Behind every decision, skillset, and action is a human brain. The way in which people think, decide, observe, and act is critical to the success of any organization. Operational tempo can significantly impact the long-term sustainability and resilience of human operators and without the correct tools to assess this impact, it is impossible to devise and implement mitigating strategies. As people struggle from (PTSD, TBIs, high OPTEMPOs, etc.), they seek a reduction in their pain. As time passes and missions continue, internal struggle likely expounds leading to a potentially vicious loop of detrimental coping mechanisms and a gradual ebbing of standards (e.g., moral drift). Crucially, operator drift often occurs without the operator’s conscious awareness. Operator drift can impact mission success and shorten career longevity. The difference between two days or two weeks may be small, but the drift spread out over months, years, and even decades can yield catastrophic results.
Elite Cognition and Human Optimization (ECHO) Program
ECHO provides a solution by first assessing candidates and existing operators. Decision making in high-pressure environments, critical and creative thinking, adaptability, human sensor (i.e. acuity of the eyes and ears), fluid intelligence (i.e., the ability to solve novel and ambiguous problems), situational awareness, and memory skills can all be assessed and improved with ECHO. It is an investment in the human brain as a mission critical capability and exists to increase operator capability, durability and career longevity.
Integrating the sciences of high performance, cognition and neurophysiology, the ECHO program is pioneering the training of the human weapon system within the Department of Defense and inter-agency partners. ECHO focuses on bio and neuro feedback, attention control and observation skills, productivity tools, mental preparation strategies, mental rehearsals, and organized mind principles. Adopted from decades of high-performance research, neuroscience, and best practices in demanding careers, our achievement science and cognitive dominance curriculum is designed to increase operator efficiency, cognitive capability, and overall performance.
ECHO programming has proven its value to operator capability in a multitude of high-pressure dynamic environments where performance lapses can result in mission failure. It reduces operational risk while enabling successful mission execution. ECHO gives operators the ability to discriminate and remember muffled auditory transmission and helps operators identify multiple high value targets enabled by facial recognition and vision memory training. ECHO’s mission-relevant program increases career longevity, develops and maintains adaptive experts, and builds leading cultures.
1. Increasing Career Longevity
ECHO approaches career longevity as an enduring event that starts early in one’s career. ECHO mitigates the onset of burnout in those who have yet to experience it and diligently tackles the burnout and compounding stress that currently exists in the community. Biofeedback gives ECHO the aptitude to measure the operator’s neurophysiological response to their environment. Unique, cutting-edge biodata visualization allows our cognitive experts to extract critical patterns in the operator’s neurophysiology that may undermine their operational capability and/or career longevity. The biodata patterns further inform tailored programming to ensure the operator’s brain is ready for the mission. ECHO provides a sound foundation of practical methods to improve cognition and mitigate decision fatigue through proven lifestyle adjustments that can be implemented within a high OPTEMPO environment. Our team puts their experience in resilience and post-traumatic growth toward combing practical lifestyle habits with resiliency-based skills. ECHO has demonstrated its effectiveness in increasing operators’ career longevity through informing and enabling organizational culture shifts and instilling evidence-based stress tolerance strategies.
2. Developing and Maintaining Adaptive Expertise
ECHO can increase a trainee’s rate of learning and the efficiency and/or effectiveness of current training methodologies. The program creates more adaptive operators by providing techniques that improve learning rate and durability, and help operators transfer their new skills into new and ambiguous environments. We work from the macro down to the micro level, applying and facilitating the employment of adult learning principles in the classroom or deliberate practice techniques to field training. ECHO provides advisory on effective feedback, teaching-in-role, completing effective training evaluations, and calibrating optimal training difficulty through role-playing. Crucially, we also educate and inform command/leadership along with other entities who operate on the periphery of the training course, yet may be responsible for making decisions critical to the course.
ECHO’s innovative biometric monitoring and pattern identification system has been successful in effectively identifying students who are experiencing a significant and detrimental stress response. This critical identification system allows for targeted training and intervention to further enable stress tolerance skills earlier in one’s career.
3. Building Leading Cultures
ECHO also examines cultural practices to assess the true state of organizational values in action. We advise on the current norms that may be undermining long-term organizational effectiveness and operator sustainability. We implement a gap analysis between current and desired culture, and then help to refine and build that desired culture. Our programs have helped organizational influencers shift their ethos from training as an extension of selection to one that invests in developing those already selected. ECHO support’s impact has been proven through mission success and the increased longevity and well-being of seasoned operators.
The ECHO program is pioneering the training of the human weapon system within the national defense and intelligence communities by focusing on cognition and brain function as the cornerstones of mission success.