For many years, the main performance aims in the military were to ensure service members stayed consistent with physical training and past periodic fitness tests. But more recently, the scope of preparing and maintaining what the Department of Defense calls the human weapons system has greatly expanded to encompass more physical factors and also emotional and psychological variables. To explain how technology systems like the Smartabase military Human Performance Optimization (HPO) solution help units solve the data-related problems that various roles face, we created a set of HPO Battle Cards.


What are Battle Cards and Why are They Helpful?

As with other educational resources like the Smartabase HPO Tech Stack 2022 and Human Performance Maturity Model, the HPO Battle Cards were born out of our collaborations with elite sporting and military organizations across the globe. Working alongside organizations such as USSOCOM, U.S. Air Force Air Combat Command, the Naval Health Research Center, CANSOF, the Australian Defence Force, and more, we’ve gained valuable insights into the workflows that help improve service member performance and health, while increasing force readiness and lethality. Battle Cards are widely used in sales and marketing and provide the perfect format to distill the knowledge we’ve gained about the intersection of people, technology, and processes in the military into succinct takeaways for a wide range of use cases.


Simplifying Complex, Holistic Processes

With programs like Preservation of the Force and Family (POTFF) and the Holistic Health and Fitness (H2F) gaining traction, investments in practitioners, facilities, and technology have all increased as armed forces take a whole-person view of service members’ output and wellbeing. This has led to the military maturing in its understanding and application of human performance, and the adoption of systems that can capture, collate, and present service member data to support fast, accurate, and informed decision-making and interventions. But as processes become more sophisticated, they also get more complicated, creating a need for clarity and simplicity around how data analytics can be applied effectively in a military HP setting.  

The HPO Battle Cards provide this, acting as a visual aid that walk you through how to capture data, uncover insights, take actions, and define outcomes in common military use cases. They can be used by human performance leaders to further education and training, integrate new technology, support strategic planning, and demonstrate the value of various initiatives.   


Informing Decisions and Solving Problems: The 4 Stages of the Battle Card Workflows

The HPO Battle Cards cut through complexity to provide a logical, step-by-step approach to data-backed problem solving in the military. Each card includes four stages that performance programs will go through as they plan, deliver, and review each use case. These are:

HPO Battle Cards - Military

Data required is like the list of ingredients for a recipe. It considers which sources will be used to gather all the information needed to better understand the problem.

Insights uncovered is the stage where collected data is aggregated and visualized to create understanding of what’s happening, how it compares to what has gone on before, and when a change is meaningful.

Actions to take occur at the point when the power of data analytics is unleashed and made usable to inform positive changes in service members’ training, preparation, and lifestyle.  

Outcomes to expect are the results that a use case delivers, whether these are tangible and objective key performance indicators (KPIs) like an increased course pass rate or a more subjective improvement such as enhanced wellbeing.


Fostering Collaboration Through Roles and Use Cases

The Battle Cards examine data-driven HPO workflows through the eyes of five different military roles. We include 12 use cases (one, reduce lost duty days, is applicable to two different roles) that encompass talent identification and development, return to duty, injury surveillance and management, and more.

All too often, HP analytics just stays with the performance team, which keeps information siloed and prevents effective intra-department collaboration. We created these Battle Cards to help you engage more effectively with coaches, practitioners, leaders, service members, and other stakeholders so that you can build better buy-in and understanding for your human performance program.   

Here’s the full list of use cases broken down by role:

Service Members

  • Engage Service Members
  • Improve Capabilities & Lethality
  • Self-Select Training Plans
  • Lifecycle Management


Performance Practitioners

  • Impact More Service Members
  • Deliver Timely Feedback


Training and Schoolhouse

  • Improve Training Production
  • Reduce Lost Duty Days
  • Reduce Attrition


Tactical Leaders

  • Target Tactical Deficiencies
  • Reduce Lost Duty Days


Command Team

  • Assess Skills & Qualification Landscape
  • Determine ROI of HP Programs



Using and Improving the HPO Battle Cards

To utilize the HPO Battle Cards effectively, you could start by reading those that pertain to your role or find a specific use case that relates to a current or future phase of your human performance program. We’ve also provided a handy blank template that can be useful if you’re in the middle of strategic planning for an initiative or are planning to adopt a new technology. You can also apply the Battle Cards framework to any workflow you don’t see in the current deck to help walk you and your colleagues through your own problem-solving process, explain what you’re doing and why to service members, or communicate the benefits of your program to the command team. To create your own Battle Card using our template:

  • Define the main problem you’re trying to solve or opportunity you’re trying to exploit. This is the title of your Battle Card.
  • Specify the data you need to collect.
  • Identify the analyses to complete or the insights to uncover.
  • Determine the actions you would take or decisions that would be informed by the data.
  • Define the actions you expect to have. These should clearly tie back to any metrics that you or your group measured against.


As with our HPO Tech Stack 2022, we want the HPO Battle Cards to just be the first version that’s part of an iterative and collaborative process. To help us expand and improve them, we’d appreciate it if you would get involved by submitting any additional use cases you think we’re missing and adding your own unique workflows so your peers can benefit from them. You can do so by emailing us at


Learn more about the HPO military Battle Cards and get your free set here:

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