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Decision-Making Model Analysis

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Decision-Making Model Analysis

University of Phoenix Online

CSS 330 Critical Thinking and Computer Logic

May 1, 2006


Decision making is an essential skill that all of us will have to use at some point in our lives. In the business world, good decision making is important to leaders who want to lead their organizations to success. This paper will examine the Military Decision-Making Process. I will identify all of the steps involved in this process and relate it to some recent decisions that I have made at work.

Decision-Making Model Analysis

Decisions are something that we all encounter at some point in our lives. Sometimes we look forward to making certain decisions and other decisions are ones that we dread. Whether we want to make decisions or not, the fact remains that decision making is just a part of life. Personal decisions that we make may determine our career path or how many children we will have. Business decisions can make or break an organization. A decision to market the wrong product or venture into a risky market could destroy an otherwise successful company. In the military, critical decisions are made that have life or death consequences. It stands to reason that with the importance of some of the decisions that we have to make throughout our lives, that it is a good idea to apply critical thinking toward those decisions and to establish a process that could be used to help us make effective decisions.

People tend to make decisions based on their biases or beliefs. Factors such as a lack of evidence or supporting information, peer pressure, and wishful thinking often influence the decisions that we make. It is because of things like this that we need to develop a model for making decisions and apply critical thinking to the process to help eliminate poor decisions.

Military Decision-Making Process

The military learned many years ago that decision making is both a science and an art. The military decision-making process is a tool that will assist military commanders and staff analyze a situation on the battlefield and reach logical decisions. "The process helps them apply thoroughness, clarity, sound judgment, logic, and professional knowledge to reach a decision" (Headquarters Department of the Army, 1997). The military decision-making process is a seven step process. Each step of the process relies on input from the previous step and each step also provides output for the next step. "The full MDMP is a detailed, deliberate, sequential, and time-consuming process used when adequate planning time and sufficient staff support are available to thoroughly examine numerous friendly and enemy courses of action (COAs)" (Headquarters Department of the Army, 1997). While the military decision-making process is an effective tool for commanders, the disadvantage is that it is also very time consuming. When the situation dictates, the commander will have to use an abbreviated form of the process.

Receipt of Mission

The military decision-making process begins with the receipt of a new mission from higher headquarters. Once the mission is received, the commander and his staff have to do an initial assessment to see how much time they can allocate towards the planning process. The time available will determine whether the commander can do a "full-blown" process or an abbreviated one. "The commander and his staff thoroughly analyze the higher headquarters' order to establish horizontal and vertical nesting, not just for maneuver, but also for all combat support and combat service support" (Headquarters Department of the Army, 1997). This step will help to ensure that the commander and staff thoroughly understand the higher headquarters intent and concept of operations.

Mission Analysis

The next step in the military decision-making process is mission analysis. This is where the commander will start to visualize the battlefield and determine exactly what the tactical problem is and conduct a sub-step known as Initial Preparation of the Battlefield.

Course of Action Development

After receiving guidance, the staff can start developing possible courses of action for analysis. "A good COA positions the force for future operations and provides flexibility to meet unforeseen events during execution. It also provides the maximum latitude for initiative by subordinates" (Headquarters Department of the Army, 1997).

Course of Action Analysis

The next step in the process is to analyze the courses of action. This is often called "War Gaming." "The COA analysis identifies which COA accomplishes the mission with minimum casualties while best positioning the force to retain the initiative for future operations" (Headquarters Department of the Army, 1997).

Course of Action Comparison

After war gaming several scenarios, each staff officer will evaluate and analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each course of action from his perspective. "The staff compares feasible courses of action to identify the one that has the highest probability of success



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