Presentation on theme: "THE AFTER ACTION REVIEW PROCESS"— Presentation transcript:
1 THE AFTER ACTION REVIEW PROCESS DOCTRINEMajor R. KennedyWelcome to the first in a series of presentations that you will receive over the next several hours regarding the After Action Review Process.In my last presentation, you heard it mentioned that the After Action Review is one of the major tools by which O/C achieve their teach, coach and mentor responsibilities and into which their observations are fed in order to help a team learn more. You were also told that as O/C you are expected to set the example in the conduct of AAR for the Army.The intent of the next several presentations will be to provide you with the knowledge and skills; I will call them the tools, that will permit you to employ the AAR Process effectively and, with practice, to set an example for the rest of the Army.
2 AIMTO DEVELOP A COMMON UNDERSTANDING OF THE AFTER ACTION REVIEW PROCESS, ITS INTENT, KEY ELEMENTS AND THE APPLICATION OF THE PROCESS TO TRAINING AND OPERATIONSAs a result of visits to exercises, discussions with soldiers at all levels, feedback through PXR, it has become evident that a common understanding of the AAR Process and its application does not currently exist within the Army. In order to begin to apply the AAR Process effectively, we must first develop a common understanding of the process itself, its intent, the key elements upon which it is based and how they are expected to be employed in order to achieve the intent. That will be my aim over the next 30 minutes.
3 MAIN TEACHING POINTS What is an After Action Review (AAR) Terminology The Army Lessons Learned ProcessWhy Conduct AARKey Elements of the AAR ProcessThe AAR Process and ConfirmationSteps of the AAR ProcessThese are the MTP that we will be addressing during this presentation.
4 REFERENCESAnnex E to the Army Strategic Planning Process – “The Army Lessons Learned Process”CFP 300-8, “Training Canada’s Army, Chapter 7After Action Review Aide-MemoireThese are the related references with which you should be very familiar.
5 TERMINOLOGYCritique – The critique is characterized by mainly one-way flow of feedback about an individual’s or team’s performance. While the participants will often be offered the opportunity to identify their own strengths and weaknesses, it is clearly understood that the senior person involved in the critique stands ready to fill in any gaps . The critique’s only advantages are that it takes less time to conduct and is useful when the participant’s ability to analyze their own performance may be limited due to inexperience. Critiques should be the exception rather than the norm.
6 TERMINOLOGYDebrief – The process of retrieving information from returning patrols and aircrew. Also used commonly in the Army to describe the process of providing feedback to an individual or a team about their performance. This term and critique are interchangeable.Hot Wash-up - The “quick and dirty” attempt after a training event to capture lessons. Normally does not allocate sufficient time or resources to permit a focussed discussion of what happened, why it happened and how to improve.
7 THE ARMY LESSONS LEARNED PROCESS The Army Lessons Learned Process is the process by which the Army collects, analyzes, assimilates and distributes Army, CF and Allied experiences as lessons. The intent of the process is to enable the Army to profit from its own experiences and those of the CF and our Allies, with a view to avoiding the duplication of costly errors, particularly those involving death or injury, of emulating success and consistently improving its performance.Note. Don’t immediately show description of ALLP.As part of the reading that you were required to complete prior to this presentation, you reviewed the ALLP.What is the Army Lessons Learned Process and what is its intent?There are five major steps in the ALLP. What are they?Determine Information Requirements (Lessons) for Future ActivitiesCollect, Analyze, Develop Lessons and Coordinate Staff ActionProvide Direction to Assimilate Lessons Into Doctrine, Trg, Acquisition of Equipment, etc Archive and Disseminate Lessons, Provide Feedback, Follow-upIncorporate Existing Lessons Into Planning for New ActivitiesKeep the ALLP in mind when we speak more about the AAR Process and try to identify how they mesh.
8 MAJOR ACTIVITIES - ALLP Determine Information Requirements (Lessons) for Future ActivitiesCollect, Analyze, Develop Lessons and Coordinate Staff ActionProvide Direction to Assimilate Lessons Into Doctrine, Trg, Acquisition of Equipment, etc Archive and Disseminate Lessons, Provide Feedback, Follow-upIncorporate Existing Lessons Into Planning for New ActivitiesKeep these activities in mind when we are discussing the key elements and steps of the AAR Process
9 THE AFTER ACTION REVIEW PROCESS It is the process by which After Action Reviews are planned, prepared, conducted and followed-up. Its intent is to allow the participants of a training event or an operation to QUICKLY and CONSISTENTLY LEARN the most from their experiences.The AAR Process is all about learning. Its about learning quickly and consistently. Its about achieving constant improvement, even when things are going well.The AAR Process is more than the AAR itself. It encompasses all of the activities in which we establish the conditions to enable the maximum amount of learning from any given training event or operation.The AAR Process does not exist in a doctrinal void. The AAR Process is an inherent part of our learning doctrine, our “learning culture” in the Army which is expressed in the Army Lessons Learned Process (ALLP). The AAR Process supports the ALLP.
