- By Thomas E. RicksThomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recently, in a note to a reader, I summarized my views of how to reform professional military education. It occurred to me that I might share them here:
- Make admission competitive.
- Make the education as academically rigorous as it was during the interwar period. (And don’t train them. Educate them to think critically.)
- Make everybody write a lot and get graded on their work. As Orwell said, if you aren’t writing clearly, you probably aren’t thinking clearly.
- Post class rankings weekly.
- Fail at least 5 percent of the class, and dismiss from the service anyone caught plagiarizing or otherwise cheating.
- Upon graduation, publicly list graduates in order, and give the top 10 or 25 percent preference in subsequent posts.
Christian CarylChristian Caryl is the author of Strange Rebels: 1979 and the Birth of the 21st Century. A former reporter at Newsweek, he is a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute (which co-publishes Democracy Lab with Foreign Policy) and is a contributing editor at the National Interest. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a regular contributor to the New York Review of Books. | Christian Caryl |