The strike group knowledge manager faces many challenges to ensure seamless information flow between warfare commanders, strike group units and other organizations critical to operations.
The knowledge manager's role is critical to identifying and ensuring a shared awareness of the Commander's Critical Information Requirements (CCIRs) and decision cycle, the battle rhythm supporting that cycle, and the means for effective information exchange among players.
Several processes and tools can assist, including establishing a Knowledge Management Working Group; assessments such as the "7 Minute Drill" for battle rhythm analysis; developing an information management matrix; and codifying business rules in operational tasking orders (OPTASKs) for standardization.
KM ACROSS THE STRIKE GROUP
The KM Working Group provides a forum for the knowledge manager to coordinate KM and information management initiatives and ensures a common shared awareness of issues and solutions. The KM Working Group operates under a charter that provides a framework for the scope of the group's efforts to improve information exchange of the information resources within the strike group.
Specific KM Working Group activities should include sharing best practices for wider strike group implementation; prioritizing KM and IM initiatives; identifying potential resource shortfalls for successful implementation; recommending changes to improve IM policies and procedures; suggesting standardized processes to capture and codify lessons learned within the strike group; sharing with other Navy and joint organizations; implementing IM/KM training for personnel; standardizing Collaboration at Sea (CAS) Web pages and document management; identifying metrics for baselining and gauging success of KM initiatives; and identifying additional tools required to accomplish KM/IM objectives.
Because KM is essential in all warfare areas and across staff functional areas, I suggest that the group include permanent representation from each of the warfare commanders, every unit in the strike group and special assistants to the commander. Other key stakeholders or change agents can be invited as ad hoc members or to support specific initiatives.
It is important to engage the KM Working Group early in the work-up cycle prior to the first group sail to ensure that participants understand their KM roles and responsibilities and become active proponents of change. Whenever possible, core membership should remain constant throughout workups and the deployment.
Due to the dispersed location of participants, a low bandwidth chat tool is the recommended means to conduct KM Working Group meetings. CAS is recommended for document sharing to improve collaboration between bandwidth disadvantaged platforms.
Personnel selected to represent a warfare area or unit should have a solid understanding of the strike group mission, operational tasking and their area's existing decision-making processes. Members of the Working Group will be instrumental in conducting KM assessments and implementing process changes; they need to be both comfortable and aggressive in eliciting information and proactive in pushing solutions.
Understanding and prioritizing the focus of KM efforts can be a daunting task given the complexity of the strike group decision-making environment. The knowledge manager can help frame the problem by identifying the processes needed to support effective decision making and information exchange by conducting a KM assessment.
KM assessments can identify gaps that require corrective action and are valuable in discovering what assessment respondents consider successful processes that should be continued or replicated in other operations.
The KM assessment can take many forms such as an automated survey tool or personal interview. Interviews oft