Winning in the Cognitive Age: Is Education for Seapower’ enough?
4 Mar 19
Original source – War on the Rocks
Recently, I’ve had several enlightening conversations with career Marine officers about professional learning. In each case, these fellow officers — with something approaching pride in their voices — proclaimed they hadn’t read a new book since graduating Basic School. They had no problem getting promoted or being assigned competitive billets, which kept them on the standard career track for further advancement. Lifelong professional learning, to them, was a distraction from real work.
I can’t blame these officers: They did what the institution valued, and professional learning wasn’t on that list. Yet these comments, combined with my own observations over years of active duty service, reveal a dangerously corrosive cultural attitude toward any “learning” that extends beyond a tactical manual. War on the Rocks’ own series on Educating the Force highlights the stunted and passive creature that the American military’s culture of professional learning has become.
Against this background, the Navy’s newly released Education for Seapower (E4S) report is a welcome sea change. In his memorandum summarizing the key institutional changes the report recommends, Secretary of the Navy Richard Spencer states, “I am convinced, now more than ever before, that the intellectual development of our naval leaders is the most critical warfighting capability for our national security.” In an era of fifth-generation fighters and rail guns, this is a powerful statement, with disruptive implications for the two U.S. naval services. READ MORE.