Thursday, April 14, 2005

Here's to education & the military

A week or two ago, I sat down with RDML Pearson to talk about leadership. In the course of our conversation (which at some point in the next week or two will end up as a paper which I'll post on A Place for My Papers), the Admiral mentioned he thought the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security needed a staff college or homeland security college to provide graduate education to Coast Guard military personnel and civilians and to DHS employees. He sees the value of education.

And then today I found this OpEd piece by Harlan Ullman drifting in the net.
For all of the Bush administration's determined efforts to "transform" the American military for the new century, one crucial ingredient has so far been deferred. That is education. But without exploiting the extraordinary educational assets at the Pentagon's disposal, the process of transformation cannot be sustained or kept alive, well and vibrant. The Pentagon leadership has not yet recognized this necessity.
He goes on to say:
A few points regarding education and the Department of Defense must be understood. First, education and "training" are too often mistakenly used interchangeably. You train people to shoot rifles and to drive, ships, tanks and aircraft. You teach and educate people to be leaders, commanders and thinkers. Education is about learning. It must be oriented on what is learned not on courses attended....

Second, across government, the Department of Defense has unique educational capabilities. These extend from sending potential service academy applicants to preparatory schools to the best war colleges in the world. Indeed, a former commandant of the Army War College at Carlisle, Penn., retired Gen. Robert Scales, who hold a doctorate, calls the Naval War College at Newport, R.I., the finest heuristic teaching institution in the world.
And, for anyone keeping track, yes, that would be one of my alma maters.
Third, if the United States is to prevail in the struggle against jihadist extremists and others who use terror as a tool and a tactic to advance their political agendas, far greater knowledge and understanding of different human behavioral patterns, cultures, regions and societies are essential. These cannot be acquired in two- or three-day familiarization courses or part-time. And, as technology, science and knowledge grow exponentially, the military must keep up.
So, there you have it. Let's all go get educated.

Certainly beats shooting cats, don't it?

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