The Office of Naval Research created the program in 2014 in response to the observation of field reports from combat theaters such as Iraq, where it was recorded that military personnel had been found to prevent or avert what would have otherwise been disastrous situations, with their actions based solely on intuition. As naval office program manager Commander Joseph Cohn put it, "These reports from the field often detailed a 'sixth sense' or 'Spidey sense' that alerted them to an impending attack or I.E.D., or that allowed them to respond to a novel situation without consciously analyzing the situation."
Having relabeled this form of extrasensory perception as "sensemaking" under the broader Perceptual Training Systems and Tools program, active-duty Marines are taught to develop their intuition and precognitive skills to "preempt snipers, IED emplacers and other irregular assaults [using] advanced perceptual competences that have not been well studied." The concept of sensemaking itself is described in official Defense Department literature as "a motivated continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively."
The U.S. military's interest in extrasensory perception is not new, with development of psychic initiatives such as the Army's StarGate Project remote viewing program starting in the 1970s. While that program was transferred to, terminated and then declassified by the CIA, the reality of the phenomenon of heightened intuition continues to reemerge as a potential battlefield tool.