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Enabling the Commander’s Decision …

Updated: May 16

By Marcus Aupuni

The military intelligence and diplomatic security worlds might seem about as far away from your little office space housing your small business aspirations as you could imagine, but are there any lessons that you could leverage from these two worlds and apply to your own situations within your own business decisions?

That depends on how you plan and make decisions. Within the two worlds of military intelligence (which itself is a broad spectrum) and diplomatic security, decisions matter; because the margins can be very fine. High risk, high stakes and in many cases, a high level of threat. Planning and decision-making are skills within themselves, however the enabling of the planning and decision-making is what adds clarity to these processes.

So, what is enabling the decision process? From a military intelligence perspective, the general purpose of military intelligence (again this is a broad spectrum) is to provide commanders with analysis and predictive assessment to enable them to make carefully considered decisions, decide on their courses of action, and act. A commander is presented with detailed facts, the context of those facts relating to current and historical data, and predictive assessments (graded on a scale of probability). When regarding a commander’s enemy, detailed enemy courses of action are produced to provide the commander with an assessment of what that enemy is capable of given its current situation (known as Most Likely and Most Dangerous Courses of Action) and numerous other factors with the data available. From a diplomatic security standpoint, the focus is on client protection (with an emphasis on client extraction/break contact in hostile situations rather than “stay and fight” in very, very simple terms). So all levels of the diplomatic security operation (including the client/s themselves) need to be informed of the current situation, historical patterns and occurrences, significant dates, local, national and global political tensions as it relates to their area of operations, local, national and strategic actors, local aggressor tactics, local atmospherics, the list goes on; however similar tools are used to help those in charge to make the right decisions.

Now what does this have to do with you, sitting in your office/workshop/warehouse, planning your next big move? That’s simple. If your next big move sees you having to travel abroad to take your business or non-profit operation to the next level, you too can utilize these processes! If you’re the boss, the owner, the founder, the shot-caller … by any other name; you’re the Commander.

The planning involved in travelling abroad on business or organization operations varies depending on the intended destination. But how would you go about planning such a move? What is your threshold for risk? What is the importance of your operation? Do you have the edge over your competitors when it comes to understanding these locations from the ground up and the top down regarding the security, political and economic situations? Was your understanding of a situation at a destination holding you back from making the journey, only to see a competitor find success at that same destination? Enabled decision making is about unearthing the opportunities where others do not see them, understanding the risks to physical safety these destinations present, understanding the drivers behind local tensions or learning that threatening situations in a country are only confined to particular areas allowing you freedom of movement while avoiding those areas. It is about understanding the world you want to step into, and whether you really should take that step; or if you really shouldn’t …

At its core though, enabled decision making is about making a decision using processes to make sense of as many variables as time and space will permit. Time will always be a limiting factor when making critical decisions, so, as the old intelligence adage goes, eighty percent (or insert percentage here …) on time is better than one-hundred percent late. What this means is that the time you have to make a decision will place a constraint on how detailed you can be in your decision-making process, but once the opportunity has passed, no amount of detail will make up for that lost opportunity.

So here you stand, at the edge, looking out into a world full of opportunity and risk in equal measure. Before you decide, you need to enable your decisions. But what kind of decision maker are you? That’s up to you … commander.

If you’re looking to travel for professional purposes, to heed your calling, to make a difference in someone’s life, to make people’s stories heard, whatever the reason, if you’re wanting to travel and require Travel Security and Intelligence Support; email me for a free consultation at:


To get you started on how to understand the situation at any destination, I have a pocket guide that you can download FREE, and it uses intelligence and security processes to be as efficient as possible when it comes to getting your head around a situation anywhere in the world. Not only that, it contains some very handy travel hints and tips! Find the free guide on the home page!

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