Best Defense

What our war colleges should do

My friend Richard Kohn, a distinguished historian of the American military, mentioned in a note what he thought the mission of the military’s war colleges should be: Broaden perspective, deepen understanding of war on the policy and strategy level, introduce civil-military relations at the societal and policy-strategy level, teach people how to formulate strategy, and ...

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My friend Richard Kohn, a distinguished historian of the American military, mentioned in a note what he thought the mission of the military’s war colleges should be:

Broaden perspective, deepen understanding of war on the policy and strategy level, introduce civil-military relations at the societal and policy-strategy level, teach people how to formulate strategy, and force a certain rigor of thought, critical reading, and skepticism through an experience of deep research and critical discourse such that when these people have high positions, they are less likely to accept conventional wisdom, clichés, sloppy thinking, superficial research, dumb ideas, and the rest. And to widen their understanding of the contemporary security environment now and likelihoods for the next decade. And make a stab at making up for a poor educational background. And attack reflexive anti-intellectualism. And more and more and more. . . .

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. @tomricks1

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