Military education and the study of War

  • Jeffrey Grey Horner Chair of Military Theory, USMC, Quantico& School of History. Australian Defence Force Academy
Keywords: 'the neglect of the lessons of the past', 'progressive co-ordinated history program', American failure in Vietnam placed renewed emphasis on notions of military professionalism

Abstract

The education of officers has attracted considerable attention in recent times, especially as Western armies have moved inexorably towards the all-volunteer military as the basis of their organisations. American failure in Vietnam placed renewed emphasis on notions of military professionalism, and at the same time drew attention to the decline in the serious study of war within the US armed forces. As part of this renewed attention to war and its nature, the forces directed their gaze once again to history and to military history in particular. The argument advanced was that the US Army's higher schooling system had turned away from the study of history in the course of the 1950s, such that in the 1960s the Army had consequently paid the price for 'the neglect of the lessons of the past'. The Army's Ad Hoc Committee on the Need for the Study of Military History found in 1971 that less attention was paid to military history in the service schools than at any time since before the Second World War. The introduction of a 'progressive co-ordinated history program' at all levels of the Army educational system which it recommended was designed to return the Army to its 'traditional reliance upon the experience of history' while restoring the spirit of professionalism and sense of mission which Vietnam had eroded so badly.
Published
2012-02-08
How to Cite
Grey, J. (2012). Military education and the study of War. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 30(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/30-1-163
Section
Turner Lecture