Military leaders are faced with a dilemma unique among the professions. While doctors get to practice medicine, architects get to design buildings, and educators get to teach students on a daily basis, military professionals spend the vast majority of their careers preparing to do a job they rarely, and in some fortunate cases, never have to actually perform.
This makes the education and training of military leaders that much more important. They need to be ready to perform at their peak from the first moment they are called to do so. Those they lead will pay the price for a lack of preparation.
The services already do a lot to train their people to do their jobs. Almost everyone who has been in the military can, and often does, tell stories of their time spent in the field engaged in training exercises. Not to take anything away from these exercises, but most of them are only useful insofar as they train and refine procedures—they don’t actually test people’s ability to make difficult decisions based on imperfect information.
Bruce Gudmundsson and Don Vandergriff, two leading military historians, talk about how using tactical decision games helps leaders develop the skills they need to deal with uncertain situations and prevail in combat.