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Draft Notes on the January 1998

Naval Postgraduate School – Office of Naval Research Conference on

Professional Military Education for the 21st Century Warrior

For NPS Presentation at the

Military Education Coordinating Committee (MECC)

Working Group Meeting

14 – 15 April 1998

A. Summary of the desired qualities of the 21st Century Warrior.

  1. Highly competent soldier, sailor, airman, or Marine.
  2. Understands the role of the military in a democratic society.
  3. Possesses high quality of character: moral and ethical strength, devotion to duty and honor, honesty, dedication, and loyalty.
  4. Possesses well-developed leadership and analytical skills.
  5. Capable of integrating and synthesizing broad concepts.
  6. Capable of quickly adapting to and coping with novel situations; surmounts uncertainty, ambiguity, and indeterminacy.
  7. Possesses technological sophistication. Computer literate, familiar with space operations, versed in systems engineering, capable of comprehending the application of existing and emerging technology to warfare, familiar with information processing structures and quantitative assessment techniques and methodology, knows the limitations of technology.
  8. Works comfortably with and knows other service cultures.
  9. Knows the impact of national culture on military operations.
  10. Possesses a cultivated intelligence of both the science and art of war. Topical areas fall on a continuum of influences which include the future national security environment, the status of civil-military relations, the concept of "jointness," the political and historical considerations of war, strategy, operations, and tactics employed, the range of military operations, organizational dynamics, defense financial management, strategic planning, change management, community and media relations, and innovation. 

B. Post -conference general observations by NPS observers.

  1. PME is important to the PME community and should be important to Service senior leadership.
  2. Today’s PME will not cultivate the qualities of mind officers will need to meet the exigencies of 21st century warfare. Action is required.
  3. Although there was general consensus on the range of topics that should comprise PME, there was no consensus regarding the relative weighting of those areas.
  4. There is insufficient time in an officer’s 20 year career to undertake PME to the extent needed to educate the 21st century warrior.
  5. The PME community needs a document that top level policy makers can review to articulate the PME community’s areas of agreement and disagreement and to provide a vision for the future.
  6. Distance learning and web-based, multimedia learning have a necessary and legitimate role to play in PME’s delivery, but time must be allotted to enable officers to take advantage of it.
  7. Although they did not reach consensus, the following issues were raised:
  8. a. Attendance at PME institutions should be more specifically targeted toward the future Service leaders; that is, greater admission selectivity should be considered.

    b. Consider making post-PME billet assignments contingent on academic performance during PME.

    c. Services must improve use of PME educated officers in their fields of expertise.

    d. The PME community must show that it is a budget "player" by making its product more affordable. We must advertise that "We can do it better and cheaper" and have a plan for doing it.

  9. The budget priority assigned to PME is too low.
  10. Congress will compel the Services to address PME if the Services don’t address it on their own accord.


C. Questions.

  1. The entire PME community attended the conference and produced a list of what should and should not constitute PME, but what is the definition of PME and what are the expected outcomes of the PME process?
  2. Are there untoward consequences in the existing personnel system that adversely impact the delivery of PME and the utilization of officers who receive it?
  3. Does the Reserve Component receive the necessary levels of PME and PJE?
  4. Do today’s PME programs have sufficient academic rigor? Should all Service PME institutions undergo accreditation by civilian academic organizations?
  5. Should all officers receive a standard course of instruction in PME or should more stringent selection criteria be applied and the PME pipeline differentiated?
  6. Do the Services give PME sufficient budget priority?
  7. Does existing PME content adequately address the application of technology and is the widening disparity in technological sophistication between the US and our allies being sufficiently considered?
  8. Has the subset of PME issues which are specifically related to the broader topic of officer career development been identified and clearly articulated?