School is Cool
Tip of the hat to Shlok for pointing out this latest missive on the importance of education in national defense:
The most important long-term investment we can make for a strong military is in the health and education of the American people. If we want to ensure that we have a strong, capable fighting force, we need to help America's youth succeed academically, graduate from high school and obey the law.
This is issue was discussed previously in this space:
Fixing our education system may seem like a tangential issue when one considers the serious problems our national security apparatus faces today, but from a strategic perspective this is not something we can ignore for long. Eventually the gray beards that didn't fall under NCLB will be gone and who will mentor and train up the data-regurgitators? Who will explain that reciting the tenants of Realism to a rogue regime or increasingly aggressive near-peer adversary is a recipe for a beat-down? Who will remind future analysts that repeating raw intelligence reporting without some intellectual value-added is actively contributing to the next intelligence failure? The security of our nation depends on a lot of things, but at its core it depends on the intelligence of the people sworn to protect it against her enemies; if those people cannot truly think there is no weapons system in our arsenal that can save us.
Jokes at the expense of Senator Kerry aside, an educated populace is important all-around, not just for the elites in the civilian world, but at the tactical, operational and strategic level as well:
Slots for advanced military and intelligence schools are few and highly competitive. Why? Limiting education perpetuates ignorance. Forge an inter-agency agreement that allows community staff to enroll in each military service's graduate school correspondence program. Take a hint from elite schools like MIT, Harvard and Stanford and offer relevant education via an OpenCourseWare model or podcasts. For a nominal investment the knowledge available to the workforce expands dramatically.