Journal: Return of the Jedi (or Not)

04 Education, Military
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Full Story Online

Return of the Jedi

BY MAJ. GEN. ROBERT H. SCALES (RET.)

It’s that time again. About once a decade, the military services attempt to reform how they educate officers. This time, the catalyst is a series of Senate and House hearings on how well the services educate officers. The Defense Science Board will begin a study on military education reform soon. The defense intellectual blogosphere is electric with calls for reform. Other creative ideas for reform will follow in the coming days. And all will fail.   . . . . . . .  The Skelton reforms have shown that often legislation is the only sure way to achieve what cultural friction cannot overcome. To be sure, no effort as culturally disruptive as this can be implemented quickly. At least five years would be needed to get it off the ground, and more than a decade would pass before SSP-qualified officers would advance to positions of authority. But if we are to create a body of gifted officers capable of dealing with the complexities of modern warfare, we soon must begin to break the stranglehold of the service personnel systems and offer the proper rewards to those young, talented and ambitious officers who are most gifted in the strategic art. AFJ

Phi Beta Iota: General Scales, whose book Firepower in Limited War remains a standard (our ability to find still outruns our ability to hit), has chosen not to address the reality that even if the military succeeds in creating strategists, in the absence of Whole of Government planning, programming, and budgeting, or a University of the Republic such as we called for in ON INTELLIGENCE: Spies and Secrecy in an Open World (AFCEA, 2000), it will be for naught.  There is no one now serving the President capable of creating a holistic national strategy that eradicates the ten high-level threats by harmoizing the twelve policies and enabling a global multinational information-sharing and decision-support grid.