The field of study will be a combination of history and operational art. The proposed topic is professional military education at the field-grade level during periods of peace. The training and actions after Armistice and after World War II will serve as case studies to help understand the topic at a deeper level.
After twelve years of conflict and two wars, what reasonable quality of training can the U.S. Army provide to field grade officers? Within this training, what can be identified as considerations for the near and long-term?
Throughout the history of United States warfare, doctrine has served as a platfrom to respond to the military environment and conditions. Military functions are therefore closely related to this environment. Hence, investigations in historical responses can inform the way in which current responses are handled. Training, especially during peace time, is an important component in this.
There are a number of purposes connected to field training during times of peace, especially war is not a planned event. Constant readiness is therefore very important. This is the main reason for which historical investigation is so important. In this connection, the periods between the World Wars, after Word War II, and after Armistice provided the military personnel and their leaders with valuable opportunities to reflect upon their actions during the preceding wars.
The significance for professional military education (PME) is that times of peace can offer training opportunities to help personnel learn from the past. This learning experience can also help them develop strategies and technologies in response to new conflict challenges. When directly applied to the 21st century, one might compare how doctrine changed right after 9/11. The new role of the military in Homeland Security can be related to changes that occurred immediately after Armistice and WWII, which are to be the focus of this investigation. Such an investigation and comparison could shed important light on the way in which personnel are prepared for their duties during times of peace.
It is hypothesized that an investigation of post-Armistice and post-WWII training documentation would provide the investigator with valuable insight into focus points of training during times of peace. This can occur in a number of ways. First, peace would provide time for reflection and learning for military personnel and their trainers. For this purpose, war-time strategies would be used to offer insight into future strategies and challenges.
Such insights into past measures can also offer ways to respond to new, as yet unforeseen, challenges. For today, particularly, the rapid development of technology offers a better platform than ever before for this. The extent to which efforts were made in the past is expected to offer insight into how training might stimulate creativity and effective responses. This extends to the past as well as the present, in which past experience can inform present military training.
It is also true that the reduction of personnel during inter-war periods can also pose a training challenge. It is expected that the documents used for the purposes of research will offer insight into how to handle such challenges. One option is to train the remaining forces to be instructors themselves. In this way, peace-time training is reinforced. Forces that are recruited or reinlisted during war time will then also benefit from responses to past and future military and battle field challenges.
Considerations for the near future would then be to determine what lessons from past conflict experience can be applied in military training today. Challenges and opportunities for learning and reflection can be identified. Training opportunities can respond directly to these. For the long-term, the way in which current practices can influence future warfare can be projected. Personnel creativity and strategy should also receive attention, especially in the use of today's technology to enhance capability and intelligence. Finally, the ability of remaining personnel to act as instructors for future personnel themselves should receive attention.
The main methodology used will be to investigate doctrine created for training situations post-Armistice and post-World War II. Generally, military doctrine is dynamic. Hence, making comparisons between doctrine documents used during different historical periods provides insight into the contrasts that might be expected between war and peace time training. Furthermore, applications can be found to inform today's professional military education. With the help of these documents, training can be effective and valuable from the perspective of military personnel.
In terms of methodology, training literature from the periods in question will be investigated. Because such literature has been both prolific and accessible since at least 1900, little to no difficulty is foreseen in this regard. Training literature from various periods of war and peace during the 20th century will be examined, with particular focus on post-Armistice and post-WWII eras. The main aim will be to compare these with war-time training manuals and to ultimately find effective applications for the situation the Army finds itself in today.
There is are significant contrasts between doctrine documents during war and peace times. One of these is the fact that change occurs much more rapidly during times of conflict, whereas times of peace are marked by reflection and learning. This phenomenon could also significantly be compared to the situation today, in which one might assume rapid modifications in doctrine documents during the first few years of the 21st century, as mentioned above.
In addition to these resources, secondary sources of American military doctrine will be examined for further insight into present and past training methods for military personnel. Books, articles, and the Internet will be consulted in order to provide as wide a scope as possible in terms of relevant information.
On the strength of these investigations, the research will consist of three main components: An investigation of doctrine documents from the post-Armistice and post-WWII period; an application of these to current military training and strategies; and a projection of how insights gained in this way might apply in considerations for the near and long-term.
Milestones have not been specified as yet.
1) Brereton, T.R. Educating the U.S. Army: Arthur L. Wagner and Reform,
1875-1905. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2000.
By focusing on the turn of the previous century, Brereton provides insight into how the past can be used to inform the present. This is especially the case in terms of the military education reform offered by Arthur L. Wagner.
2) Eisner, Marc Allen. From Warfare State to Welfare State: World War I,
Compensatory State Building, and the Limits of Modern Order.
University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2000.
The book argues that World War I was far more transformative than more recent events such as the New Deal. In order to truly find valuable change in both the state and the military, the auhor suggests that warfare rather than political change needs to be at the heart of political investigation.
3)Grotelueschen, Mark Ethan. The AEF Way of War: The American Army and Combat in World War I. NY: Cambridge University Press, 2007.
The value of this book lies in the fact that it describes not only specific battle tactics used by American Expenditary Forces during World War I, but also how doctrine, tactics, and operational methods were adapted. These adaptations made for more effective warfare and offers valuable insight into modifying warfare in response to authentic challenges.
4) Gorman, Paul F. The Secret of Future Victories. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S.
Army Command and General Staff College Press, 1994.
This document focuses on learning from the past in order to create a more effective future in warfare. This is one of the most important lessons that can be learned from the past.
5) Herbert, Paul H. Deciding What Has To Be Done: General William E. DePuy