A training program born out of tragedy

The shooting down of Iran Air Flight IR 655

On July 3rd 1987, a Sunday morning, the Captain of US Navy warship the USS Vincennes ordered the launch of two missiles to shoot down an aircraft fast approaching his ship. He did so following an assessment by the Anti Air Warfare (AAW) Team within his Combat Information Centre that the Vincennes was seconds away from coming under attack.

The aircraft was in fact an Iran Air civilian airliner Flight IR 655 making its regular scheduled run across the Persian Gulf to Dubai. 297 civilians died instantly when the missiles found their target, including 60 children

How could this happen?

A US Navy investigation later exonerated the Captain who had merely acted on the basis of the information provided to him. This meant an explanation could only be found in the workings of the AAW Team. Why did they misread the situation so badly? Why did team members not pick up on each other’s errors? Why had the team not performed as expected?

‘Tactical Decision Making Under Stress’ Research

In response, the US Navy launched the ‘Tactical Decision Making Under Stress’ (TADMUS) research effort, whose goal was to identify the key dimensions of team performance in complex, fast-moving, and high stress situations.

This research is foundation of T3

The TADMUS research forms the foundation for the T3 Program, which can be applied by any team facing similar challenges.

T3 builds the Team Processes that mark out high performing teams, no matter what the task. It does so using specially designed exercise formats for outdoor laser tag, combat simulation, that bring out each dimension in turn. Once developed, T3 teams are able to apply these same qualities to their own context, within the workplace, on the sports field, or across the battlespace.

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