Volume 65, No. 1 (March 2021)

Learning in the Mud: From Training Individuals to Building an Organization that Learns: The Case for After Action Reviews in Intelligence

by Gregory Sims

Today the United States faces an array of disruptive threats that challenge the Intelligence Community’s ability to protect our nation. Many of these threats are novel and intertwined, and the only way to navigate them is to learn our way through. But for numerous organizations, concepts of learning are heavily weighted toward teaching established skills-
things people already know how to do. The new insights the Community will need to solve the problems we are grappling with in the moment will not come from the classroom; they will be wrung from day-to-day operations. To facilitate this, we need to learn more at the edge. We need to learn in the mud. The following is my thinking about how it can be done in CIA.