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From 6 Domains To 4 Pillars: The Evolution of Behavioral Assessments

One of the questions that we get asked the most frequently when we present our course is whether there are any differences between the behaviors that we discuss in Left of Bang, and those that we teach in the Tactical Analysis program. There is and there isn’t. As we are only a few weeks away from releasing our Tactical Analysis Advanced Course online through our Academy, we wanted to take a minute to explain to those who have both read the book and gone through our online programs how our two ways of presenting this information are related.

BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front)

  • The individual behaviors that make up the Tactical Analysis program are fundamentally the same as those that we talk about in Left of Bang.
  • Between the Tactical Analysis Program and the book, these behaviors are simply packaged differently. In Left of Bang, we teach these behaviors as the six domains. In our Tactical Analysis course, we teach these same behaviors as the four pillars of observable behavior.

The Explanation

If you have read Left of Bang, you have learned about the six domains of observable behavior that the Marine Corps uses to assess human behavior. These six domains are taught and referred to as:

  • Kinesics: The study of body movement, which, upon being analyzed to uncover the meaning of the gesture, posture, or expression, becomes body language.
  • Biometric Cues: The body’s physiological responses to stress.
  • Proxemics: Assessments made regarding interpersonal separation and body placement.
  • Geographics: The relationship between people and their environment.
  • Iconography: The visual representation of a person’s (or group’s) beliefs and affiliations.
  • Atmospherics: The collective sense of safety in an area or situation.

The reason why the domains are broken down into six groups in Left of Bang is because each of them comes from a different field of behavioral science. As the U.S.M.C. was building the behavioral analysis portion of Combat Hunter, they needed a way to break observable human behavior down into its component parts so that Marines could better understand what they were seeing and be able to communicate those observations to others effectively.

The reason that The CP Journal teaches these behaviors in our Tactical Analysis program using four pillars instead of the six domains is because we noticed a trend in how our students used and applied these concepts in real life situations following our courses. The wording that we often heard wasn’t in line with the terminology we were teaching and we realized that, if there was a disconnect between the classroom and the street, it meant we weren’t empowering our nation’s protectors to perform at the level we were striving for. We noticed that people weren’t using the words kinesics and biometric cues separately, but that they were naturally tying both of them together to make an assessment about an “individual person,” leading us to call our first pillar “individuals.” We noticed that they weren’t observing proxemics, but they were making observations and talking about “groups of people,” leading us to name our second pillar “groups.” Since the goal of behavioral analysis is to improve the way people make decisions, both through deliberate searches and through intuitive assessments, we wanted to make sure that our behavioral pillars were mirroring the way people naturally look at and talk about the people, the environment and the situations they find themselves in. If there is a disconnect between the deliberate and intuitive searches, it will restrict even the most interested students from using these concepts in the types of situations where they need them the most, when there is a threat present.

Both the Combat Hunter program and Tactical Analysis have the same requirement of ensuring that all of the behaviors taught are backed by science in order to ensure objectivity and accuracy. As the by-product of that capability provides the operators, police officers and protectors on the ground with the ability to articulate and explain what led them to make a decision, the change in the way the behaviors are packaged provides a much more clear and concise terminology to ensure that everyone has the same understanding of a situation. With a shared understanding of the behavior being observed, why that person or group of people was assessed in the first place and the science leading to those observations, it no longer matters if you were on scene or not, but you can attain that common operational picture that is sought after by the professionals in each of our markets.

The Four Pillars: A Translation Guide

To better understand how we teach these behaviors in the Tactical Analysis program and how to connect the book and the course, here is a short guide:

Pillar #1: How We Assess Individuals

  • From Left of Bang: Kinesics, Biometric cues, and Personal Iconography

Pillar #2: How We Assess Groups

  • From Left of Bang: Proxemics

Pillar #3: How We Assess the Environment

  • From Left of Bang: Geographics and Environmental Iconography

Pillar #4: How We Assess the Collective

  • From Left of Bang: Atmospherics

Wrapping Up

As a company and as instructors, our sole focus is centered on how well people can apply the lessons taught in the program to real life situations immediately upon leaving the classroom. We don’t teach for the sake of teaching. We do it to provide the best support possible, and we are always looking for ways to improve our delivery. Transitioning from six domains to four pillars is one of those improvements that we have made to our Tactical Analysis program since delivering our first course in 2011.

We are able to make these changes, updates and improvements to our core program because we aren’t government contractors. We are entrepreneurs. For the members of the military who come through our program, this ability to change and make improvements doesn’t exist in many of the standing training programs that you typically attend and are taught by government contractors or managed under bureaucratic processes. For those programs, the ability to make changes can be a challenging process and, for many in the chain of command, maintaining the status quo is easier than the effort required to adjust learning objectives, method of delivery and packaging of concepts. While people from our other markets might read this paragraph and ask, “Why wouldn’t you improve your program based on the feedback from students and performance indicators?” unfortunately, that isn’t always the case in the military or federal law enforcement agencies.

In our commitment to serve our nation’s protectors in all fields, not only will we continue to look for every opportunity to improve our courses, but we will also keep you updated as to our explanations for the change and the reasons why we make those decisions. For our students who purchase our online training programs, this is also why you have lifetime access to our courses. If you come through our course, you shouldn’t be limited to only seeing our current version, but should be able to see the versions that continue to get refined and improved over time. These changes often come directly from your feedback.

Thanks for choosing to train with us.


 

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