Innovative use of Disciple in the "Case Studies in Center of Gravity Analysis" course at the US Army War College

    We have worked with Prof. Jerome Comello and with other subject matter experts from the US Army War College to develop a Disciple agent that incorporates some of their expertise in Center of Gravity Analysis.  A personal copy of this agent was then used by the students in the Center of Gravity Analysis course, to help them learn about COG analysis and to develop a report containing a COG analysis of a given war scenario.


    The Disciple agent guides the student to identify, study, and describe the relevant aspects of the opposing forces in a particular war scenario.  Then Disciple identifies and tests the strategic center of gravity candidates and generates a draft analysis report, which the student finalizes. The student must examine Disciple’s reasoning, correct or complete it, or even reject it and provide an alternative line of reasoning.  This approach is beneficial for several reasons:  First, the given agent generates its proposed solutions by applying general reasoning rules and heuristics learned previously from the course’s instructor, to a new scenario described by the student.  Second, COG analysis is influenced by personal experiences and subjective judgments, and the student (who has unique military experience and biases) may have a different interpretation of certain facts.

    Successive versions of Disciple were used in all the four sessions of the COG course taught in AY 2000-2001 and AY 2001-2002. At the end of each course the students completed detailed evaluation forms about Disciple and its modules, addressing a wide range of issues, ranging from judging its usefulness in achieving course’s objectives, to judging its methodological approach to problem solving, and to judging the ease of use and other aspects of various modules. The following graphs present some of the general assessments of the COG students from the Winter 2002 session. They are representative of the assessments done in the other sessions of the COG course.