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Military

HISTORY OF THE ARMY'S
LESSONS LEARNED SYSTEM

Foreword
Table of Contents
Introduction to CALL
By the mid-1980s, the Army leadership realized that despite the huge investment in the National Training Center (NTC), there was no method in place to capture the warfighting lessons coming from that training center in the midst of the unforgiving Mojave Desert. Concurrently, the aftermath of Operation URGENT FURY demonstrated that the services, including the U.S. Army, had no system to capture combat lessons.

To fill that void, the Army created the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) in 1985 at Fort Leavenworth, KS. CALL's initial publications focused on successful tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) from the NTC, as CONUS units vigorously trained for this desert combat.

The success in forging the Army heavy forces into an effective combat machine led to the creation of companion Combat Training Centers (CTCs). The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) for light forces at Fort Chaffee, AR (now Fort Polk, LA), the Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC) at Hohenfels, GE, and the Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) at Fort Leavenworth, KS, for division and corps commanders and staffs all came into existence. As the CTC concept grew and evolved, so did the focus of CALL.

Recognizing the need to quickly react in the event of combat, CALL developed a collection process. This process afforded the U.S. Army the opportunity to also collect lessons from anywhere it executes a combat mission. Thus, when Operation JUST CAUSE began in Panama in December, 1989, CALL conducted its first combat collection effort. AR 11-33, Army Lessons Learned Program: System Development and Application, establishes a system for collecting and analyzing field data, and disseminating, integrating, and archiving lessons from Army operations and training events (CTCs).

The system employed by CALL consists of several basic components: PLAN, COLLECT, ANALYZE, PUBLISH, DISTRIBUTE, AND ARCHIVE. Exercising each of these components in a systematic process results in lessons and information that provide an intelligent approach to operations. The test for CALL and the entire lessons learned system is whether it can help soldiers and units perform their mission right the first time, regardless of the mission.

How are Lessons Learned?

At this point, it is very important to understand the definition of a "lesson learned." A lesson learned is validated knowledge and experience derived from obserations and historical study of military training, exercises, and combat operations. Thus, for CALL, the first step is to observe the Army's warfighting to determine what behavior needs to be changed. Ideally, "warfighting" lessons can be learned at one of the CTCs, where mistakes do not result in casualties.

Changes to behavior may result in either stopping something we have been doing, doing something different from before, or doing something new that we have not done before. When the Army conducts any mission, its composite activities constitute behavior. That behavior, however, can be broken down into missions, tasks, and subtasks -- both individual and collective -- just as our training doctrine explains. The concept of changing the Army's behavior sounds formidable. However, viewed in the context of dealing with the smaller, relevant parts, behavioral changes can be made.

Foreword
Table of Contents
Introduction to CALL



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