Washington, D.C. – Today the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder(D-AR) and Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA), along with Full Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), released the following statement after a subcommittee hearing on the current state of professional military education.
Subcommittee Chairman Vic Snyder (D-AR) opened the hearing by recalling that it has been just over 20 years since the passage of the Goldwater-Nichols Act reformed our military by institutionalizing what we call “jointness.” It is exactly 20 years since the Skelton Panel reviewed Professional Military Education to make sure that the military changed its culture through education to make sure that jointness would “stick.”
“Many of today’s challenges mirror those found by the PME Panel’s investigation in the late 1980s. For example, the caliber of faculty, students, and administrators remains a concern,” remarked House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), who attended the subcommittee hearing. “Successful professional military education demands a rigorous curriculum, taught by outstanding faculty members who are able to train officers to think critically, strategically, and with a sense of history. Congress’ earlier efforts to add rigor to PME resulted in significant improvements, but Congressional interest and oversight will be essential to continued progress.”
Subcommittee Chairman Snyder explained that today’s hearing is the first in a series that will last over the next three to four months, saying: “From time to time we should assess what our professional military schools are meant to do for the nation. We are going to ask if they are doing what the nation needs now and whether they are doing it in the best way….We are going to be asking about the mission focus of each school; whether they pursue their program with rigor; what they are doing to ensure the highest quality staff, faculty, and students; and whether the curricula has the appropriate balance between the enduring elements of what military professionals need to know and what they need to understand about the new challenges facing the nation.”
“Our military officers from the top down are conducting not only joint military operations but interagency and international operations and must be prepared for the real challenges of today,” added Subcommittee Ranking Member Rob Wittman (R-VA). “We must ensure the services are developing a cadre of strategists to navigate the uncertain waters of tomorrow’s world; not just at the current tactical and operational levels. Ultimately, our nation must ensure that our military is developing leaders who will be effective in any situation.”