will only be arrested through brute force. It is important to note that the goal of arrest control is compliance, but the goal of self-defense, even as it relates to arrest, is one of immediate control, often through the incapacitation of the offender. Too often, officers are killed when attempting the former when they should be doing the later.

Initiative is not only achievable in the beginning of an encounter--although it can be the most opportune time--but also achievable during decisive points in an encounter that can come about due to a significant change in the situation. These moments can either be capitalized on, wasted, or lost to your opponent. If initiative is equal—what I call a competition situation—then some significant, decisive action must be attempted to gain the upper hand. In law enforcement, officers are allowed to escalate when finding themselves in a competitive situation that compromises their safety or ability to make an arrest. Officers must be trained to achieve initiative in the beginning of a conflict, maintain it throughout, and seize it at every opportunity. Officer on the wrong end of the initiative spiral must be given the tools and mental permission to act decisively and do what it necessary to pull themselves out and ensure their safety.

Gaining initiative through initial action can be achieved with speed, surprise, or aggressive action. For example, during a CQB operation, use of explosive breaching or a flash bang can be used to gain a significant advantage. This advantage can be maintained or amplified by flooding the structure with aggressive operators. An example of a decisive point would be if an officer is forced into a competitive gunfight and the suspect reacts as if being hit. Does the officer keep shooting until the suspect is obviously no longer a significant life-threatening threat, stop to see what has happened, or immediately leave cover to make an arrest before being certain the suspect is incapacitated? Either way, a significant change has occurred and initiative can be wasted, won, or lost.

Reactively, in a situation where a suspect has the initiative and begins shooting from a vehicle during a traffic stop, and the officer is initially “surprised,” the officer can “get off the x” and re-appear returning fire from a different location regaining the initiative. Although possible, it takes significant, realistic training to overcome initial failures in initiative. Because of this, officers must be trained to fight and react from a disadvantaged position or from the ambush. Too much training is devoted to static repetition from a position of advantage. This is simply wrong.

During the studies of these situations, I found that initiative is won or lost based on four key elements: Willingness, Awareness, Readiness, and Skill. Each of the key elements affects the other to a large degree, and it is difficult to define any of them as purely physical or mental. However, their distinction is at times obvious when studying incidents or tactics, and there is a general flow to the model through the components acting as stages.

An opponent can be dominated or bested in each component in a series leading to an exponential increase in success, or different sides may control different aspects. However, any domination or disparity at an early stage will be increasingly difficult to overcome at a later stage. I will briefly discuss these stages and discuss some training advice, but I will save more detailed information for later articles.

It goes without saying that skill is wasted if there is not the will to implement it, and will is wasted if there is not the ability to carry it out. However, I found that basic motor skill, the component that usually receives the greatest amount of focus, was often the least important deciding factor in an encounter. It serves best to amplify the effects of superiority in the other three areas. The ability to overcome a situation of hesitancy, surprise, and a prepared suspect, is often too hard for the average officer to overcome with skill training alone. We must progress our training to deal with the realities of the most hazardous situations to an officer’s survival. This is not a pretty thought in the minds of administrators, lawyers, and use of force arm chair quarterbacks, but science, the facts, and the mission require it. It will require a paradigm shift in our training programs which I hope that the W.A.R.S. Initiative Model and its four components—willingness, awareness, readiness, skill--will assist.

Willingness involves mental aspects of a conflict based on perceived outcome. These include but are not limited to the willingness to act, the acceptance of a level of sacrifice or risk, the willpower to persevere through pain and hardship, and the mental discipline and focus to think clearly under duress. The goal is for officers to know what they are willing to do in a given situation, and to be unhesitant and clearly focused when the time comes to do it. This involves knowledge of both departmental and personal use of force policy, comfort and confidence with that knowledge, utilization of an appropriate pro-active, offensive mindset, and the desire to simply never quit.

Many administrators and squeamish “defensive tactics” instructors may not fully understand what is necessary to survive a potentially life or death situation, and prescribe a defensive mindset that will only build hesitation and fear. I have found that teaching an appropriate “offensive, threat focused” mindset where officers are allowed to have a focused anger towards their attacker is the best method to achieve an effective mental state for self-defense and serious use of force situations. I believe that reasonable anger does indeed fill the gaps that would otherwise hold hesitation and fear, and it keeps the mind focused pro-actively on what needs to be done, instead of reactively focused on what is happening to the officer. Arrest and especially self-defense is an emotional as well as physical process.

Unfortunately a “disparity of wills” often exists that puts officers at a tremendous disadvantage. Violent offenders do not care about a human life other than their own, do not worry about a family they have never had to support, a job they have never held, laws they have never obeyed, and use of force rules they have never had to follow. On the other hand, officers are mostly good, moral, people who try to do the right thing. Think of a traffic stop when the occupant is a violent offender who is mentally prepared to immediately kill and has his hand on a gun. What chance does an officer have who only has the goal of writing a ticket and doesn’t even know he faces a deadly force threat? Does anyone realistically think most officers can draw quicker and outshoot someone in a situation like this? If the officer gives the initiative to the offender by not detecting pre-fight cues and not seeing the offender’s hands before final approach, the offender will have a huge advantage. It will be even worse if the officer is hesitant to make an immediate mental switch from “officer friendly” to “offensive self-defense” when under attack.

