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Distinguished Seminar:  Thinking Better

Date:April 18, 2016 
Talk Title:Thinking Better
Speaker:Colonel Mary Lou Hall, United States Army War College Fellow in ISP, Dietrich College
Time & Location:12:00pm - 1:00pm
DEC, CIC Building, Pittsburgh


The strategic miscalculation of Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) threat in 2003 provides a staggering example of how even very experienced leaders can be blinded by the foundational psychological effects that give rise to bias.  This historical example further begs the question, ‘Could modern predictive analytics, such as machine learning, close the WMD information gap, if faced today?’ Army leaders want to understand the benefits and limitations of advancements in predictive analytics as well as in behavioral psychology in order to understand the implications for decision-making competence.  U.S. commanders need both a structured approach for decision-making (ways), and the ability to leverage advanced analytical capability (means) in order to achieve operational understanding (ends).  This talk offers a structured approach to decision-making that embeds a methodology for Red Teaming to address foundational behavioral psychology effects.  In addition, I will offer a strategy for deploying tailored technical teams to provide commanders with access to relevant data, resources and skills to perform advanced analytical methods, including machine learning.  It is in applying technological advances in big data to the crucible of ground combat that the Army can fulfill its role for the nation, and maintain competitive advantage.   

Speaker Bio

Colonel Mary Lou Hall is a United States Army War College Fellow in the Institute for Politics and Strategy in the Dietrich College at Carnegie Mellon University.  Most recently, she served as a political-military analyst on the Joint Staff, J-8, in the Studies Analysis and Gaming Division.  A native of Richmond, Virginia, Colonel Hall graduated from West Point in 1992 and has served in a variety of personnel, manpower and operations research assignments in several locations including Fort Lewis, WA, Camp Casey, Republic of South Korea, West Point, NY and Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as on the Army and Joint Staffs in Washington, D.C.  She holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the United States Military Academy and Masters degrees in Engineering Management from Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, WA, and in Operations Analysis from the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA.  Colonel Hall specializes in Operations Research because she is passionate about making better decisions.  Colonel Hall has been married to Colonel Andrew Hall since 1992 and they have two children, Cadet Catherine Hall (USMA ‘19) and Oscar, who is a freshman at Georgetown Preparatory High School.