How to Develop Critical Thinking Skills Within the Armys Officer Education System (OES) Earlier in an Officer's Career
AIR WAR COLL MAXWELL AFB AL MAXWELL AFB United States
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Critical thinking skills are required by strategic leaders to solve complex problems in an environment teeming with uncertainty as illustrated in the latest Quadrennial Defense Review QDR. More often than not, strategic leaders do not foster those critical thinking skills until later in their military careers. Past chiefs of staff across the Department of Defense have expressed concern about the abilities of strategic leaders to manage multiple tasks simultaneously while meeting future demands. Often, early in ones career, junior leaders are limited with thinking critically due to their experience level, time span, and tapered curriculum of the Basic Course and Captains Career Course CCC. The curriculum at Command and General Staff Officers Course CGSOC and the War College includes critical thinking. However, it is less than sufficient for collaring the complexity of the full-spectrum operating environment. Attendance at the CGSOC and the various War Colleges is restricted to the top percentage of officers. Thus, the development of critical thinking skills is necessary at the Basic Course and CCC since all officers will attend these schools. Investigation of the phenomenon indicates that the development of critical thinking skills is not a focus at the Basic Course or CCC. As a result, the Army desires to explore how to refine the Officer Education System OES in order to enhance the critical thinking skills of the officer corps much earlier in their careers To answer this question, a qualitative hermeneutic inquiry was conducted that focused on strategies to developimprove critical thinking skills of officers at the Basic Course and CCC. If implemented, the recommendations of this study can have a positive effect on the likelihood of strategic leaders possessing refined critical thinking skills capable of solving complex problems encountered at all levels of war.
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