The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
During this episode, US Air Force MAJ Chris Mesnard discusses his Master’s thesis from the US Army Command and General Staff College entitled: Describing and Forecasting Relevant-Actor Attitudes, Actions, and Behaviors via Narrative-Based Decision-Making. Planners at all echelons seek to transition the present state into one more desired and advantageous. This study explores the topic of transitioning to desired future states through the use of measurable story elements which can influence relevant actor attitudes, actions, and behaviors. Story is a well-researched cognitive process with unique elements enabling planners to use story elements as a framework in operational planning and assessment. Additionally, during the discovery phase of this study, the research identified a doctrinal gap in how joint planning doctrine describes the term narrative. The key takeaway from this study is that the mind thematically aligns stories and their elements into narratives, demonstrating a cognitive process that assists in an individual’s understanding of reality and the possible decisions which logically fit into that reality. Using the understanding of stories and their elements, planners can better describe and forecast narrative-based decision-making exhibited through relevant actor attitudes, actions, and behaviors.
Maj Christopher Mesnard received his BA in History in 2010 from The University of Texas at Austin where he also commissioned into the United States Air Force through the university’s Reserve-Officer Training Corps program.
A career public affairs officer, Chris has advised Air Force and Joint Force commanders and their staffs at all levels of command from tactical up through geographic and functional combatant commands. His major milestone experiences include communicating and planning on behalf of the Department of Defense’s nuclear enterprise at both wing and headquarters assignments, multilateral missions on the Korean Peninsula and in Japan, U.S. Southern Command missions in Central America, U.S. Northern Command and multi-agency response to COVID-19 and later vaccine distribution, air refueling and multi-national air operations in U.S. European and Africa Commands, and support to U.S. Transportation Command’s household goods contract renewal.
Chris is a 2015 graduate of George Washington University with a Masters in Strategic Public Relations. He has also attended the NATO Information Operations course at Oberammergau Germany; the Joint Intermediate Public Affairs Course at Fort Meade, MD; and the Joint Enabling Capability Command’s Joint Planner’s Course at Naval Station Norfolk, VA. Currently, Chris is finishing his Masters in Military Art and Science at the U.S. Army’s Command and General Staff College.
Chris has an interest in topics ranging from human cognition and decision making, strategy and plans development, public communication, and the symbiotic civil-military relationship that uniquely strengthens the U.S.
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