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Army standardizes ‘thinking outside the box’ procedures

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ARLINGTON, Va. — In an attempt to encourage critical thinking among its ranks, the U.S. Army announced it has standardized all procedures for thinking outside the box, sources confirmed today.

The new Army Doctrinal Publication 9-0: Thinking Outside the Box codifies time-tested methods for thinking unconventionally in “the proper Army fashion,” officials said.

“The goal was to have a single, fixed way of thinking outside the box so we can make sure everyone is doing it right,” said Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley. “Now I’m confident that all of our soldiers will think outside the box in accordance with Army regulations.”

The publication lays out specific steps for achieving proficiency in outside-the-box thinking. Steps range from, the first, “perform thorough military decision-making process (MDMP) to identify who, what, when, where, and why the box is, and establish rules of engagement for thinking outside of said box” to step 14, “submit thinking outside the box proposal to first general officer in chain of command.”

Chapters two through five cover the four methods for thinking outside the box: deliberately while moving, deliberately while at rest, rapidly while moving, and rapidly while at rest.

“It’s important for soldiers to recognize that this is a supplement to, and not a replacement for, other Army publications,” said Lt. Col. Prete Guisler, a co-author of the manual. “Approved thinking outside the box methods can be applied in cold weather environments, staff meetings, or even inside of a box packaging facility.”

Guisler went on to say that the thinking outside the box cycle is designed specifically to mirror and nest with the joint targeting cycle. As such, it must be rigidly adhered to in order to achieve maximum results and accurately assess metrics on whether thinking did or did not occur.

“This manual will really change our thinking on the way we think about thinking outside the box,” said Guisler. “Hooah.”

The Marine Corps also experimented with a similar doctrine, but officials later realized Marines kept eating the box.

Dark Laughter, DirtyDrew Ferrol, and Poet_of_Sport contributed to this report.

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