The National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C., is the apex of the American system of military Professional Military Education (PME) Schools. The War College has trained such leading foreign policy specialists as former National Security Director Brent Scowcroft, former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and current National Security Director James Jones. Yet, despite its prestige, not all is right at the College. There is a festering conflict between the military brass who run the school and the civilian academics who teach there. The curriculum is outdated, the courses are old-fashioned, and the college failed completely to prepare a new generation of military leaders for guerilla terrorism, a-symmetrical warfare of the kind we are now facing in Iraq and Afghanistan, and democracy-promotion and national building. In Military Brass vs. Civilian Academics at the National War College: A Clash of Cultures, Howard J. Wiarda uses his first-hand experience to examine the conflict between the two cultures, military and civilian, that coexist uneasily at the College. He also explores the issues-tenure, academic freedom, research, teaching-that divide them. While this study focuses on the National War College, what Wiarda has to say about the tensions and "clash of culture" applies to all PME schools.
Publisher: Lexington Books
Number of pages: 176
Weight: 440 g
Dimensions: 241 x 162 x 19 mm
Based on his personal experience, Wiarda provides a candid and critical analysis of the military-civilian academic cultural divide at NWC, the failure of the military to assign officers with requisite academic qualifications and dispositions to leadership positions at NWC and the National Defense University, and the adverse consequences of this failure on the open exchange of ideas and critical thinking required for future military and civilian leaders. The reforms that Wiarda suggests, notably placing more civilians in key leadership positions and empowering the faculty in decision-making, deserve serious consideration. -- Roy Stafford, former National War College academic dean and professor
Howard Wiarda's book hits home by exposing the problems with higher military education and demonstrates that students, rather than faculty, run the institution. He shows the need for major reforms if US military education hopes to compete with its civilian counterparts. -- Dale R. Herspring, Kansas State University