What was the most important or useful thing you learned during Week 3?
The most important or useful thing I learned during Week 3 is how the commander can synthesize the operational environment utilizing the operational variables and the critical planning factors. Developing an understanding of the situation and determining the desired end goal and operational approach can be daunting tasks if not properly laid out. Therefore, it was fascinating to learn about the Visualize sub-component of the Mission Command. As the term suggests, Visualize is about forming mental images of the desired end state and all the potential solutions that can enable a commander and his subordinates to reach the desired end goal. It was enlightening to learn that visualization of the desired end goal is dependent on in-depth understanding of the operational environment and analysis of the situation. Visualization is much like a science because a commander has to utilize the METT-TC framework and this has to be backed up by additional sources of information and knowledge. I also learned that besides the METT-TC framework, a commander can get information and knowledge from standard elements of operational design, input from other commanders and staff, and established principles of war. Carrying out estimates, inputs from subject matter experts, and experience and appropriate judgment can help a commander to visualize the desired end state.
What one important question do you still have; what remains unclear about any lesson covered during Week 3?
One important question I still have is how center of gravity analysis is done in the event that the enemy is reclusive and little is known about the enemy forces?
Center of gravity analysis is dependent on an in-depth understanding of the enemy forces and their level of preparedness, the level of sophistication of their weapons, and their partners. For example, the terrorist groups that emerged in the Middle East like the Al-ghaida have been challenging to suppress and eliminate because they always undergo mutation and deeply secretive. Their tactics are hard to counter and this requires an in-depth center of gravity analysis. Therefore, one question I would like to get an answer to is how center of gravity analysis is done when the enemy is exceedingly reclusive and little is known about the enemy force?
What would you like to know more about?
I would like to more about how operational variables impact the visualization of a desired end state and how. It is not surprising that the failure to understand the environment in which a force is about to conduct operations can catastrophic and hence the necessity to interlink both Understand and Visualize sub-components of the Military Command. Understanding the operational variables can be a lengthy process and because there are several factors to be considered. This may delay the visualization of the desired end state. These variables include the political landscape, military dynamics, prevailing economic conditions, social conditions, information dynamics, infrastructure, time and the physical environment. These variables are many and I would like to know more about how they play into the visualization process because each requires substantial analysis and consideration. The METT-TC factors may be given prominence in the visualization process but the operational variables can turn the whole process upside down if not properly accounted for. Mission variables that include the mission, enemy, terrain, and weather, troops and support available, time, civil considerations appear strong on paper as sources of knowledge and information. However, I am interested to know more about how operational variables interlink with the mission variables and how this aids visualization.What was the most important or useful thing you learned during Week 3