Space Coast Tactical LLC is a world leader in the field of Operationally Focused Training (OFT) in the firearms industry
What is OFT?
It isn't rocket science. Simply put, OFT is a training methodology that uses real world problems and examples from within the student's industry in order to reinforce learning and provides students with context. This isn’t to say that you cannot bring in information from other industries, you can, you should and we do. Being operationally focused simply means a high percentage of material in the program should be relevant to the student's future operational role. For example, we routinely use problem sets from outside the armed security industry, then relate it to that industry, then take the same concept and introduce it in a context that is found in the industry. If the concept is analytical decision-making, we will walk the students through the model and the theory. Next, we introduce them to a non-industry practical example to reinforce the knowledge gained. Then we have the students run through the model on a specific industry problem set that they could likely encounter (in principle at least) on the job.
Whatever the discipline, to different degrees, all our professional tactical courses have these six elements in common
A Practical Element - Processes, tools, and skills that we want students to retain are explained in detail and frequently practiced during the training. We also coach students through the use of the learned tools and the expected result.
Problem Solving - We focus on tools and models that assist our students in solving real world problems. In conflict zones especially, a vital skill is to able to solve problems and make decisions, some of which are tough ones and can be the difference between living and dying. On deployment is hostile environments, we spend a good majority of the time dealing with situations that are somewhat unfamiliar or less familiar than we originally thought they going to be. It is easy to let time get away from you when faced with a difficult problem. We take time to expose students to tough problems in the classroom. We have them practice solving them using proven models and processes. We teach them how to understand the full scope of the problem and deliver strong recommendations to their team leader or make decisions as opposed to Band-Aid solutions. As Einstein said, “If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions”.
A Relatable Concept - We steer away from the abstract. We work in the professional firearms training industry, so we focus on examples and problems from the professional firearms training industry. Here's an interesting fact; in general, people have a tendency to solve problems related to their own personal past experiences. What this means is that if you throw an industry specific problem at people, they will tend to try and solve it based on their own experience even if their experience doesn’t match. To mitigate this, what we do is provide students with the training, then use a more generic problem set to walk them through the process. Finally, we have them work through an example specific to the industry.
Evaluation or Feedback - Evaluation and/or feedback are highly important to comprehension and adherence to standards. Some industry trainers utilize pass/fail criteria for students. The value in formal assessment is that we can gain some valuable insight into systemic (and personal) issues that arise from those intending to work in HE. Other trainers don’t implement stringent criteria. There really is no right answer; it will vary depending on organization. We believe that both are necessary. At the end of training students are given a formal assessment. Detailed feedback is still given to all students, even those that fail formal assessments. This feedback provides students with an awareness of areas that they can continue to develop and grow.
Knowledgeable and Credible Facilitators - It is essential that the people facilitating the training understand and are familiar with the industry. In order for the training to have a practical element. For example, hostile environment course must have facilitators that have knowledge and real world experience of the operations of PMC's operating in HE. Space Coast Tactical LLC's elite instructors are not theorists, role players, chairborne rangers, keyboard warriors, or airsoft ninjas. All of our instructors have walked the walk and have been in all the situations that are taught on our courses. All are ex-military and/or serving or ex-law enforcement and are experienced in teaching using the OFT method.
Ongoing Mentorship and Support - It is critical to continue to support newly qualified students in their roles by providing mentorship and guidance on an ongoing basis. This is partly achieved by giving students post course access to their instructors. It is also facilitated through our short personalized refresher sessions on critical topics. However, by far the best way for a student to grasp and use the new tools and processes he/she has aquired is for him/her to use them. Equally important is for them to see other experienced personnel using the same tools and processes. We encourage students seeking employment to target companies who have a philosophy of model, coach, require allowing them to integrate and sustain training. Where senior leadership models standards or behaviors, coaches others in how to attain the same standards, and finally requires those same behaviors/standards by holding people to account.
OFT = Operationally Focussed Training
HE = Hostile Environment
PMC = Private Military Contractor