In the Arena

After Action

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Abu Muquwama, aka Andrew Exum, has a smart post about the rather defensive op-ed piece by CIA Director Leon Panetta earlier this week about the suicide bomber who penetrated Forward Operating Base Chapman at the end of last month.

I’d add this: The system of After Action Reports (AAR) and Lesson Learned has really improved U.S. military performance as the Army and Marines have had to learn how to conduct aymmetrical warfare in the past decade. It has reduced the level of brutality and, indeed, was a key component in the development of the Counterinsurgency doctrine–which places more emphasis on protecting people and discourages indiscriminate violence. There are still screw-ups. The After Action process can be painful, as Muquwama explains…but the military is one of the only outposts of Big Government that actively tries to learn from its mistakes, which should be one of the models for better management of the civilian government that I mentioned in the post below.