Great article and some thoughts I have been tossing around in my brain-pan for a while. I heavily biased by my experience in aviation, especially the 18 months out of the cockpit had on my tactical abilities. /1
1. Aviation is a skill that diminishes quickly. Tactics are evolving rapidly. I was actually snickering last week reading the newest Topgun tactical recommendations. A threat that everyone was scared of when I was entering the fleet many moons ago is now not even a concern. /2
My primary role as a Commanding Officer of a Strike Fighter Squadron is the tactical execution of the aircrew and aircraft under my charge. I am expected to lead from the front in that role. Time out the cockpit, greatly diminishes that ability. We have data to prove it. /3
2. My other concern is how the tendency for the pendulum to swing the other way. I value education, but it isn't for everyone. When "degrees" become mandatory for advancement, people are not going to be invested and instead go through the motions. /4
The people mentioned in the article by Dr. Joyner I would submit have all been self-motivated learners. General Mattis is lauded for his breadth of knowledge, not the degrees he has. /5
I think the key is to bring the proverbial horse to the water. Smaller focused education to introduce ideas and concepts. Send people in between their duty assignments to a class for a month. This could open the door for them to branch out on their own for self-education. /6
3. I also don't disagree there should be opportunities to pursue a PhD. That is certainly a good thing. Yet another argument for removing the rigidity of year groups in the personnel process. Freeze their career "timing" and they enter back into the system for command. /7
4. It is often cited that Nimitz was ready for the war in the Pacific because of his time at the war college. But he also had operators like Jimmy Thach, whose tactical developments saved countless lives, on the front lines winning the war. /8
Sometimes I feel that "education" is becoming its own buzzword that people believe is the panacea for all that ails us.
I don't need everyone to be a Nimitz but I do need a lot more Thach's. It is a balance of both. /Fin
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