After Action Review

The After Action Review (AAR) is a structured process of reviewing a project, objective or mission with the goal of identifying what went well and should be maintained going forward, as well as what didn’t go well and should be improved for next time.

As defined in Training Circular (TC) 25-20, A Leader’s Guide to After-Action Reviews, (U.S. Army Combined Arms Center [CAC], 1993), an AAR “… is a professional discussion of an event, focused on performance standards, that enables soldiers to discover for themselves what happened, why it happened, and how to sustain strengths and improve on weaknesses”

AARs should follow a predefined format and are most effective when done regularly. By making small but continuous improvements, as well as by frequently reviewing the effectiveness of these changes, a self-reinforcing feedback loop is created.