The Pentagon should create a new school for officers, a military "Oxford" emphasizing strategic issues, and should also improve joint service education, a House Armed Services Committee panel recommended Friday.
Rep. Ike Skelton, D-Mo., chairman of the panel on professional military education, said a new National Center for Strategic Studies added to the existing structure of military colleges could return the officer corps to the high educational standards that prevailed before World War II."Since World War II, we've seen a shift in all four services from military skills to management skills," said Skelton, reporting on a year-long investigation of the schooling given military officers during their careers.
Rep. Jack Davis, R-Ill., the senior Republican on the panel, credited Adm. William Crowe, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, with developing the concept of a proposal of a single school emphasizing national security studies.
Skelton's panel visited all five of the intermediate level command and staff colleges, and the five senior schools, also known as war colleges, that make up the military education system.
"What we found is a school system that is basically sound but not up to the standards we should demand from the premier armed forces in the world. Overall, I would give a `B' to our military schools. But I think we can and ought to demand `A' level performance."
He said the panel found gaps in the level of education on strategic issues, in providing an emphasis on `jointness' or the ability of the various services to work together, and found a need to upgrade both the civilian and military faculties at the schools.
Chief among the nine recommendations of the panel was creation of the National Center for Strategic Studies, described by Skelton and Davis as a "military `Oxford'," to educate senior military officers in national security strategy and to become the nation's chief repository of intellectual power in the field.