One of the great things about facilitating learning sessions is that often times the teacher gets to become the student.
Such was the case a month ago when while talking about After Action Reviews, I had the pleasure of having a former officer of the US Army school me and the rest of the class on the way it is done. He made a few important points:
- There are two type of AARs, formal and informal. The latter are conducted on just about everything including the changing of the toilet paper in the latrine. The former are reserved for the conclusion of a longer engagement or training session.
- At AARs all personnel remove their hats. This signifies that in the AAR there is no rank. Insubordination is not possible.
- While there is no rank, junior ranks are encouraged to speak first. Often times they are the ones who see the problems and therefore possible solutions more clearly.
- Two types of tasks can result from an AAR. The first type is an immediate fix to a current problem; the second is a possible fix to insure the problem does not reoccur.
Finally, as a treat to all you hard core VeraSagers out there, he provided me with TC25-20, the US Army’s field manual for conducting AARs.