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One of my favorite aspects of Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down was the departure from unrealistically long machine gun bursts and grenades erupting into ridiculous fireballs, and a distinct lack of overly-dramatic crying and shaking of fists to the sky. It has a visceral, primal tone to it as the quiet protagonists are firing single shots here and there, a machine gun bursts around a corner, or a sniper takes a few well placed shots. Also found in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, this sporadic violence increases the intensity instead of dropping it. It cuts through the unnecessary drama and shows realism at its core–brutal and simple.
Many wouldn’t think of early 20th century literature to capitalize on the same attitude on realism as our modern war films, but Ernest Hemingway’s In Our Time paints just this type of picture.
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12-11-15 M2U00704 DID U ALL HEAR OF THIS?
Thermonuclear missile launch near Los Angeles is final sign of World War III on the precipice… US, China and Russia all escalating covert attacks in run up to global war
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COGNITIVE PERFORMANCE GROUP FL
Interview with Jennifer Phillips
Q: Could you tell our reader about some of the solutions CPG offers to the military?
A: Cognitive Performance Group is a team of applied researchers, technology developers and military SMEs who apply scientific principles to improve cognitive performance. We develop applications for complex, ambiguous domains where performance requires critical thinking, problem solving, and adaptability to make and execute sound decisions.
We offer solutions in three areas: 1) We describe the nature of expertise or the stages of development to make experts’ knowledge and know-how explicit and ready to use in a training or assessment product. 2) We design training and experiential learning programs and content, using principles of adult learning and an understanding of domain expertise, to accelerate the development of expertise. 3) We develop cognitive metrics and assessments to measure the impact of training interventions or policy changes on cognitive skills and decision-making abilities.
Q: What unique benefits does CPG provide its customers in comparison with other military contractors?
A: Our leadership has been part of the cognitive science and naturalistic decision-making revolution over the past 20 years. We understand the processes involved when people apply their knowledge to make decisions in chaotic, high-stress, ambiguous environments. We continue to do cutting edge research in the military domain to better understand how training can be more effective and efficient at preparing warfighters for the decision challenges they’ll encounter.
As a small business, we are lean and agile. We are therefore highly collaborative with our customers and responsive to their needs. We are also very affordable. Customers comment on how much value they get for their dollar with CPG.
Q: Can you describe how your programs are being used by customers?
A: Our customers look to us to help them describe what “gold standard” performance looks like and how people achieve it, especially for operators whose jobs have evolved due to new mission requirements or employment of new capabilities as a result of technological advances. We have a proven process for generating Mastery Models, which are highly customized road maps, based on validated scientific models showing how people move from novice to expert. A Mastery Model is the foundation piece for screening, training and assessing performance for a domain. Our Mastery Models are the basis for the USMC’s Squad Leader Development and Instructor Professional Development programs.
We recently worked with an agency responsible for the development of highly specialized military planners. This customer said: “We have a small group of planners with ‘the knack’ at this type of planning, but we don’t understand what they know that others don’t, and we don’t know how to train others to be like them. Help us define ‘the knack’ and improve our screening and training processes so that we can build more of these highly skilled planners.” We applied our methods to describe the experts’ tacit knowledge and strategies in the form of expert and cognitive competency models. We then produced screening criteria, redefined learning objectives and course content, and generated a robust job description for the customer to support an overhaul of the professional development process and requirements for these specialized planners.
Our customers seek us out to help them measure individuals’ decision-making, adaptability and judgment skills. Quantitative measurement of these skills in a military context proves difficult, because often there are several right answers, and decision quality can’t necessarily be tied to an outcome. We treat decision making as a multi-dimensional construct and use a battery of instruments to triangulate on decision-making proficiency by assessing the family of skills that support or enable decision making. We are implementing our assessment tools at The Basic School (USMC) to gauge the impact of their Enlisted Instructor-Advisor program.
Q: How is CPG positioned in the market for expansion?
A: As the Department of Defense seeks training efficiencies and focuses resources on the agility of small teams of specialized warfighters, we are preparing for growth. Some of the most pressing needs of our military are uniquely addressed by our knowledge base and competencies. Our growth strategy will enable us to meet customers’ needs while still maintaining our core values of objectivity, supportiveness and competence. We have a staff of talented, passionate professionals. Our business processes value and reward quality, continuous learning and customer focus. We pride ourselves on collaboration and working well as team members, and we continue to work with trusted business partners and build relationships with new companies to form teams that will provide warfighters with the best training, education and preparation practices available. ♦
By Navy Reserve Force Master Chief (Ret.) Clarence “C.J.” Mitchell
Shipmates, I want to take this opportunity to reflect on my past four years as your force master chief. But first, I want to personally thank your families, employers and communities for the support they provide that allows for your outstanding service to our Navy family. With their sacrifices, they have, in turn, supported me, making my job to represent you and your record of selfless dedication to duty, both here at home, and around the world, very easy.
