Just as the times change, so do Army officials planning decisions, designing operations to accomplish objectives for increasingly diverse missions.
For more than a decade, threats have grown beyond single nations. There are now mixtures of conventional and irregular armed forces, criminal organizations and terrorists collectively labeled hybrid threats. The most notorious hybrid is al-Qaida, a terrorist group unidentifiable by its members appearance.
This is one of many reasons the Department of the Army introduced the new Army Design Methodology to build upon the traditional and structured decision-making processes, which has been promoted by Lt. Col. Celestino Perez from the Armys Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Perez led a two-day presentation and workshop on the new methodology Jan. 28-29 at the 84th Civil Affairs Battalions headquarters on Joint Base Lewis-McChord for captains and majors of the 84th CAB, 7th Infantry Division, 42nd Military Police Brigade and 1st Special Forces Group.
For the 84th Civ. Affairs Bn., activated last October, the workshop was a way to collaborate and practice with fellow Pacific region units like 1st SFG.
Majors and captains from each unit worked together on critical thinking exercises, designing mission plans and talking about how they view certain situations affecting the Pacific region, like the recent typhoon damage in the Philippines.
These guys have been to a lot of the countries that we are going to get ready to go into, and having that discussion and sharing tips or lessons learned is pretty valuable, said Maj. Arnel David, executive officer for 84th Civ. Affairs Bn.
A major part of the discussion looked at the various aspects when viewing where a mission takes place local politics, economics, civil society, the identities and cultures of the people who live there and ethical problems.
And all of those things get swirled together and they present different problems from what we used to think about in the past, Perez said.
The first day of the workshop included audio clips from National Public Radio after Typhoon Haiyan struck late last year. One report focused on the corruption, how it differed from the corruption in other countries and how that affected humanitarian operations.
Other stories provided perspectives from members of the suffering population and ham radio operators working with local entities to provide communications after the disaster struck.
The more exposure we get to these entities in the population, the more windows of opportunity we have in order to coordinate with them, Perez said.
It builds off the belief the Soldiers in the room, many who have been or are expected to deploy within the neighboring Pacific region, are not in it alone.
While the Army works hand-in-hand with other armed forces in the Department of Defense, Perez said there are opportunities to work not only with U.S. agencies like the Departments of Treasury and Agriculture, but also the agencies from the Pacific countries that provide similar assistance and support.
Whenever we can get people from outside the military in our planning groups and were working together to solve problems, thats a much better way of approaching on what we have to do, Perez said.
Perez mentioned that the decision making processes discussed are currently being used by top-tier officials like Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Raymond Odierno, current Chief of Staff of the Army.
Younger service members are comfortable with new critical thinking concepts, demonstrated when operating with local communities, just as JBLM works hand-in-hand with Pierce and Thurston County officials and several neighboring cities.
Many of the officials in the room nodded in agreement with Perez.
I think its critical for the young people to learn operational design, because they will do it in the future, said a major from the 1st SFG.