Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

General Scales roasts PME

Yesterday I was on an FPRI panel discussing PME, or professional military education. Specifically, we discussed Joan Johnson Freese’s critique of the state of PME and her proposed solutions.     But I have to say that retired Maj. Gen. Bob Scales, who holds both a Silver Star from Hamburger Hill and a doctorate in history from ...

Flickr
Flickr
Flickr

Yesterday I was on an FPRI panel discussing PME, or professional military education. Specifically, we discussed Joan Johnson Freese's critique of the state of PME and her proposed solutions.    

But I have to say that retired Maj. Gen. Bob Scales, who holds both a Silver Star from Hamburger Hill and a doctorate in history from Duke, kind of stole the show with his scathing review of the state of military education at the war college level.

Some excerpts from Scales, who also is a former commandant of the Army War College:

Yesterday I was on an FPRI panel discussing PME, or professional military education. Specifically, we discussed Joan Johnson Freese’s critique of the state of PME and her proposed solutions.    

But I have to say that retired Maj. Gen. Bob Scales, who holds both a Silver Star from Hamburger Hill and a doctorate in history from Duke, kind of stole the show with his scathing review of the state of military education at the war college level.

Some excerpts from Scales, who also is a former commandant of the Army War College:

–These days, "the Army War College is a great place for pre-retirement training."

–"The Army War College fell of the cliff when it was subordinated to a trainer" (that is, to the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command, which, he indicated, doesn’t understand education).

–The Army should bring together its history offices, its military research entities, and related offshoots, and put them all under the Army War College commandant, in part so that research and teaching can inform each other. Right now, he said, research and education are "ripped apart."

–For officers, "the object of the PME system is to be selected but don’t go."

Johnson-Freese, for her part, noted that discussions in war college seminars often consist of the uninformed exchanging their ignorance. 

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. Twitter: @tomricks1

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