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West Point’s Modern War Institute: Teaching Data Analysis to US Army Soldiers

West Point’s Modern War Institute: Teaching Data Analysis to US Army Soldiers

At an exercise during the summer of 2023, several units in the US Army Reserve conducted data analysis training using our Russia data, then published an article on what they learned. We excerpt the article here; you can read the full article on West Point’s Modern War Institute (MWI) website.

Strategic documents from both the Department of Defense and intelligence community illustrate the importance of harnessing the value of data. But has it, as the National Defense Strategy describes as the objective, reached the warfighter? The short answer is no. For soldiers, a brief look at the courses available in ATRRS (Army Training Requirements and Resources System) shows little data-specific training. The branch schoolhouses (where soldiers learn how to perform their jobs) are also largely barren. Professional military education (which provides training as people move up the promotion ladder) also offers little on “data-driven technologies and integration of diverse data sources” or how to integrate “data, software, and artificial intelligence efforts” to support the warfighter. Indeed, there is a gap between what strategy calls for and what is actually available to soldiers.

In the absence of training, innovate. During the summer of 2023, the United States Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command conducted its annual Command Post Exercise–Functional (CPX-F) with Army Reserve civil affairs, psychological operations, and information operations units. The exercise offered an opportunity to experiment—can Army units, psychological operations and information operations battalions in this case, train their soldiers to use data in ways envisioned by strategic documents?

Read the rest of the article on MWI’s website.