As I think back on my time as the 15th force master chief, I look to the force master chiefs that came before me. I knew when I got this job that I wanted to live up to their legacy and service. Like my predecessors, I wanted to reach out to you, spend time with you, listen to you, and help you. My best memories in this role are my times with you, the Reserve Sailor. I visited you in NOSCs from New York to Montana; from California to Guam. I visited you while you prepared to deploy and while you were on deployment – from NIACT in Fort Jackson to England; from Djibouti to Afghanistan. While I didn’t make it to every NOSC or every mobilization location, I sure tried. And during my tenure, more than 12,000 Sailors mobilized with a 90 percent volunteer rate!
Whenever I had an opportunity to see you and your shipmates at work, I was impressed. It did not matter if it was at your local NOSC, squadron, or battalion spaces, or if it was on the watchfloor in some remote location – wherever I went, I saw top-notch professionalism and teamwork. Sailors making contributions to the Navy and to a winning effort making commands better and ensuring mission success is, in a word, impressive.
Equally, if not more impressive is the work that you do outside of the Navy in your civilian jobs and in your communities. I have met teachers, professors, law enforcement officials, doctors, nurses, engineers and even a rocket scientist. You are journalists, cyber professionals, civic leaders, mangers and business owners – the list is long and diverse. You bring all of these professional skills and work ethic into your military careers. You are indeed twice the citizen – both in and out of uniform.
In 2015, we had our Centennial – 100 years of the Navy Reserve. With stakeholders and supporters like the USO, the Navy League and the DoD Agency Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR), we celebrated with events at every NOSC and every mobilization location around the world. I did not need to look for the centennial, as we found it wherever I went – even airports – I would surprisingly find our banner prominently displayed.
Unfortunately, there were tragic times as well that year. The events in Chattanooga, Tennessee, on July 16 changed many of us forever. We lost a shipmate, Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Randall Smith, and four Marines in the senseless shooting that happened that day. But it also brought us closer together. To see the Navy Reserve rally around Chattanooga by volunteering to serve, not just in Chattanooga, but also as armed watchstanders at NOSCs around the country. The response was swift and resolute as Sailors stood the watch outside the fence line of bases – it was emotionally moving. I was there in Chattanooga to see the response and support of the eastern Tennessee area. For a short time, it felt as if we had the support of the whole community propping us up. Your response, and the response of our Navy, cannot be captured by words.
The Navy Reserve has progressed significantly in the past four years. Advancements have increased in many ratings, especially the Seabees. There are operational opportunities available at sea for information warfare Sailors and many others. The High Value Unit escort mission is a dedicated Reserve mission similar to the medium lift logistics mission of our VR wing. Major improvements have been implemented to enable your service such as Enhanced Drill Management, integrating the Navy Reserve Order Writing System with the Defense Travel System, and a Personnel Qualification Standards program for NOSC personnel, to name a few. The Ready-to-Serve mobile application has changed the way that we communicate and connect to Navy systems, making us more mobile and agile, and there is more coming.
The future of the Navy Reserve makes it bittersweet to retire and give up the best job in the Navy. As Vice Adm. McCollum and our leadership work tirelessly to progress the Navy Reserve, you will hear and see much from an action plan designed by simplify, enable, leverage and Resourcing. CNR and the OPNAV 095 team are the best in the world and dedicated to all of you! Most of all, I am excited for Master Chief Chris Kotz and his family. He is an awesome master chief petty officer with a great work ethic who wants to serve others. The future of the Navy Reserve is indeed bright with CNR and 16th force master chief out front leading the way.
For my career and tenure as the 15th force master chief, it has been helluva run. I will never be far away and I will enjoy watching as the Navy Reserve modernizes and continues to leverage and resourcing. CNR and the OPNAV 095 team are the best in the world and dedicated to all of you! Most of all, I am excited for Master Chief Chris Kotz and his family. He is an awesome master chief petty officer with a great work ethic who wants to serve others. The future of the Navy Reserve is indeed bright with CNR and 16th force master chief out front leading the way. For my career and tenure as the 15th force master chief, it has been helluva run. I will never be far away and I will enjoy watching as the Navy Reserve modernizes and continues to contribute to mission success in the Navy in innovative and flexible ways. Every job that I have had in the Navy has been good and it has been my honor and my privilege to serve as the senior enlisted leader of the Navy’s best Sailors and citizens. I am proud of you and I am thankful for your service and dedication.
Editor’s note: This blog was originally published as a column in the Navy Reserve’s TNR magazine (Volume 17, Issue 3) while Mitchell was the Reserve’s 15th force master chief . He later retired Oct. 13, 2017, during a ceremony at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.
AFSOC Training | U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command
Air Force Special Operations Command(AFSOC) conducting training at Hurlburt Field, FL. Scenes include water surfacing, free fall jumping, helo fats rope, room clearing and stacking, motorcycles and live fire exercises
Michael Raynor | Air Force Television Pentagon (SAF/PAI)