Military missions and Law Enforcement Operations can be very dangerous, extremely demanding and sometimes confusing. Strong leaders understand how external variables, such as fatigue, conflicting priorities and the lack of understanding affect their troops and can lead to mission failure. In order to ensure their mission briefs are clear, concise and easy to understand, they make every effort to replicate what they will see during their missions. Studies have proven that a combination of Visual – Auditory – Kinesthetic, also known as the VAK Model, are the most effective way to connect with your audience and ensure their sensory learning is engaged. Today’s Military and Law Enforcement Leaders understand this concept and make every effort to ensure they incorporate these learning aspects into delivering their Operation Plans (OPPLAN), Operation Orders (OPORD) and Mission Guidance. The easiest way to accomplish this is by creating a three dimensional Terrain Model or Sand Table. A Terrain Model visually represents the terrain that will be traveled, identifies danger areas, obstacles, rivers, hills, and a mockup of the objective area (e.g. Buildings, enemy position, etc) and provides personnel with a prediction of what they will see while conducting a mission. These are mainly used during mission rehearsals when time permits and can be as detailed or simple as necessary.
In order to be able to construct a Terrain Model or Sand Table to represent your upcoming mission or operation, leaders and team members make a Terrain Model Kit (TMK) part of their mission enhancing equipment and pack it with them in their rucksack for deployments, use at professional development schools and in their day-to-day training rituals. A Terrain Model Kit (TMK) can consist of many different items so it is important to understand what is needed at your level to make the most bang for the weight. The only person that can determine that is you.