Monday, February 15, 2010

Metrics 'R Us

Ricks has followed up his posts of Kilcullen's paper on metrics with another voice (Army Reserve Lt. Col. Chad Storlie, author of the forthcoming Combat Leader to Corporate Leader) that does a nice job of advising how best to use metrics (that is, measures of success). 

Read the whole piece, but here are some highlights (things that are likely to be overlooked):

5. Establish a Base Line. Once you have metrics, and a collection plan, then collect for 3-4 weeks. You cannot start to act until your understand the base line of performance.
6. Incorporate Opinion. Metrics systems by themselves can become disconnected from reality when there is no opinion to support them. Use e-mail based surveys of your frontline troops.  If your metrics say the economy is improving and your Marine's opinion does not, then you have a data disconnect.

8. Design Checks to Your Scorecard. Be skeptical. Metrics must be mutually supported by intell, HUMINT, operations reports, population surveys, and soldier opinion. Metrics and Scorecards are Descriptive, Not Predictive.  A formulaic approach driven by metrics will not work in counter insurgency. Security + 2 schools + 1 health clinic does not necessarily equal success.
9. Use the Metrics to Drive Change. The entire use of counterinsurgency metrics is to see where you are, understand the situation better, and then do something. Seldom if ever will the way be clear. You will have to employ pilot projects to test solutions and see if they work before large scale, broad implementation. 
10. What works in one location may not work in another.

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