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ATP 6- 01.1 Knowledge Management

1 May 2024
Dr. Moria Levy
A person in military uniform holding a computer

The ATP 6-01.1 Knowledge Management document is the primary document in the US Army Techniques Publications on Knowledge Management. The March 2024 edition replaces a previous publication published in 2015. It guides commanders and their teams with professional principles, techniques, and responsibilities regarding implementing knowledge management in the various military staff bodies.

This summary is not intended for military personnel; they must read the guideline in all its details and grammar. It is intended for all other practitioners of knowledge management.

It is fascinating to see how knowledge management activities are proposed in such a meta-organization and how each organization can learn according to its specific context and relevance.

An interesting chapter to read deals with knowledge management that promotes cooperation between the US military and related organizations, between security and home security bodies in the US, and between other armies worldwide.


Key topics covered include:

  • Introduction: terms, the essence of knowledge management, and roles

  • Implementation of the knowledge management process in units

  • Needs and solutions in the context of knowledge management in the army

  • Knowledge Management Supporting Activities

  • Maintain an existing knowledge management program


The bottom line is that it is an instructive document. It is impressive how a single document manages to speak both the military and knowledge management languages simultaneously.


Note that this summary includes only the main topics. It does not purport to cover the entire document and its many appendices (models, checklists, designated sub-solutions, etc.).

The document is unclassified, but it requires access permissions and access through someone with permission. It's well worth the effort!


Introduction

Key terms

  • Knowledge: Giving meaning or value to an activity.

  • Latent knowledge is knowledge owned by the individual. It is unique and learned from colleagues' and friends' experiences, training, and networks.

  • Visible knowledge: Knowledge that is officially codified and transmitted, whether digitally or otherwise.

  • Knowledge flow: ease of knowledge movement within and between organizations.

  • Knowledge management: a process that facilitates the flow of knowledge to improve shared understanding, learning, and decision-making.


The essence of knowledge management in the army

  • Knowledge management activities aim to create shared understanding through alignment of bio-people, processes, and tools in organizational structure and culture to expand cooperation and interaction between leaders and leaders.

  • Knowledge management has interfaces with complementary areas that support its implementation, such as change management, cognition, web technologies, etc.

  • The framework of knowledge management activity in the army (separated from information management) combines solutions from the organizational world (organizational science), such as knowledge sharing, knowledge retention, knowledge transfer and systems science, systems thinking, and step-by-step methodologies.

  • Knowledge sharing and learning require creating an environment where people, processes, tools, and organizational aspects are aligned through knowledge management principles.

  • Effective knowledge management is driven by a combination of processes: understanding, sharing, integration, linking, learning, and trust.

  • The primary purpose of knowledge management in the army is to support commanders and teams in implementing Command and Control (C2).


Roles

The officials engaged in knowledge management across the entire army:

General – Commanders, Chief of Staff – Equivalent to a member of management sponsored by private organizations (ML), staff, operations officers, leaders, soldiers, and partners.

Dedicated – Knowledge Management Officer, Knowledge Management Officer, Knowledge Management Task Teams, Knowledge Management Referents, Knowledge Management Units, Digital Coordinator, Content Specialist and more.

The commander appoints knowledge management teams in the units and undergoes central training that prepares them for their roles.

They follow the steps described below in the implementation process chapter and in accordance with the work procedures for knowledge management. They develop a strategy, an action plan, specific procedures, and an operational plan (depending on the unit) for the various units. They are responsible for implementing the plan and promoting it on an ongoing basis.


Implementation of the knowledge management process in units

The knowledge management process is a cyclical process initiated under the guidance of a commander and includes five stages, all affected and affecting organizational performance:

  1. Assessment of the unit's knowledge and knowledge management, possible knowledge management solutions, and prioritization.

    1. Emphases—the assessment described is comprehensive; it refers to the organization, people, processes, tools, and interfaces.

  2. Formulating and designing a knowledge management solution that addresses gaps, formulating accompanying training.

    1. Emphases—multi-stage: starting with a perception and understanding of how to address gaps in all aspects; defining the problem in terms of the organization, people, processes, and its tools; and only then is a knowledge-management-based action plan proposed for a solution.

  3. Development of solutions, including technological solutions, procedures, and business laws.

    Highlights: Prior to actual construction, including inspection to further confirm prioritization, critical information needs, and unit status.

  4. Pilot: Experimentation and testing of the solution at a partial level, including impact on effectiveness and performance.

  5. Full implementation, including military orders and accompanying policy letters; Evaluation of the solution's effectiveness.

    1. Emphases—An important sub-stage of implementation is synchronizing all the relevant parties in the organization to ensure that the solution is implemented as required, at the planned times, and by the original intention.



Commentary:

  • For each stage and sub-stages within it, the document details the inputs, components of activity, and details of implementation methods, as well as expected deliverables.

  • In many cases, several knowledge management solutions will be combined simultaneously. It is necessary to ensure coordination of expectations with the leaders, verification of enabling conditions, and, in addition to the detailed management of each effort, integrated management of progress that indicates the overall picture.


