Best Defense

Up from the comments: A reader explains how senior officers fit into grand strategy

The reason the military has senior professional military education is, in part, because many rising officers are not broadly educated in history, economics, politics, international relations, and related matters.

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By “Kriegsakademie”
Best Defense department of education

The reason the military has senior professional military education is, in part, because many rising officers are not broadly educated in history, economics, politics, international relations, and related matters.

Senior Foreign Service officers and officers in the Senior Intelligence Service are (in general) far better educated in these matters than the uniformed guys. Remember, as the essay notes, the strategist isn’t required to know how many miles a tank can advance on rocky ground — someone can fill that info in for her/him.

In general, our career diplomats and career intelligence civilians are better prepared for the challenges of strategy than most general officers/flag officers. And, as you know, some of them go to the war colleges and staff colleges. The colonels go to war college not to learn how to DO grand strategy, but to better understand how they FIT into it.

Image credit: U.S. Army Institute of Heraldry/Wikimedia Commons

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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