If you want to build or create something for U.S. Armed Forces, you’ll probably be asked to create some sort of visualization or chart to demonstrate how your product works and addresses an unmet military need.

In a piece published on Medium, writer Paul Ford admits his biggest obsession: trolling the internet for the most esoteric military maps, infographics and statistical charts he can find. Ford’s strategy when it comes to locating these visualizations is pretty straightforward. Typically, he will google a term–“Battlespace Awareness,” for instance–before scrolling through the image search results. While some of resulting hits are relevant, others are slightly less so. But the image results never fail to interest him. What he uncovers is fascinating.

Ford explains that many military charts may seem funny or absurd, especially when they lack context. “Part of what makes military diagrams so fascinating is that they look a lot like the images civilians use to do their regular workaday jobs,” he says. It’s almost too easy to forget, “No matter how abstract they are, these pictures describe systems that the U.S. military uses to make optimal, efficient decisions about killing other humans.”

The following  visualizations showcase the various ways in which humans make sense of military statistics and complex information. These visuals also suggest the intriguing possibility: between the lines of an Excel spreadsheet, lurks creativity, waiting to be unleashed. Here are five infographics which showcase innovative data modeling and also prove how military information, too, can be beautiful.

  1. “Women of War”

    Dave Rocker

    According to this infographic (a collaborative work of GOOD and Column Five Media), divorce rates are higher among female soldiers than they are among their male counterparts. Even scarier is the number of female service members sexually assaulted in 2010 coupled with the number of those who chose to report the assault. [Image via: GOOD.is]

  2.  “A New U.S. Military, by Design”


Vallerio Pellegrini’s artwork shows a possible new structure and reorganization of the U.S. Army, from redistribution of expertise in new military units, to definition of the aspects and equipment to enhance, maintain or reduce. Each section shows a comparison between the current structure and the proposed new one. For this entry, Pellegrini earned recognition from the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards.


  • “United Bases of America”

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    Back in 2011, despite the pending troop withdrawals in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States retained its influence as a global superpower. With this in mind, the National Post’s Richard Johnson uses this infographic to explore the scale of America’s forces. [Image via: Richard Johnson and The National Post]

  • “Pixelating Iraq War Casualties”

  • Dave Rocker

    Canadian graphic designer Kamel Makhloufi created this visualization of Iraq war casualties using pixels to represent deaths. Casualty types are broken down into four different colors: blue represents “friendly,” green denotes “hosts,” orange “civilians” and grey “enemies.” Based upon data released by Wikileaks as reported by the Guardian, the sobering reproduction of the data speaks for itself. [Image via Visual News]

  • “Poppy Field – Visualising War Fatalities

  • PoppyField

    Experience the full scope of this work by visiting: http://www.poppyfield.org/.

    By | 2017-06-19T15:12:26+00:00 March 6th, 2017|Blog, Dave Rocker, Veterans|0 Comments

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    About the Author:

    David L. Rocker brings more than 30 years of executive experience in corporate finance and workflow optimization to his current role as managing partner of the Rocker Group, LLC. Based in Atlanta, Georgia, The Rocker Group is a management consulting firm specializing in analytics, compliance and planning.

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