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Armor Metrics Draft Final

Armor Metrics Draft Final

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Published by Michael Kim

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Published by: Michael Kim on May 09, 2012
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ARMOR-Metrics:
Applying Lessons from the Statistical Revolution in Sports toBetter Train Soldiers at the Company Level.
By CPT Michael B. Kim and SPC Mark S. RothenmeyerC Co, 1-72 AR
 
 I
n 2003, “Moneyball,” a book by Michael Lewis about Billy Beane and the Oakland
Athletics, hit the top of the New York Times best-seller list.
1
Unable to financially compete withmajor market teams such as the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox, Billy Beane and hisstaff used advanced statistics to increase efficiency in evaluating the effectiveness of players.Their evaluation tools produced results that questioned many of the long held beliefs inprofessional baseball and sparked a statistical revolution that brought modernized and analyticalperformance measures from the periphery to the forefront of every managerial office. Inbaseball,
“SABRmetrics,” defined by founder Bill James as the “search for objective knowledgeabout baseball,” questioned the traditional measures of baseball skill and attempted to create new
methods to better determine the value and efficiency of players.
2
General Managers no longer
assessed players based on “baseball card” statistics such as ba
tting average or RBIs (runs battedin) but statistics such as OPS (on-base plus slugging) and Runs Scored (which differs from RBIs
in that it doesn’t rely on teammates having t
o reach base in order for the hitter to receive credit,hence a much more efficient individual measure).
3
 
Once the territory of “stat geeks” who
resided in the periphery of professional sports, these statisticians have cemented their place inevery major sport and contributed greatly to the success of professional teams.The task then is clear: if statistical analysis is at the cutting edge of industry standards andproven to be a successful evaluation tool in Corporate America, Wall Street, and nowprofessional sports, it is evident that Armor Leaders must assess the lessons learned and seek toapply methods to better train and evaluate their own units. This article serves to argue for theuse of statistical analysis in Armor Companies in order to better assess the proficiency of Soldiers and tailor training according to their weaknesses, provide leaders the tools necessary tobest place and utilize Soldiers throughout their fighting force, and create an environment of competition and esprit-de-corps that drives and motivates Soldiers to become the best at theirgiven positions.
The Tragedy and Opportunity
As the US Army’s only forward deployed committed division, 2
nd
 
Infantry Division’s posture to “fight tonight” has been amplified and reinforced by the recent events on the Korean
Peninsula. On 26 March 2010, the Cheonan, a South Korean Navy ship carrying 104 personnelwas attacked by North Korean weapon systems and
sank off the country’s west coast killing 46
seamen.
4
On 23 November 2010, the bombardment of Yeonpyeong put the 2
nd
Infantry Divisionon its highest alert since the Korean War ended. The artillery engagement between the NorthKorean Military and South Korean forces resulted in two ROK Marine KIA, two civilian deaths,and eighteen individuals wounded.
5
 
 
2
nd
Infantry Division stands to deter North Korean aggression. Should deterrence fail,however, it trains to repel North Korean forces using conventional warfare. As such, greaterfocus is placed on Soldiers, NCOs, and Officers to become tactically and technically proficienton M1 Abrams tanks. The operating environment in the Middle East has shifted the trainingfocus of Armor units to non-conventional and COIN core competencies (and rightly so).However, with the threat on the Korean Peninsula, Armor Units of 2ID have the opportunity toconcentrate on the maneuvering and firing of M1 Abrams tanks.
The Challenge
As Company Commander of C CO, 1-72 AR, the fielding of the M1A2 SEP Tanksprovided a unique opportunity to implement a gunnery training and evaluation system from theground up. I challenged my Master Gunners, Staff Sergeant Zachary Siemers and Staff SergeantDonald Fermaint (who replaced him halfway through this trial) to help me use the lessonslearned from the statistical revolution in sports in order to develop new methods to augment theassessment tools provided in the 1BCT gunnery manual (FM 3-20.21). The OPNET trainingprocess allowed us to create, implement and experiment with new assessment tools that wouldgive us a better evaluation of each tank crew member. Due to the complexity of the task and the
limited time allotted during the OPNET process, assessing “gunners” became the pri
ority of focus. Garnering lessons learned and trends from the statistical revolution in sports, we created
“gunner statistics” to rate and evaluate individual gunners.
The Need
As a Company Commander or Company Master Gunner, many of our assessments of individual Soldiers are subjective. An evaluator is limited in the tools he can use to analyze andassess gunner performance.
We simply assess a gunner’s value based on
previous gunneryscores and subjective assessments. Ask a 1SG or PSG who the top four gunners are in acompany and their answer is 80% subjective. It is not based on any analytic tools or evaluationsbut on instinct or preference. Perhaps they are accurate in their assessment, but that does notexcuse the fact that there is not a systematic and objective approach in evaluating gunners. A
gunner’s previous gunnery score has many additional variables that may not
accurately reflect
the gunner’s
 
current capabilities. How about a company’s 7
th
or 10
th
best gunner? The CompanyCommander and Master Gunner do not currently possess the tools needed to evaluate each of their gunners.

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