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Eight FIR Trees of Military Thinking: Lessons of Balaklia, Ukraine.

Oleksiy Fesenko,  March 26, 2017 

The goal of Eight FIR trees of military thinking is in facilitating differentiation and integration processes in the army through the continuous updating the best practices through the comparable processes and fixing and sharing the ideas. The FIR concept consists of three components: Freedom of thought, Intelligence, and Resolution. 

Freedom of Thought to Reassess and Develop the Doctrine.

Determine the problem, gather information, observe and analyze the problem. It requires the freedom of conscience to consider or hold the event concerning the external and internal environment, opinions independent and different from the accepted thinking.

FIR TREE ONE: If the fulfillment of task has bottlenecks gather information, the comparable information can be the most valuable. Example investigation explosion of Ammunition in Ukraine on March 23 in Balaklia is comparable to the similar events as in Svatovo of Lugansk region in 2015, Cherkasskoye in 2015, Krivoy Roh 2014, Guzevitsa 2010, etc.

FIR TREE TWO:  Identify the area of the problem and the segments in which the problem rests.  For example, the most important indicators are who worked, how worked, when worked, what implemented in resolving the old problem.

FIR TREE THREE: Draw the fishbone diagrams and indicate the root causes. Choose the layout with the largest effect. Add the root causes were missing in the previous analyses. For example, high level of intellect of the responsible officer but low level of intelligence.

Intelligence to Connect the Dots Looking Backwards (Steve Jobs).

FIR TREE FOUR: According to the 20/80 rule, the corrective actions will need open expenses for removing the consequences of the incident in Balaklia. Instead, we need maintenance of the training system. For example, developing the new system of ranks based on the intelligent training can prevent the explosions in the future.

FIR TREE FIVE: Ensure that the preventive actions have taken effect to conduct the combat development process permanently. Ensure that the military ammunition depots are safe in the longer future as the "process of analyzing, determining, and prioritizing requirements for doctrine, training, leader development, organizations, Soldier development, and equipment; and executing solutions" have started successfully. (Glossary of Defense Acquisition Acronyms and Terms).


FIR TREE SIX: Ensure the preventive actions started the Army Transformation process integrate into the updated statutes and laws. In other words, no explosions of the military deport again, and the new standards work well.

FIR TREE SEVEN: Establish the points to connect into the future: is the monitoring process to ensure the protocol.

FIR TREE EIGHT: Creation of the history to learn from it.

According to Benjamin Franklin (1722), "Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom & no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech." The eight FIR Trees of military thinking is the part of the process to ensure the further liberties in Ukraine.