Jim Mattis, the esteemed retired Marine Corps general and former Secretary of State once said, “The most important six inches on the battlefield is between your ears.” He was referring to the warfighter’s brain, of course, and to the fundamental need for Marines to be “smart” on the battlefield. The recently published Marine Corps Learning Doctrine expanded upon this idea. It states, “Success in warfare depends on Marines developing an intellectual edge to accurately recognize cues, quickly make sense of information, and respond effectively.”

Marines can develop this intellectual edge through historical study and traditional training. Marine are aware of the OODA loop and the concept of “recognition-primed decision-making.” However, the Semper Fit Human Performance Program wants Marines to know that there’s another important factor to consider — cognitive performance. Much like your body needs exercise to stay in top shape, your brain needs exercise, too. Cognitive performance as a part of holistic human performance is all about deliberately challenging your brain to make it stronger and healthier, making you a stronger, more resilient warfighter.

Want to exercise your brain like a pro? The Department of Defense and the popular BrainHQ from Posit Science have teamed up to allow all active duty service members free access to the BrainHQ app. Visit your installation’s MCCS library to find out more and to get your access code. Stay engaged with Semper Fit to get the latest cognitive performance resources.