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Heroes for a Wicked World: Enders Game as a Case for Fiction in PME

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Technical Report

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Air University Maxwell Air Force Base United States

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According to the current Air Force Doctrine Document on Leadership and Force Development AFDD 1-1, 8 November 2011, telling the Air Force story is an important leadership competency. Additionally, officers are increasingly told to consider the role of strategic narratives in military operations. Unfortunately, Professional Military Education PME has no coherent approach to teaching storytelling skills. This neglect reflects a larger cultural bias against storytelling that has roots in the beginning of Western civilization. Other large organizations and professions, however, have already realized the power of stories and adopted programs that integrate storytelling into leadership and management practices. Stories are especially potent tools for innovation. Thus, when General Kwast charged Air University with producing heroic innovators, the growing body of literature on narratives was a natural starting point to look for a new approach within Air Force PME. Although there are many ways to nurture storytelling skills, the use of fiction is well supported by theoretical and empirical evidence. This thesis examines the use of a science fiction novel, Enders Game, which has content and a structure particularly apt for the challenge of encouraging innovative airmen.

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