We don't usually associate the US Marines with knowledge management, but this excellent blog from Randy Garsee shows us how important knowledge is to the modern Marine.
Here's a quote he includes. from Michael Crites, who was, at the time, the Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned (MCCLL) Liaison to Multi-National Force – West (MNF-W), the force that was responsible for western Iraq.
“Marines are famous, I think, in strength and physical courage and intellectual ability,” Crites says. “But now I think we’re showing more intellectual prowess overall because of the effort of Marine Corps Center for Lessons Learned.”
The KM system described in the blog is very simple, and easily replicated in an organisational setting.
By accessing MCCLL’s secure web site, Marines make a record of combat-related events by filling out an After Action Report. The information is collected and analyzed. The lessons learned from that particular battle or event are extracted and published once a week. A Marine that comes to war studies Lessons Learned, studies what his predecessor did before him, and so gets ready for deployment.
The results have been impressive.
Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) has resulted in reams of recommendations and life-saving changes. Crites highlights a specific example from Iraq that’s also made its way to Afghanistan. “Improvised Explosive Devices became the weapon of choice of the enemy. We’ve gone through, learned all kinds of lessons and, in fact, transformed our vehicle force since we began in Iraq. The MRAP, [Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle] is created to withstand an explosive device. So that’s something that is continuing to evolve and be used in Afghanistan.”