The Latest in Military Strategy: Mindfulness by Matt Richtel – New York Times
As commander of the coalition forces in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt juggled ruthless pursuit of enemies and delicate diplomacy with tribal leaders, using a trove of modern weaponry and streams of tech-generated data.
But his best decisions, he said, relied on a tool as ancient as it is powerful. Maj. Gen. Piatt often began daily operations by breathing deliberately, slack-jawed, staring steadily at a palm tree.
Mindfulness — the practice of using breathing techniques, similar to those in meditation, to gain focus and reduce distraction — is inching into the military in the United States and those of a handful of other nations.
This winter, Army infantry soldiers at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii began using mindfulness to improve shooting skills — for instance, focusing on when to pull the trigger amid chaos to avoid unnecessary civilian harm.
The British Royal Navy has given mindfulness training to officers, and military leaders are rolling it out in the Army and Royal Air Force for some officers and enlisted soldiers. The New Zealand Defence Force recently adopted the technique, and military forces of the Netherlands are considering the idea, too…