Get Task & Purpose in your inbox
The Navy Developed A Field Guide For Marines To Boost Their Senses Downrange
The Office of Naval Research has spent the last three years trying to enhance service members’ instincts to help them root out danger when operating in dangerous situations, an effort that has culminated in a fascinating training manual that's almost reads like a guide to clairvoyance downrange, according to The Daily Beast.
The 23-page field manual breaks down training, mental exercises, and methods for enhancing sailor and Marines’ natural instincts. The aim? To train service members on picking up “environmental cues, interpreting their meaning and then connecting them in a plausible story,” according to the manual obtained by The Daily Beast through a Freedom of Information Act request.
While it sounds far-fetched, the Navy thought it was worth spending three years and $4 million to look into it, and really, you can’t blame them. Afterall, who doesn’t like the idea of a point-man who can anticipate danger by reading the scene, responding to nonverbal cues, and generally, just being one bent spoon short of an M4-rocking psychic?
The ONR research focuses on enhancing the inherent intuition that troops already possess: good observation, critical thinking, and honing your instincts so warfighters can react swiftly and reflexively to even the most minor signal of danger. The manual divides sensemaking into two skill trees: “perspective-taking,” which is the ability to empathize, and “characterizing,” which involves using your imagination.
Here’s how it works: A Marine “practicing sensemaking would, through empathy, intuit the relationships and dynamics in the community and environment in which he's operating,” according to The Daily Beast. “Having gathered this raw information, he then imagines stories that, in theory, anticipate threats and opportunities.”
Though it’s certainly easy to sensationalize this research — ‘psychic soldiers’ has a certain, “straight to the tabloid news stand” ring to it — conflating “sensemaking” or intuition with extra-sensory perception isn’t quite accurate.
"I was worried about how this could be viewed in a sensational way with ‘spidey-sense’ or something that sounds like ESP or something paranormal," Gary Klein, a research consultant whose work on sensemaking inspired the Navy to pursue the study, told The Daily Beast."That’s not what the military’s interested in. They’re interested in developing expertise and the core part of expertise is tests, knowledge and the ability to make sense of situations."
This sort of research isn’t particularly new, and it’s certainly not the first time the military has investigated topics or themes that border on the paranormal. In her book “Phenomena: The Secret History of the U.S. Government’s Investigations Into Extrasensory Perception and Psychokinesis,” investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen, chronicled the military’s 40-plus years of psychic research, from Department of Defense studies on ESP to CIA research into “remote viewing” the ability to observe a person or place without actually being there.
Due to the scientific stigma surrounding ESP, (and really anything that has to do with the supernatural), the language the Pentagon uses to describe these programs has changed in recent years, with terms like ESP swapped out for precognition, then spidey sense, and now, sensemaking.
However, Jacobsen argued in a previous interview, that the underlying goal of the research remains the same.
“In essence you have this idea, which really became the core and theme of ‘Phenomena’ which is: Is it fact, or is it fantasy?” Jacobsen told Task & Purpose in June. “Or, will advanced technology, this remarkable system of systems of technology the government has developed — which includes computer technology, biotechnology, and nanotechnology — will this rubric of advanced technology allow us to solve this age old mystery: Whether or not extrasensory perception exists biologically?”
Given the Navy’s research into intuition, maybe now’s finally a good time to say “I’ve got a bad feeling about this one,” downrange.
Editor's Note: This article by Hope Hodge Seck originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.
In the wake of a heartwarming viral video that was featured everywhere from Good Morning America to the Daily Mail comes a disheartening revelation: The 84-year-old self-described Army nurse cranking out push-ups in her crisp Vietnam-era uniform might not be who she said she was.
Maggie DeSanti, allegedly a retired Army lieutenant colonel who rappeled out of helicopters in Vietnam, was captured in a video challenging a TSA agent to a push-up competition ahead of a flight to Washington, D.C., with the Arizona chapter of the organization Honor Flight on Oct. 16. The video soon was everywhere, and many who shared it, including Honor Flight, hailed DeSanti's toughness and spirit.
‘Nice girls don't join the military': New commander of Air Force refueling squadron proves her critics wrong
The summer before sixth grade, Cindy Dawson went to an air show with her father and was enamored by the flight maneuvers the pilots performed.
"I just thought that would be the coolest thing that anybody could ever do," she said, especially having already heard stories about her grandfather flying bombers during World War II with the Army Air Corps.
So by the first day of school, she had already decided what she wanted to be when she grew up.
We salute the 93-year-old WWII veteran who refuses to retire, and opened up a 'boozy bakery' instead
Peach schnapps, sex on the beach, piña colada may be familiar cocktails to anyone who's spent an afternoon (or a whole day) getting plastered on an ocean-side boardwalk, but they're also specialty desserts at Ray's Boozy Cupcakes, Etc, a bakery in Voorhees, New Jersey run by a 93-year-old World War II veteran named Ray Boutwell.
A former senior Coast Guard official has been accused of shoplifting from a Philadelphia sex shop.
Rear Adm. Francis "Stash" Pelkowski (Ret.) was accused of stealing a tester item from Kink Shoppe on Oct. 8, according to an Instagram post by the store that appeared online two days later. In the post, which included apparent security camera footage of the incident, a man can be seen looking at products on a counter before picking up an item and placing it in his pocket before turning and walking away.
The Instagram post identified the man as Pelkowski, and said it wished him "all the best in his retirement, a sincere thank you for your service, and extreme and utter disappointment in his personal morals."
SAN DIEGO —The Marines say changes in the way they train recruits and their notoriously hard-nosed drill instructors have led to fewer incidents of drill instructor misconduct, officials told the Union-Tribune.
Their statement about training followed an Oct. 5 Washington Post report revealing that more than 20 Marines at the San Diego boot camp have been disciplined for misconduct since 2017, including cases of physical attacks and racist and homophobic slurs. The story also was published in the Union-Tribune.