Educating America's Military
Routledge – 2013 – 160 pages
Series: Cass Military Studies
This book offers a detailed examination of the professional military education system in the United States, from a critical, insider's perspective.
The mission of America’s war colleges is to educate senior military officers in both the ways of war and the defence of peace. But are these colleges doing the best job possible in carrying out that important mission? Military education faces many demands, including a lack of preparation by the students, uneven quality of the faculty, and confusion over the curriculum. Many officers attend resident programs at the war colleges programs against the career advice of their leadership, despite the fact that they are virtually guaranteed graduation after less than a year of study, while others do their best to avoid it entirely. As the professional military education system has come under increasing scrutiny and criticism, some have even called for closing the war colleges. That answer, however, does not serve the United States well, especially in a complex, globalized environment, where military leaders need the best specialized education to prepare them for their future challenges. This volume examines the system that created and supports the perpetuation of this system, and why it is imperative that it be fixed.
Written by a faculty member at a military college with twenty years' experience of the PME system, this book will of much interest to students of the US Military, US politics and military education in general.
'Educating officers is one of the most important tasks a military can do in peacetime. This book is one of the most important statements on that task in a long time. You may disagree with some of what Johnson-Freese states here, but from now on you can’t be part of the debate about military education unless you have read her book.' --Thomas E. Ricks, author of 'Fiasco'
'Johnson-Freese provides a reflective, insider's view of the continuing tension between training and education at the nation's War Colleges. She delineates the differences between them., and even describes differences between the priorities of leaders at particular Colleges. Emphasizing the need for change, she makes it clear that it will be difficult to overcome inertia, rotating leadership, and practices which do not give sufficient attention to scholarship, particularly in building the curriculum.' -- Judith Hicks Stiehm, Florida International University
'Johnson-Freese is willing to take on the PowerPointed echo chamber of military education and explain how it can be better. Nothing less than the future of military leadership is at stake, and Educating America’s Military delivers candid counsel. It tells the military not what it wants to hear, but what it needs to know.’-- Diane H. Mazur, University of Florida
'This book strongly emphasizes the continued need for study in our war colleges.'-- The Honorable Ike Skelton, former Chairman, House Armed Services Committee
‘This fine little book will be a standard reference on America’s senior service colleges (SSCs) for many years to come.’ – Louis Hicks, Armed Forces & Society, Vol. 40(4), 2014
Preface 1. Why War Colleges? 2. Warriors & Scholars 3. The Students: Too Valuable to Fail 4. Faculty: But Not Necessarily in a Collegial Sense 5. The Curriculum: Moving Toward Intellectual Agility 6. Recommendations & Conclusion
Joan Johnson-Freese is Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. She served as department chair from 2002–10, and has taught in professional military education programs since 1993. She is also the author of several books on space security.