after-action-review-aar | Psychology & Cognitive Science | Cognition

AFTER-ACTION REVIEW (AAR

)

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After-Action Review
“We must continue to look critically at our abilities to achieve decisive victory and aim to improve. I believe that one of the single most important innovations of the past 20 years...one of the keys to our edge today...is the After-Action Review. At all levels, the AAR provides us an honest appraisal of our performance and directs our efforts to correct shortcomings.”
General Gordon R. Sullivan, CSA ( Ret)
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Terminal Learning Objective
Action : Identify the procedures for planning, preparing, and conducting a After Action Review. (AAR) Conditions : In a classroom environment and access to TC 25-20 Standard : The new OC/T will be able to plan,prepare, and conduct a After Action Review
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Agenda
• • • • • • • • •
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Definition Objective Purpose Key points Guidelines Formal AAR Informal AAR The four phases of an AAR Summary

Definition
• An AAR is a professional discussion of
an event, focused on performance standards, that enables soldiers to discover for themselves What happened, Why it happened and How to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses. • It is a tool leaders and units can use to get maximum benefit from every mission or task.
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Objective
The objective of an AAR is to improve individual and collective task performance by providing immediate feedback about how the training or tasks could have been done better.

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Purpose
• Guide the unit towards achieving training objectives • Identify lessons learned so they can be applied to subsequent training or task performance • Increase confidence in unit leaders • Increase proficiency of all participants

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AAR Key Points
• Involve all participants • Are conducted during or immediately after each event • Focus on intended training objective • Focus on soldier, leader and unit performance
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AAR Key Points (cont)
• Use open-ended questions • Are related to specific standards • Determine strengths and weaknesses • Link performance to subsequent training

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Guidelines
• Maintain order and discipline • Emphasize the goal is to achieve Army standards • Make AARs positive in nature • Avoid--– Lecturing – Critiquing, criticizing or judging performance – Embarrassing soldiers or leaders – Comparing units

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Formal
• • • • • • External OC/Ts Takes more time Complex training aids Scheduled beforehand Conducted when best supported Conducted to gain maximum training benefit • Normally for Platoon-level and above
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Informal
May be conducted by either the internal Chain of Command or external OC/Ts

• Takes less time • Use simple training aids
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• Conducted when needed

Informal (cont)
• Uses standard AAR format • Limited resources • Normally for soldier (leader), crew, squad and platoon-level training • Supports higher-level formal AAR • Held prior to higher-level formal AAR

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Phases of the AAR
• • • • Planning Preparation Conduct Follow-up

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Enabling Learning Objective
• Action : Identify the steps followed during the After Action Review planning phase • Conditions : In a classroom environment and access to TC 25-20 • Standard : Successfully describe the steps followed during the planning phase of the AAR
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Planning
• Establish objectives for the AAR • Select and train qualified OC/Ts • Review the training and evaluation plan, Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP), mission training plans (MTPs) and soldier training publications (STPs) • Determine when AARs will occur and identify participants
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Planning (cont)
•Plan for stop points during exercise •Select potential AAR sites •Select/prepare training aids •Draft/review AAR plan

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AAR Plan
Observer Element Priority Tasks Who Attends When Held Location 1LT Jones 1st PLT Occupy, prepare and defend a BP All 1 hour after change of mission Behind 2d squad GH44319218

Special Requirements LTC Smith will provide closing comments

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Enabling Learning Objective
• Action : Identify the steps followed during the After Action Review preparation phase • Conditions : In a classroom environment and access to TC 25-20 • Standard : Correctly describe the steps followed during the preparation phase of the AAR
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Preparation
• Review training objectives, orders, METL and doctrine • Identify key events OC/Ts are to observe • Observe the training and take notes • Collect observations from other OC/Ts • Begins once mission starts

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AAR Observation Worksheet Example
Training/exercise title: Event: Date/time: Location of observation: Observation (player/trainer action):

Discussion (tied to task standard if possible): Recommendations (indicate how the unit could have executed the task(s) better or describe training the unit will need to improve future performances):

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Preparation (cont)
• Organize observations (Identify key discussion or teaching points) • Gather observations from OPFOR representative • Recon and prepare the selected AAR site • Conduct rehearsals
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SAMPLE AAR SITE SET-UP
• Position all players in the AAR Site – Keep sub-unit integrity – Put leaders in the front – OPFOR on the side • Brief unit on how the AAR will be conducted
R RD AA OA B

OC

/T

OPFOR LDR WATER PT

d 3r

CDR SAND TABLE

1SG
t 1s t Pl

2

nd t Pl

t Pl

TO LANE

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Pl t

M

ap

4t

h

a Bo

rd

Discussion Techniques
• Leading/thought-provoking questions • Have unit members describe what happened in their own words

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• Explore alternative courses of action • Avoid detailed examination of events

Enabling Learning Objective
• Action : Identify the steps followed during the conduct of the AAR • Conditions : In a classroom environment and access to TC 25-20 • Standard : Correctly identify the steps followed during the conduct of the AAR

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Format of the AAR
• Introduction and AAR rules of engagement (ROE) • Review of objectives and intent
– Training objectives – Commander’s mission/intent (what was supposed to happen) – OPFOR commander’s mission/intent – Relevant doctrine, tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs)
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• Summary of recent events (what happened)

Sample AAR ROE
• This is a learning event, not a critique • Everyone should participate • Does not grade success or failure • No EXROE discussion • Be “thick-skinned” • No sleeping, eating, dipping or smoking

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Format of the AAR (cont)
• Discussion of key issues –Chronological order of events –Battlefield operating systems (Co level) –Key events/themes/issues –Plan, Prep and Execute (technique)
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Format of the AAR (cont)
•Discussion of other issues –Soldier/ leader skills

–Tasks to sustain/improve –Fratricide –Others
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Key Leader Assessment
Position CDR 1SG FSO 1st Plt PL 2nd Plt PSG Sustain Improve

Guide comments to your key issues
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Format of the AAR
(cont)

• Discussion of force protection/ safety • Closing comments

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Enabling Learning Objective
• Action : Identify the steps followed during the follow up phase of the After Action Review • Conditions : In a classroom environment and access to TC 25-20 • Standard : Correctly identify the steps followed during the follow up phase of the AAR
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Follow-up
• Identify tasks requiring retraining • Fix the problem - retrain • Revise SOPs, integrate into future training plans • Use to assist in making assessment

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Summary
• Definition, objective and purpose • Participation and key points • Types of AARs • The four phases of the AAR • AAR videotape
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BOTTOM LINE
We are all trainers and the AAR is the primary training tool. Good AARs get results. Focus your AAR on the major issues. Modify your technique based upon the situation and adjust the format to accomplish the mission. Get the unit to admit their shortcomings and work together to develop a solution. As the OC/T, you are providing feedback on the unit’s performance as well as teaching the unit how to conduct their own AARs.
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