In the police training world, certain job related skills are vitally important. Simulation scenarios involving inoculations of stress, confusion and chaos are valuable components to prepare officers to win in real street encounters, (expect the unexpected, and adapt). Trained, experienced and enlightened simulation trainers often discover early on that it is difficult to truly surprise in-service officers.
For example, our agency discovered that most efforts of restaging a room between Red-Man simulation scenarios was largely a waste of time. As officers entered, they seemed to make snap assessments of the environment, taking in the most important elements at a glance. Something else was needed to replicate surprise.
Enter United States Air Force Col. John Boyd’s, OODA Loop. He identifies the simple four stages of reaction, Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. This is its simplest, or combat terms. The first stage is visual, but could also be sound, or touch. Orienting is mental, the process of evaluating, for instance, a threat. The third stage is also mental, that of deciding what to do. The last stage is the physical act of initiating motor action. The two middle stages, both MENTAL, are the ones we can most have an effect upon through training. A key prerequisite is creating an unexpected event in the scenario that the student officer must quickly solve. I suggest the term for this unanticipated event is “Rebooting the OODA Loop”. Continue reading