Such a Thing as a Military Problem: Lessons for Modern Warfare from the Origins of PME
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI NEWPORT United States
Pagination or Media Count:
In the wake of the Civil War, both the army and navy grappled with the challenges of professionalization. The Civil War had exposed how difficult it was for amateur soldiers and sailors to wage war effectively, so both services sought to develop more professional peacetime practices. They had to overcome tight budgets and a public exhausted by a horrific war, while simultaneously addressing fundamental questions about the role of the military in the reunited nation. The Army and Navy took notably different approaches to professional military education as they sought to address the specific challenges their respective services were facing. These momentous changes mirror the challenges facing todays force as it transitions away from counterinsurgency operations toward great power competition and consider the role that officer education can and should play in the future. A close examination of the origins of professional military education suggests some lessons for those debates. The army rightly developed curriculum that addressed specific and pressing challenges for the time, while the navys approach to education expanded the model to include strategic and historical considerations that provide a broader framework for addressing unknown challenges. The modern military needs both approaches to be successful in future warfighting and can do so by deliberately thinking about future warfighting and national issues and how best to maximize peacetime years for potential future conflicts, and by understanding the significant role professional military education has played in shaping the minds of future leaders.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics