How U.S. Marines Are Using ‘ESP’ To Weaponize Intuition

The Daily Beast has obtained, via the Freedom of Information Act, the Office of Naval Research’s sensemaking training manual—a how-to guide for extra-sensory perception.


The U.S. Navy’s research arm has developed a training program to help Marines weaponize their intuitions—in essence, pushing young riflemen to trust their guts in order to detect ambushes, spot buried bombs, and know who to trust on chaotic, urban battlefields.

It’s almost, but not quite, a military effort to teach Extra-Sensory Perception, or ESP.

“This is an attempt to improve what regular people already have,” John Alexander, the author of The Warrior’s Edge and an expert in fringe military research, told The Daily Beast.

The Office of Naval Research’s four-year, $4 million “sensemaking” initiative, launched in 2014, “depends on extracting environmental cues, interpreting their meaning and then connecting them in a plausible story.”

The Daily Beast obtained, via the Freedom of Information Act, ONR’s 23-page sensemaking training manual. The manual breaks sensemaking down into two distinct skills: “perspective-taking”—basically empathy—and “characterizing,” or imagination.

A Marine practicing sensemaking would, through empathy, intuit the relationships and dynamics in the community and environment in which he’s operating. Having gathered this raw information, he then imagines stories that, in theory, anticipate threats and opportunities.

To learn perspective taking, the manual tells Marines to picture a typical first day in Afghanistan. An overworked Marine is searching an outpost for his Afghan army contact when he comes across an Afghan officer yelling at some of his own soldiers. (Click to Article)

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