4. Army Research Institute Research Philosophy
U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences's (ARI) basic research program is conducted in support of ARI's applied research program, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, the Training and Doctrine Command, and other agencies. In addition to an intramural program, most of the research efforts are performed by university scholars under contracts or grants. These efforts arise from intensive outreach, interaction, and collaboration with the university scientific community, organizations such as the National Academy of Sciences, historically Black colleges and minority institutions, and individual researchers.
Two main characteristics distinguish ARI's program. First, because ARI's 6.1 program managers are collocated with ARI's applied research scientists, the program is formed, monitored, and transitioned through an interactive process. This interaction helps to make the results of the research more likely to be used. Second, because of the nature of its research domain, ARI's 6.1 program is performed both in the laboratory and in the field. Because the Army is used as a laboratory, the resulting research often produces products not only of conceptual and theoretical importance, but also of immediate practical importance to the Army.
Both major components of the basic research program are responsive to the Army's mid-term needs for new understanding and theory to support training systems research and manpower and personnel research. Lead assignments are established under Reliance and coordinated through the Scientific Planning Group on Cognitive and Neural Sciences. Leader Skills for the 21st Century, Long Term Skill Retention and Transfer, and the Army in American Society are the 6.1 scientific program areas in which ARI seeks fundamental, innovative research from the behavioral and social sciences community.
In training-related 6.1 research, efforts are continuing to better understand the conditions under which individuals learn tasks that are remembered for longer periods of time and to develop strategies to train skills more rapidly. Several factors have already been shown to promote long-term skill retention and more rapid learning. Research is also being conducted to better understand and measure individual spatial abilities. Results from this research directly benefit the more efficient design of curriculum, training courses, and simulators.
ARI's Reliance responsibilities in human resource development, leader development, and related manpower and personnel areas are reflected in its 6.1 research dealing with group and individual performance processes. As the only government agency with a specific research program on leadership, ARI has produced world-class research in this area with surprising findings on the role of leader experience. ARI research on decision making has been revolutionary, and has significantly affected the Army's conceptualization of battle command. Other research addresses issues that arise within the Army that are caused by major societal changes. To more effectively face emerging Army issues, ARI has now initiated research relevant to peace and stability operations.