FM 5-0, Army Planning and Orders Production (2005), Chapter 2 excerpts provides a perspective on problem solving and decision making, including that which is done in groups. A seven-step problem solving model is also described. While this version of FM 5-0 is not current, it provides a detailed explanation of the Army problem solving process. (NOTE: The current Army problem solving model (FM 5-0, C1) has only six steps; the step of specifying a criteria was not included.) The paper “Problem Solving Techniques”, by Robert Harris, discusses the role of assumptions, techniques for approaching a problem, the use of models to include paradigms, role playing, modeling, and getting the most out of criticism and suggestions. The “SS Mayaguez Case Study” paper, written by Dr. Ted Thomas of the CGSC, describes the situation and key events surrounding Cambodia's capture of the US flagged container ship, the SS Mayaguez, in May of 1975 during difficult times in US history. This case study is the basis for ungraded exercises in the C120 module The Army Perspective
A problem is an issue or obstacle that makes it difficult to achieve a desired goal or objective. In a broad sense, a problem exists when an individual becomes aware of a significant difference between what actually is and what is desired. —FM 5-0, C1, 2011, par. 2-16 Problem solving is a systematic way to arrive at the best solution to a problem. It applies at all echelons and includes the steps needed to develop well reasoned, supportable solutions…. Leaders remain as objective as possible when solving problems. The goal is to prepare an unbiased solution or recommendation for the decision maker, based on the facts. —FM 5-0, 2005, par. 2-23 (see assigned reading)
Decision Making—A More Thorough View
The process of sufficiently reducing uncertainty and doubt about alternatives to allow a reasonable choice to be made from among them. This...