Best Defense

No, I don’t hate professional military education — I hate lax, low-quality PME

My copy of Strategic Studies Quarterly arrived recently on the bay steamboat George C. Marshall.  When I opened it on the dock, the nearby seals and I were surprised to find at the end a review of my book The Generals, which came out a couple of years ago. The review was laudatory of the ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

My copy of Strategic Studies Quarterly arrived recently on the bay steamboat George C. Marshall.  When I opened it on the dock, the nearby seals and I were surprised to find at the end a review of my book The Generals, which came out a couple of years ago.

The review was laudatory of the book, which is fine by me. But I mention it here because the writer, in an aside, alludes to my alleged “penchant for PME bashing.” So, let me state for the record that I think PME is essential, especially in peacetime. We need more of it, not less, in order to produce the adaptive officers we will need in the future to operate in ambiguous situations on the edge of war, where our adversaries are likely to play. What I am happy to bash is lazy, low-grade, no-major-left-behind PME. That’s just a waste of officers’ time and taxpayers’ money.

If anyone cares, here’s what I think needs to happen with PME.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com.

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