Friday, May 11, 2012

Wadded Panties

The morning fishwrapper had an item about the Joint Forces Staff College at Norfolk. I always pay attention to that sort of thing since I had the good fortune to attend the Air Force equivalent, Air Command & Staff College during my active duty days. These are roughly year long schools classed as professional military education which offer courses preparing rising officers for duty at higher levels of responsibility. The material covered is extensive and the schools take great pride in maintaining quality faculty both permanent and visiting adjuncts. In other words they are very good schools.

Take a look at this piece:

Wired Magazine Outraged at Politically Incorrect Thinking

I recall the first day at the school as well as my attendance at the earlier Squadron Officer School. One of the lectures covered the rules of engagement for your tenure within the Air University. The focus was on the concept of "Academic Freedom." Without such a policy the discussion would inevitably be stifled and thinking would be straight-lined into narrow policy boxes.

The principle was that within the confines of the school it was permissible to voice the otherwise unthinkable. You could postulate the outrageous and mount an argument to defend it. Speakers could be welcomed who spoke against the military or established policy. Debate would be fostered which thrived on questioning the status quo. You could say anything in class without fear of repercussions. Immunity was the order of the day.

Tied to that principle was the Las Vegas axiom. What happens in class stays in class. What is said here is for purpose of debate and learning and not for public consumption. Thinking outside of the box will not get you cashiered.

Given those principles, go back to the Wired article and read the overview and caveats which the instructor used to lead into the discussion.

Is there anything wrong with asking students in a military leadership program to ponder such questions?

Not only is there nothing wrong, it is absolutely necessary! Wired needs to butt out of what they don't understand, the Army needs to "Ranger up" with regard to support of educational freedom, and Lt. Col Dooley should be considered for accelerated promotion.


juvat said...

One small quibble, Ed. Unless it has changed, Joint Staff College is a three month school you attend if you have a Joint assignment coming out of the one year Command and Staff College. Other than that, Mrs Lincoln, the play was pretty good.

Tam said...

Wait'll WIRED finds out about our contingency plans to invade Canada...