First - the good.
In general, the subcommittee, headed by Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Ark., found that the education system is “basically sound” but has much room for improvement.And the bad.
Sending more officers to civilian institutions early in their careers is another recommendation, and the panel suggests having them study something more than just military-related subjects.
One requirement to reach flag and general officer rank is to complete professional training in joint service matters, an outgrowth of the 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act that tried to reduce interservice rivalries.The problem is bracket creep.
Officers are getting the joint-service training, but the curricula and depth of what they learn give the impression that completing coursework is more a matter of fulfilling the requirement for promotion than learning something that would actually help in a future assignment. If anything, professional training for flag and general officers is lacking, the report says.
Fitting professional education into a career is difficult, the report acknowledges, but urges the services to find a way to make time.
“There is a tension between the officer’s assignments necessary for career development, the needs of the joint force, and professional military education, whether it is at a military institution or a civilian institution,” the report says. “Officers are finding it increasingly challenging to complete their required [professional military education], which is only compounded by current operational requirements.”
There is no reason for anyone to go to a War College or do the dorked-up distance learning JPME Phase I prior to CDR Command. As a recividist Staff Weenie at the Major Command Joint Level - I can tell you that some of the worst Staff Officers had JPME I & II complete. Some of the best had zero JPME and/or War College. There is zero connection to performance at the CDR level and below. Zero. Making CDR and below go through those hoops early actually are a drain on our leadership pool
Let the CDR and below maximize doing what they should be doing - leading Sailors at the tactical level. That way, we don't have issues with CDRs in Command who only have the bare minimum - and sometimes below that - level of experience their primary warfare speciality during their CDR Command. People "too busy" as LT, LCDR, and CDRs to fly or drive ships run off runways or run aground in Command and do a pi55-poor job training their junior officers. We have see enough of both in the last couple of years.
Once you are through with CDR Command - then go to War College. No reason to waste those years prior. Also no reason to tell a young officer that even though he is working 60 hr weeks on shore duty, he needs to work on the JPME on a non-residency basis as well.
For those who desire it - yes more PhD programs before CDR Command. That is fine. Better yet - post CDR Command. There is plenty of time for that. What we don't have enough time though is letting the LT - CDR officers lead Sailors at the tactical level at sea and ashore.
Let's go positive again though. I liked this,
• The panel expresses concern that the services are not growing enough strategists. It calls for sending some junior officers to top-tier universities for doctoral studies in history, political science, international relations and economics.Though most of my reasons for leaving Active Duty were personal - on the professional side of the ledger was the absolute horror show that was the Community Detailer shop in Millington.
“All of the services should cultivate strategists to assume positions of senior command authority,” the report says.
The services send people now, but mostly to prepare them to join the faculty at defense or service schools rather than for broader purposes, such as building “a cadre of strategic thinkers for the operating forces and higher-level staffs.”
I'll spare you the details, but it is similar to the issues with the last paragraph in the above quote.