10 WHAT IS AN AFTER ACTION REVIEW? An After Action Review is a professional discussion of a training or operational event that focuses on identifying what happened, why it happened and ways to improve.An After Action Review is not an evaluation or a critique.No one person knows everything that occurred and why.After Action Reviews do not attempt to judge success or failure or assign blame. Instead they concentrate on comparing performance to doctrine and determining how to constantly improve.While After Action Reviews tend to focus on what went wrong, they must also attempt to identify what went well so good performance can be repeated and sustained.
11 TYPES OF AAR – DOCTRINAL CHANGE!!! AAR will not be identified by type.Once the requirement for an AAR has been identified, the timing, location, duration and the resources to be allocated, will be based on availability, tempo, the complexity of the learning objectives and the optimum number of participants.Experience in the employment of AAR has resulted in the recommendation that the terms Formal and Informal AAR be dropped from the terminology of this subject. It was found that the distinctions that were made between both types of AAR were misleading and caused confusion.AAR will not be identified by type. The duration and resources allocated to an AAR will be based on the complexity of the learning objectives to be addressed, the size of the audience and the time and resources available
12 WHY CONDUCT AAR?We seem to have fewer and fewer opportunities to go to the field. Resources are becoming more constrained. Leaders don’t always get as many opportunities as we would like to lead in the field. We have to gain the most from each hour of training, bullet, blank round or litre of fuel.We are in a business in which you don’t always get a second chance. We have to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible from each experience. If we can do that quicker than our opponents, we have a good opportunity to seize and hold the initiative. We learn to learn from our experiences during training.
13 LEARN MORE FROM OUR TRAINING “There are two major objectives of training in Canada’s Army. The first is to leverage the greatest amount of learning and improvement from any training event.” “ The second is todevelop in Canadian soldiers, at all levels, the ability to learn quickly during operations and touse that knowledge to not only improve performance but to seize the initiative. ”Chapter 7, Section 2, CFP “Training Canada’s Army”Training time and resources are becoming more and more precious. Between operations and other taskings, the opportunities to conduct training, particularly collective training is becoming more and more challenging to come by. We need to have the tools that will allow us to wring the last possible drop of learning from every hour, bullet and litre of fuel expended during training. This isn’t about doing more with less, this is about getting the most out of anything we’ve got.
14 LEARN TO LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE “Increased tempo and dispersion on the battlefield generate an increased requirement to learn quickly, without direct supervision…soldiers and teams need processes that allow them to objectively analyze their experiences and the factors that effected them … those processes must enhance their ability to predict or influence future events in their favour, thus enabling them to seize the INITIATIVE.” The ability of a team to analyze its own performance and to develop the means to improve must be honed during training.Chapter 7, CFP 300-8, “Training Canada’s Army”Teams don’t automatically possess the skills to analyze their own performance and to improve it. These skills have to be developed. The use of the AAR Process during training not only allows soldiers and teams to gain the most from the training event, it develops and hones their abilities to apply the AAR Process to quickly and consistently learn during operations. Next Slide
15 IN OUR BUSINESS, WE DON’T ALWAYS GET A SECOND CHANCE TO LEARN!!!
16 KEY ELEMENTSTIMELY FEEDBACK. Troops need feedback as soon as possible so that they can begin using that information to begin learning and improving. The more objective and accurate the feedback, the easier it is for them to determine what happened and why it happened (ground truth).Lets now proceed to the key elements of the AAR Process. We will be constantly referring to these elements during this training and you will be expected to relate how you plan, prepare, conduct and follow-up your AAR to them.Do you remember the paragraph in Chapter 7 of CFP which brought up the point of Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. Practice by itself will not make an individual or a team better. Its certainly important, but its not enough. We need feedback so that we can compare what we are doing against what we should be doing. That feedback is also important to help us figure out the cause of our performance. Identifying the cause of our performance is a critical step in developing ways to improve it.Feedback has to be provided soon enough so that we can remember what we did and how we did it.The more timely the feedback and more objective the source, the easier it is to do that comparison and figure out the causes and the means to improve.What are the factors that impact on when and how frequently we provide feedback?What types of feedback can we provide a team to help it learn consistently and quickly?