Needs and solutions in the context of knowledge management in the units

Typical gaps in the military relating to knowledge management include:

  1. The need: maintenance and activity according to (KM) procedures.

    1. Solutions: gap dependent- including appointing stakeholders, improving content management, adding/updating procedures, and using supporting digital platforms.

  2. Time management is needed to meet the required work rhythms ("battle rhythm").

    1. Solutions: Adapt general time management methods to the needs and nature of the concrete unit with as much flexibility as possible (army constraints).

  3. The need: efficient and effective management of discussions and work meetings.

    1. Solutions: Ensure that an agenda is followed, preliminary preparation and input are provided, the right people are invited, templates are used, and an executive summary for discussion is previewed to participating leaders.

  4. The need: Existence, maintenance, and effective use of reports as a tool for understanding the current situation, gaps, and progress in knowledge management.

    1. Solutions: Reports should reflect use, understanding, and compliance with census guidelines; use standards, templates, and uniform formats.

  5. The need: the use of technological systems that support knowledge management.

    1. Solutions: Adding dashboards and integrating knowledge into existing operational systems.

  6. The need: Content management, digital and physical.

    1. Solutions: accuracy of content according to relevance; Concern for visibility, accessibility, understanding and reliability, location, language, permission management, versioning, format, use, and disposal.

      The document level includes a digital system, taxonomy, file naming, synonyms, characteristics, and related procedures.


It is proposed that these aspects be examined closely as part of the knowledge management assessment.


Knowledge Management Supporting Activity

Beyond ongoing knowledge management as described above, knowledge management supports three main activities that take place in the army:


Organizational learning

The goal is a learning organization—an organization that is willing to accept risks and learn from failures and successes.

The means (which enable the opportunity for formal and informal learning):

  • An organizational structure that facilitates the flow of knowledge

  • Openness and cooperation

  • Learning culture

  • Standardization

  • Good ideas from anywhere

Infrastructure: strategic vision, assessment, and action plan; Tutorials.


* Note: Examining the level of organizational learning maturity will be part of assessing the state of knowledge management and its gaps.


Knowledge management components that will be part of organizational learning:

  1. Lessons learned and best practices

  2. Knowledge continuity and onboarding books


Cooperation (armies and other bodies)

The U.S. military almost always cooperates in cooperation joint with the government and with other countries.

To support collaborations, enabling tools are required:

  1. Sharing standards

  2. Mutual representatives

  3. Defining information transfer processes that take into account the needs on the one hand, but also the classification of information and limiting those authorized to those who are indeed required by it

  4. Documentation and sharing of information.


* Note: Different bodies usually make a different, if any, distinction between knowledge management and information management. It is necessary to understand the differences to avoid misunderstandings in this regard.


Change management

Considering the need for progress, the army constantly changes, including knowledge management activities that drive many changes. The framework for change management in the army includes three layers:

  1. Direction: Promoting a culture that fosters outstanding leadership and management.

  2. Means:

    1. Communicating a shared vision and organizational strategy

    2. optimization of processes and systems to support change; Update organizational structure.

    3. Making informed decisions that consider resources and risks.

  3. Evaluation of performance and comparison to others (benchmarking).

Joint activity with elements in the army that are partners in the change processes: a strategy management system, centers of excellence, and the center of army lessons learned (CALL).


There are three main concepts of change management in the army:

  1. Army Leading Changes Process

  2. Leading from the Middle

  3. Lean Six Sigma.


When implementing changes, change dynamics that relate to:

  • Culture

  • Leadership and leadership

  • Intergenerational gaps

  • Technology (and technological progress)



Maintain an existing knowledge management program

A significant part of the role of officials in knowledge management is to ensure the continuity of the program and activity over time. This continuity includes three key components:

  1. Maintaining the program and ensuring continuity while benchmarking and assessing its state and the maturity of knowledge management.

    Relies on an Army model based on the APQC maturity model known as the Army Knowledge Management Maturity Model (AKMMM). Includes a dashboard, uniform measurement method, documentation of activities performed (investments) and action plan.

  2. Training and documentation of knowledge management activities.

    The training is provided for all levels of related commanders and soldiers and is carried out in various formats, including dedicated lunches, knowledge coffee, virtual meetings, the military learning system, courses, and more.

  3. Communicating the program and knowledge management activities to stakeholders and motivating people to participate.

    1. Communicating the right messages: success stories, the importance of knowledge management, positive feedback, metrics indicating impact, and spotlight on specific people who contribute to knowledge management.

    2. Channels and communication tools: newsletters, intranet, event notifications, training, emails, and MS Teams.

    3. Communicating the benefits of knowledge management, including productivity, efficiency, and innovation.

    4. Connecting, incentivizing, and motivating strategies; Reward.

    5. Strategies to increase participation in knowledge management include integration into processes, goal setting, job definitions, and inclusion in daily work processes.

    6. Mentoring.

    7. Coping with challenges related to the functionaries, procedures, functional performance versus what is required, knowledge management, and more.


In conclusion, the document proposes additional techniques for fostering and supporting the advancement of knowledge management:

  • Make participation easy

  • Making knowledge management part of ongoing work processes

  • Developing solutions that address continuing critical military challenges

  • Use effective feedback methods


There is certainly a lot to learn from this document; I definitely learned.

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