With our partners in the US Air Force Research Lab, US Air Combat Command and Aptima, Inc. we developed and continue to apply an innovative process called “Mission Essential Competencies“(MECSTM) for identifying the competencies needed in combat situations. MECS data have been used to guide training decisions up to the highest levels of the US military and have been successfully employed by military units in the UK and Sweden.
Each MEC project begins with facilitated workshops that actively involve deep job experts (e.g., fighter pilots). We then capture survey data from a broad range of job incumbents. Finally, it culminates in a facilitated session where decision makers use the results of the MEC analysis to make informed decisions such as where to provide training (e.g., live vs. simulators), how often to provide training, and what to include in the training. The MECS have been very well received by the warfighters because their input is highly valued and respected; by the decision makers because it provides them with authoritative data; and by the scientific community because it is a valid, innovative approach to competency assessment. In fact, SIOP recognized the MECS team with the prestigious M. Scott Myers Award for applied research.