17 FACTORS EFFECTING TIMELY FEEDBACK Tempo. When is the right time to pause to provide feedback?Source. The more objective the source, the more readily the soldiers and the team will accept the feedback. Potential sources include:Chain of commandObserver/ControllersOPFORWeapons Effects Simulation and audio-visual equipmentBalancing the provision of feedback with the tempo of practice requires a lot of thought and experience.
18 FACTORS EFFECTING TIMELY FEEDBACK Opportunity to utilize the feedback to improve. If no time or resources are allocated to make use of the feedback, then it will be wasted.Balancing the provision of feedback with the tempo of practice requires a lot of thought and experience.
19 KEY ELEMENTSACTIVE PARTICIPATION. People learn more quickly when they are actively involved in identifying their own problems and developing their own solutions. In order for active participation to occur, time must be available and the participation must be encouraged.An atmosphere must exist within the team that encourages active participation. If team members believe that their input is not welcome, will not be acted upon or that “disagreement equals disloyalty,” then it will be difficult to generate active participation.This is the key element that distinguishes the AAR from the critique. The AAR seeks to have the team members identify or discover for themselves what needs to be sustained and improved and the best means to do so. By facilitating active participation during the AAR, the O/C is able to teach, coach and mentor in a manner which encourages the team to develop its own solutions.What can O/C do to encourage participation from the whole team in the process?
20 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE ACTIVE PARTICIPATION Make sure there is lots of time for discussionInclude as many members from the team in the AAR as possible.Ask open ended questionsShare the discussion timeLet the team do the talking. If the Observer/Controller is talking more than the team members, its probably a critique, not an AAR!
21 KEY ELEMENTS cont’dFOCUSSED DISCUSSION. The discussion must be focussed on what happened, why it happened and how to improve. The AAR must focus on solutions, not just problems. Improvements must be based on doctrine.This is what distinguishes the AAR from a Hot Wash-up. The participants are expected to not only identify what happened, but the causes. That means taking the time to “drill down” into the subject to identify underlying causes at various levels. Rather than just saying, “2 Platoon went left rather than right, and don’t do it again,” the team attempts to identify why? Refer to Page 11 AAR Dispatches.
22 WAYS TO FOCUS THE DISCUSSION Avoid using the question “So, how did you think that went?” Use a key event and look at what happened, why it happened and how to improveOrient the discussion to their application of doctrine to the tactical situationKeep the discussion focused on the team’s performance, not that of othersHow can we focus a discussion? Do we start off asking “What did you think of that?” Will that result in a focussed discussion?
23 KEY ELEMENTSFOLLOW-UP. The participants must be provided with the opportunity to put the solutions that they have developed into practice so they can demonstrate to themselves and their chain of command that they have learned and improved. This builds confidence and team cohesion.Follow-up is where Talk gets converted into Action. The allocation of time and resources to collect observations, provide feedback and to discuss that feedback will be be wasted if effective follow-up is not conducted in order to “close the loop.” Its through follow-up that we demonstrate our professionalism and we actually do TRAIN FOR SUCCESS.
24 THE AAR AND CONFIRMATION?? The AAR and confirmation are EXCLUSIVE activities.Active participation will not occur if the participants feel that their remarks will be used against them or their leaders.If the intent is to learn from a confirmation event as well as to assign a grade or mark, the grade or mark will be assigned prior to the start of the AAR.Lets talk about the relationship of the AAR and confirmation.What are the characteristics of confirmation that would make it difficult to conduct an AAR in support of such an activity?Confirmation focuses on assessing performance against a standard. Therefore there is a PASS / FAIL element to it. Will the team members actively participate if they think that their observations about their performance, particularly those elements which require improvement, will be held against them and could result in the assignment of a failing or lower grade?Does this mean we can’t employ the AAR Process to gain some learning from a confirmation event? We can but we must follow the indicated approach.
25 ConfirmationWhat is an AAR?What are the major elements?What are the four steps?
26 THE AFTER ACTION REVIEW PROCESS Its about quick and consistent learning, both during training and operations.We use it during training to learn the most from the event.By using the process consistently, particularly during training, we develop the skills to use it during operations.We can use it during operations to learn quickly and consistently and to help seize the initiative.