Critical Thinking and Decision Making in the Military

Monday, 11 July 2016: 15:00
Location: Hörsaal 6D P (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Marinel-Adi MUSTATA, Carol I National Defence University, Romania
Aurelia MUSTATA, Carol I National Defence University, Romania
That the mind has its limitations is no news. However, only after the 1970s topics such as heuristics began to receive thorough scientific scrutiny. One by one disciplines such as Economy, Management or Medicine began to report irrational decision making and behavior in contexts where reason should have been the norm. Debiasing research in the Military is still in its infancy. We were able to identify some studies performed for the U.S. Army but they are just at an informative and descriptive stage. Moreover, we identified some internal manuals (Field Manuals) that identified the need for debiasing, and addressed it a promising fashion as “operations design” – “applying critical and creative thinking to understand, visualize, and describe complex, ill-structured problems and develop approaches to solve them”. However, when analyzing the content of design we found that the problem of critical thinking is treated in a lapidary and vague fashion. As for the Romanian Army, we were not able to find  references to cognitive biases in the manuals and instructions used for planning and conducting military operations, nor in the Doctoral thesis that were defended thus far in Carol I National Defence University. We propose a new approach to debiasing heuristics by means of critical thinking and offer the theoretical and methodological benchmarks for testing the framework (cvasi) experimentally.