Planning with little to go on
Very little information is available to the inspection team at the launch of an OSI, so how do they produce an initial inspection plan?
The initial inspection plan (IIP) is developed by the inspection team with the assistance of the Operations Support Centre during the launch phase of the inspection prior to mobilisation into the country.
The draft OSI Operational Manual states that:
“To the extent possible the plan identifies primary search areas in the IA which will be an initial focus for the IT, and indicates the techniques to be applied in these. A preliminary schedule for proposed search activities should be included.
“The IIP should focus on the initial period of the inspection. It will address in greatest detail those activities that the IT proposes for the first days of the inspection, including arrangements for the IOF [initial over-flight].”
The information-led search logic methodology is used for the development of the part of the IIP that covers the technical information-gathering activities to be conducted during the first days of the inspection.
Following the ITF procedures protects the inspectors from taking decisions that could lead to the inspection failing to meet its objectives
Bias can appear from the very beginning of the inspection, so the inspectors need to follow the procedures carefully. The use of the ITF methodology minimises this bias, and allows the team to concentrate on the objective assessment of the information available to them, especially where that information is sparse and/or incomplete. Following the ITF procedures protects the inspectors from taking decisions that could lead to the inspection failing to meet its objectives, perhaps by chasing red herrings, or dismissing areas of the inspection area prematurely.
The information available to the inspectors at the launch of IFE14 is certainly sparse. There is little direct information about the inspection area, and most of the facts (presented to us as real in the game) are measurements made by the International Monitoring System.
As a consequence, our early questions are very open, and general in nature and take the form “why…”, “how…”, “what…”, “What is there?”, “what is the purpose/function of … ?”.
Questions raised by the IT members can be open or closed. “Open questions” are more general in nature and do not presuppose the nature of the answer, whereas “closed questions” seek specific information as an answer. Open questions will trigger the investigative mind of the team, expand perspective, and are more explorative. Closed questions are more specific and factual, and take the form of: “is there … present?”, “was … recently used?”.
As the inspection progresses, and more information is gathered, more closed questions seeking specific answers will be generated and will focus the attention of the team on the details of particular geographic areas.
these questions now stay with us, defining our inspection activities until they are satisfied by unambiguous answers
The questions we generated in the launch phase in Step 1 of the ITF methodology, set us on a successful path through Step 2 (mission proposals), Step 3 (prioritisation of missions), and Step 4 (allocation or personnel and resources). Crucially, these questions now stay with us, defining our inspection activities until they are satisfied by unambiguous answers.The framework of the ITF allowed us to develop an inspection plan even though we were dealing with very sparse starting information.