Command and control

Defence members gathered around computers at a Defence wargame facility

DST Group in collaboration with the University of Melbourne has developed an instrument for measuring aspects of thought.

The purpose of this is to enable Australian Command and Staff College (ACSC) course participants to achieve the most from their military education.
Persons being studied with the instrument focus on their past decision-making and answer questions on how they went about it.

Their answers are combined in the instrument to measure four types of thought, these being cognition (thinking about the world), meta-cognition (thinking about thought), reasoning (rational analytic thinking) and intuition (naturalistic thinking). These categories form quadrants of a schema that captures the dynamic balance of a person’s thinking.
The researchers have identified two main military styles of thought; ‘Achilles’, thinking intuitively but checking action plans logically, and ‘Priam’, rational decisions with intuitive out-of-the-box strategies.
The work has involved conducting tests on the thought processes of ACSC course members before and after taking the course, with similarities and differences in results noted. Aggregated anonymous results show the ACSC what educational gains are being achieved in the course.
In the next phase of work, the researchers intend to tackle a common human foible – the inability to see weaknesses in oneself. Individually tailored simulation will be provided in a private setting so that commanders can see the consequences of their actions and thus contemplate change.

Key information

  • Command and Control
  • Decision-Making
  • Simulation