Awareness is a combination of perception, recognition, and focused attention with the ultimate goal of anticipation. This involves both a broad overall awareness and specific and timely focus on important details needed to make a pro-active decision or a triggered reaction. Seeing a suspect is not enough; an officer must recognize threat indicators and focus on and actively search for key situational information in a systematic manner. The sooner and more accurately these indicators are picked up, the quicker an officer can react.

Awareness is not a passive activity; it is—or, at least should be—active, specific, and trainable. However, it is heavily under the influence of Will. Combined with a poor mental attitude it can become complacency; when combined with a positive mental attitude can become decisiveness.

These actions or reactions can generally only be effective if the information acted on is accurate and relevant. Lacking information, officers must rely on effective procedures that minimize their exposure to unknown risks. Failure to follow procedure is often the number one reason initiative is lost and officers are killed or injured. These procedures must lead to effective immediate actions to deal with the likely and most hazardous events that can occur.

The triggers for the immediate actions must not only be trained, but also conditioned. If an effective combat response is to be conditioned, it must be quick, simple, natural, and tied to an appropriate stimulus until it requires very little mental thought. It is also best to include effective “check fire” procedures. Conditioning the wrong thing can also be hazardous to an officer’s safety or career, but not conditioning officers to do anything can be even worse. Conditioning, or stimulus-response training is a key method of short-cutting response and initiative in the W.A.R.S. model, and is a lengthy subject on its own. Instructors must not simply train, they must drill and condition students so the knowledge is useful in realistic and worse case situations.

Readiness is for some reason often ignored or not ingrained in training, but should be a consistent aspect of procedures and tactics. Although officers are often forced by the nature of their profession to wait for a suspect’s action before a use of force response, there are many things officers can do to prepare themselves for an anticipated engagement.

Deployment is probably the most important issue when it comes to utilizing weapons and tools. If the tool isn’t deployed or made ready in a manner that makes it immediately useful, it will probably come into play too late or not at all. For example, getting a hand on a holstered gun can make a draw stoke significantly quicker and surer, with a corresponding increase in accuracy from a positive grip and lack of fumble. This is easily demonstrated on the range or in force on force training. A less skilled shooter can often beat a more skilled shooter simply by starting with a hand on the gun, especially at close distance. The advantage is even more obvious with a gun already in hand, or simply when the officer has to wait for the suspect to react.

Readiness is completely applicable to any other tool or skill; if it isn’t easily deployed, it won’t be there when it is most needed. For this reason, transitioning to any tool must be practiced under duress and from a variety of positions, including positions of disadvantage. Officers must know when it is appropriate to draw these tools and prepare or display them to exert control in a pro-active manner.

Readiness is more than simple physical manipulation. It is a mental activity as well. Doing a quick tactical read, making a quick mental plan, starting breath control, defining triggers, getting equipment into play, and preparing to turn on the “combat switch,” are all key components. Officers must avoid being physically ready but having to mentally catch up to the situation to avoid wasting initiative. This shows that there are no well-defined lines between the mental and the physical, or the components of the W.A.R.S. model when it comes to performance under stress. The mind and body should be one.

Skill is the final component. Although I have previously mentioned that it best serves to amplify success during the earlier three stages, it is still vitally important because it may be the last and only hope of recovering initiative. Officers must avoid a competitive struggle, but must be physically prepared for when they occur and must be able to effectively execute their tactical plan. Being able to flank a suspect in a gunfight and shoot at him from a surprise position of cover does little good if the rounds go wide. Likewise, going “toe to toe” with a suspect, or allowing a suspect to throw a sucker punch from inside the reactionary gap does little good if the officer doesn’t possess countering skills.

The W.A.R.S. model provides for a way to assist in evaluating skills and tactics. Each skill or tactic should be looked at in each component to see under what conditions it will be effective and what if any advantage it will provide to the officer or suspect. Is the skill dependable under tense, uncertain, and unprepared situations? Does it limit the suspect’s ability to act freely or from a position of advantage? Can it be used as a conditioned response? How much training does it require to attain a useful level of skill? There are many questions that should be asked. Trainers must address these questions and instruct the mindset, threat cues, and readiness required to prevail in tactical situations. All of the components can be trained and evaluated.

To further understand the model, I suggest watching use of force incidents on film and evaluating the successes or failures in each component and the overall flow of the initiative in the encounter. The officer’s failed component will most often be glaringly obvious as will the components that may have most led to success. Next integrate the model in training by identifying the mindset needed, information needed, and readiness appropriate for effective execution of the skill or tactic. From there it is a matter of effective training and conditioning with the integration of a conditioned responses, action triggers, immediate action drills, and tactical decision making.

The W.A.R.S. Initiative model is still a work in progress that is being continuously refined, but I believe law enforcement trainers will find it immediately useful in their evaluations and training. It integrates well with many of the models out there already. I believe it will go a long way in making training more realistic and efficient and will help keep officers safe during violent encounters."

http://highthreatsystems.com/media-2/ar ... -wars.html
CQB-TEAM Education and Motivation.

"Pragmatism over theory."
"Anyone with a weapon is just as deadly as the next person."
"Unopposed CQB is always a success, if you wanted you could moonwalk into the room holding a Pepsi."

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