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ConflictHow Soldiers Make Impossible Descisions$
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Neil D. Shortland, Laurence J. Alison, and Joseph M. Moran

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190623449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190623449.001.0001

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Situation Awareness

Situation Awareness

(p.53) 4 Situation Awareness

Neil D. Shortland

Laurence J. Alison

Joseph M. Moran

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores the process of sense-making in combat. It presents cases of sense-making from those involved in offensive operations in the field as well as those involved in more remote operations whose sense-making is solely reliant upon small snippets of the scene that they can observe through the technology they have deployed at that time. The chapter discusses the limitations (cognitive and situational) in trying to gain an accurate picture of what is happening on the ground and the implications of this for the ensuing stages of the decision-making process. Special attention is paid to the role of cultural differences and the difficulties in making sense and “storytelling” in environments that have little in common with one’s own. Finally, with reference to a real case of mission planning in Afghanistan, the fine balance between acting too soon and becoming inert is discussed.

Keywords:   situational awareness, sense-making, errors, drones, perception

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