The Impact of Visual Training on Military Skills

January 30, 2013 in Learning About Learning

When it comes to designing a training program for military personnel, instructors are faced with several challenges. First, unlike athletes there is no off-season, most units are either preparing for deployment, deployed, or refitting from deployment. Secondly, training facilities vary from location to location and often focus on a single task. These tasks may include muscular strength, cardiovascular endurance, field craft or marksmanship. Each of the above contribute to the success of an operation, however there is one area of training that is deficient. This deficiency is visual training; visual ability plays a larger role in achieving optimum performance than most military personnel realize. The goal of integrating visual training into an already packed curriculum is not to dilute it but to improve tactical performance.

The American Optometric Association defines visual training as a structured program of visual activities prescribed to improve visual performance.  Visual training has been thriving in the arena of sports medicine for years. Athletic trainers have employed visual training to improve an athlete’s ability to better anticipate the actions or reactions of their opponent (Hugemann, Strauss and Canal-Bruland 2006).  Instructors cannot lose sight of this skill set in training of members of the armed forces. Like athletes military personnel operate in a dynamic environment and need the ability to clearly see objects while them and or the object is moving. Continue reading »

Threats Inside The Wire – The Approach

November 29, 2012 in Applying The Observations, Assessing Groups

The approach precedes the attack. It has to and Green-on-Blue attacks are no different.  An attacker must get closer to his target in order to be successful, but it also is going to cause that person to stand out from the baseline.  If you are a new reader, I recommend you take a look at the article explaining Proxemic Pulls to better understand this dynamic before moving on:

From Science To The Streets – Where The Proxemic Pull Came From

The reason for this is that attackers intuitively understand the principle that Proximity Negates Skill.  If you can’t shoot someone from 500 yards away, you have to get within a range where you can hit your target.  If you don’t have a gun, you need to get within knife striking range.  If you don’t the skill or the ability, you have to get within a closer proximity to compensate and be successful.

The consequences for failing to identify an insider threat are extremely high, and while the fact that attackers are moving closer to Marines or Soldiers can make stopping these attacks more challenging (a closer attacker reduces the amount of time available to react and limits the number of options available for dealing with the threat), it also simplifies the problem as well.  Continue reading »

Threats Inside The Wire – Finding Common Ground

November 27, 2012 in Applying The Observations

The reason that I led yesterday’s article off with the example of Nidal Hassan’s attack in Fort Hood might not be for the reason you would imagine. While this was a terrorist act in nature, the characteristics of his attack mirror those of a workplace violence incident.  In fact, it meets the exact definition of a Type 3 Workplace Violence incident as defined by OSHA.**  Nidal Hassan walked into a building where he was an employee/supervisor and committed a violent act against coworkers.

The situation in Afghanistan, where uniformed Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) open fire on their “coworker” American trainers, is no different.  To get further and further left of bang, we first need to understand Continue reading »

Turning The Map Around – How A Company Looks At Hiring

November 13, 2012 in Veterans, Business, and Security

In the military, every operation gets looked at from two perspectives.  The first is from the friendly perspective (as a Marine or Soldier looking at the enemy.) The second is from the enemy’s perspective (what he would be thinking looking at us.)  This is done to ensure a comprehensive approach to mission planning and, while we can’t mitigate every risk, it allows us to begin thinking about how we can predict and influence the actions the enemy may take in the future.

One of the hurdles people often face during the job search is that it can be difficult to put yourself into the shoes of a corporate hiring manager.  It can be difficult to turn the map around because people haven’t worked in human resources or truly understand how these managers look at job applicants.  Continue reading »

Looking Back On A Failed Job Search

November 12, 2012 in Veterans, Business, and Security

When I was first preparing to separate from the military, I failed in my post-Marine Corps career job search.  About ten months before I was set to leave Camp Pendleton, I sent my resume to over 50 companies over a two-month period and didn’t get a single response.  I couldn’t believe it.  It went against all of the promising things I was told as a Marine from people in the business world.

–       Your proven leadership experience will be sought after by companies in the private sector!

