Thursday, January 22, 2015

Syria: Be A Student of Teaching

Reports indicate that the US is sending 1,000 trainers as well as security and logistical support to aid the Syrian rebels against Daesh. (see for instance:, which is also the photo source.) The Pentagon press release can be found at:

According to Admiral Kirby (pictured) the purpose of the training is: “to get them ready to defend their own citizens and communities, to eventually go on the defensive against ISIL inside Syria, and to help them work with political opposition leaders toward a political solution in Syria.”

There were also additional trainers sent to Iraq for training missions as well.

I feel that this would be a perfect opportunity for MISO personnel to function as trainers for basic military skills, not MISO. MISO NCOs in particular are held to a higher standard of performance of these skills than the rank and file and are generally able to relay these skills to others.

By teaching and working with these students I believe that MISO personnel will gain a deeper understanding of how these students think and are motivated. This knowledge would serve them well in future assignments in the Middle East and probably in other areas of the world where student learning style is quite different from the typical “Western” learner.

Reader comments invited.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Surveys and Conflict

The community has always been in a dither about Measures of Effectiveness. Measuring the attitudes of a popular is often difficult under the best of circumstances, in areas of conflict – they’re a real challenge.

The January 6, 2015 edition featured an article: “How to make surveys in war zones better and why this is import” (See: =- which is also the photo source.

I’ve had the opportunity to do surveys in both worlds – military and commercial. My personal experience is they’re never easy. In either case you have to determine who are the right people to survey, then how to reach them. Once you reach them they have to be incented enough to complete the survey in an honest, timely, and accurate manner.

After you get the results back you have to verify that you indeed got to the right people and that they were honest in their reflections.

These steps are often very difficult if not impossible in a military context. If you are trying to gauge the people’s opinion about the troops in their country clearly you can’t use those troops to do the survey.

You also have to be very careful who you contract with to do the survey work because everyone seems to have their own agenda and these personal agendas can pollute the entire data pool.

The article contains some good for thought and is worth a read.

Happy 2015 to one and all.