–       You’ve commanded more Marines in Iraq than your peers have managed at this point in their career!

–       The discipline and adaptability that they instill in Marines are traits that the business world looks for when recruiting from the military!

–       You have proven your ability to handle stress, work ethic and to meet timelines – this will separate you from your civilian peers!

I couldn’t even get a straightforward “no” from a business.  Continue reading »

De-Mystifying the IED

November 6, 2012 in Applying The Observations

Why did no one tell me about this? Who had this information and why didn’t my Marines and I get it? This could have saved some of my friends. These are some of the things that were going through my head when I first received my Combat Profiling training, and that broken record still plays in my head today.

Too often Marines have a missing or corrupt file folder on the manufacturing and employment of IEDs.  It surrounds the IED with a cloak of secrecy. If we can demystify the IED we can open our eyes to the clues around us.  This post is going to give you one of the many tools to analyze the threats in your area. It costs nothing and weights nothing, but it can make us more efficient on the battlefield.

I recall a conversation during one of my tours in Iraq when I was seeking knowledge about one of the biggest threats in our AO (Area of Operations.) My Marines were well versed in the basic structure of the IEDs, having dealt with more than a few, but we wanted some more in depth knowledge of how they were actually manufactured. The person that we sought out definitely rated the title of subject matter expert, seeing as his job was to deal with IEDs on a daily basis. We asked the explosives tech questions that ranged from how they were initiated to how the explosives were actually made themselves.

To make a long story short, I started getting into subjects that where apparently above my classification.  Really? Apparently I have enough classification to step on, or drive over said IED’s, but not enough to learn how they’re made. Continue reading »

Closing The Deal In The Boardroom, On The Battlefield, Or In The Bar

November 1, 2012 in Applying The Observations, Assessing Individuals

We’ve all been there before.  We thought we had done enough to get the “yes,” whether it was for a new contract, an agreement with a village elder in a foreign country over the placement of a new well, or the number for the girl you’ve been talking to at the bar.  In fact, we were probably so confident in our presentation that a “no” was no longer even a real possibility in our mind.  Because of this, we probably stopped looking for the cues that could have alerted us to the impending and humiliating rejection that was around the next corner.  It might not always be an outright no either.  At first it could even be a “yes” just to get us to stop talking which also provides them the time for the “buyers remorse” to set in and have the deal breakdown later on.  Where did we go wrong?  It started by failing to Continue reading »

The Clusters Have Been Updated

June 12, 2012 in Assessing Individuals

We have gone through the 6 different clusters that we use to define a person’s body language and expanded the possible behaviors that you can use classify the people you are observing.  The more you practice identifying these clusters will allow you to quickly establish baselines for individuals as well as notice the subtle changes in that can alert you to shifts in their moods and intentions.

To see the updated information, follow the links:

Dominant vs. Submissive Cluster

Uncomfortable vs. Comfortable Cluster

Interested vs. Uninterested Cluster

Some gestures bridge the gap across clusters and can fit into multiple clusters.  Continually look for three indicators that lead you to the same conclusion and determine if that gesture fits the baseline.  Finding creative ways to train yourself to identify these will allow you build the file folders you need to become an effective profiler.

Analyzing Behavior – For Medics and Corpsmen

April 22, 2012 in Applying The Observations

Many Marines and soldiers have gotten the call to respond to an IED strike while they were deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.  This call isn’t always to help out other Americans. Sometimes the call comes to treat and evacuate the casualties from the local military or police forces from those countries that were the victims of an attack.

Interpreter support?  Only if you are lucky.  This makes triage and identifying the most severe casualties increasingly difficult.  A medic can quickly observe visual wounds such as bleeding or broken bones and make a determination of what type of care if required based on what they see, but understanding pain is a different case because you can’t “see” pain.  To learn that a person is experiencing pain requires communication between the victim and the responder.  If you are operating in a foreign country where people are not speaking in English, your ability to understand what the victim is communicating is going to be limited. Continue reading »

Finding Valid Information – How Profiling Can Assist Census Operations

March 13, 2012 in Applying The Observations, Assessing Individuals

I was reading a blog post on the Marine Corps Gazette site last week (the link to the post is embedded in the image) that was written about the difficulty Marines have while gathering census data while deployed.  The challenge is simple to understand because there can be a significant financial reward to local villagers who can successfully convince Marines that funding their cause is in our best interest.

“A single consistency I could draw from the book was that any Afghan in a position of power saw the international community as a source of income for their own patronage networks. Village chiefs, businessmen, and ambitious young men all told different stories to various aid agencies and organizations to direct the flow of aid money.”  – Joe Davidoski (author of blog post) (blog link)

So how can understanding profiling and understanding human behavior help Marines who are responsible for gathering information from local villagers? Continue reading »

Book Review – Nonverbal Communication In Human Interaction

December 11, 2011 in Books and Resources

Of the “Must Read” books listed on the recommended reading list, Nonverbal Communication in Human Interaction, 7th Edition, by Mark Knapp and Judith Hall is at the bottom for a reason, but not because it is a bad read or without great information.  It is there for the exact opposite reason; it is absolutely full of incredibly well researched content that directly applies to Combat Profiling.

It is at the bottom of the list because when you read it, we want you to have already read What Every Body Is Saying, we want you to have read Lie Spotting, we want you to be comfortable with the content here on the site and we want you to have already gone out in town and observed all 6 domains of Combat Profiling in unscripted scenarios before you read it.
Continue reading »

Understanding Body Language: Uncomfortable

November 6, 2011 in Assessing Individuals

The foundation of any behavioral analysis program begins with a deep understanding of what a person is conveying through their nonverbal communication.  Tying the domains Kinesics and Biometrics together allow us to quickly make decisions about a person’s intentions, capabilities and emotions.

The six clusters that we use to classify an individual’s behavior (Dominant, Submissiveness, Uncomfortable, Comfortable, Interested, Uninterested) are the science behind our observations.  With all of these clusters, don’t forget about the Combat Rule of 3’s – that we are going to look for three indicators that all lead to the same cluster before we make a decision.  If you have the science part of the observation down, you are ready to apply the art of the observation and decide if that cluster you have identified fits the baseline or is an anomaly.

The following are gestures on the body that I would put into the “Uncomfortable” Cluster.  Continue reading »

Why We Observe In Clusters

October 31, 2011 in Assessing Individuals

When it comes to observing body language and biometric cues, we want to stress the absolute imperative that we have as observers to put behavioral indicators together into clusters.  Because gestures have different meaning in different contexts, we have to be cautious in the conclusions that we come to.  One body language indicator alone does not tell us anything, but if you can identify a cluster of 3 kinesic or biometric cues all leading you to that same conclusion, you can increase the likelihood of your success.  In his book What Every Body Is Saying, Joe Navarro talks about “the more pieces of the puzzle you posses, the better your chances of putting them all together and seeing the picture they portray” (pg 13).
Continue reading »

Predictive Profiling and Tactical Analysis

October 21, 2011 in Background Information

Predictive Profiling is the guiding concept that has driven the development of the Tactical Analysis course.  The goal is to make Marines, police officers, and security professional capable of predicting the 5 W’s for any attack the enemy can present to us.  Because protectors can be in any country in the world, preparing for this situation can be very challenging.  In fact, it would be impossible to train protectors for every possible scenario with the limited time and resources we have prior to being in the area.
Continue reading »

The Professional

October 3, 2011 in Learning About Learning

If your occupation involves the possibility that you could get killed or that you may have to save the life of someone else, you don’t have a job. You have a profession.  Being a professional is a term that gets thrown around quite often, and it is usually reserved for that person who does not accept mediocrity, but instead puts in the extra time and effort to be the best.  Even in fields where everyone should display those characteristics, like the military or law enforcement, not everyone is a true professional.  There will always be those that are content with maintaining the status quo, that don’t have the drive to better themselves, which may be due to them enjoying the respect earned by having the title of Marine or Soldier or Police Officer. They aren’t willing to go the extra mile to separate themselves from their peers.  This blog and site is not for them.  This blog is designed for the true professionals.
Continue reading »