View Full Version : Naval Academy Mids Get Cultural PME

05-15-2006, 09:00 PM
15 May Baltimore Sun - Mids Examine Cultures (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/politics/bal-te.md.culture15may15,0,6317050.story) by Bradley Olson.

The U.S. Naval Academy has expanded its curriculum to focus on the history, politics and cultural nuances of the hot spots where midshipmen are likely to serve.

The new training, the first of its kind among military academies, aims to give young officers the context they need to avoid decisions that will alienate the people they might be protecting.

This emphasis reflects major policy changes in the Defense Department, which declared in a 2005 report that language and cultural understanding are as important as "critical weapon systems." Over the next five years, the department will spend hundreds of millions of dollars implementing the new policies that are in part a response to the nation's war on terrorism.

"There is a growing consensus in the Department of Defense that beyond war fighting, beyond going out and blowing up things and killing people, ... the military has to start thinking about stability operations - stabilizing an area in order that peaceful solutions, political solutions can be worked out," William Miller, the academy's academic dean and a retired Marine Corps colonel, said in an interview.

"We need to start thinking about preparing our officers to lead in that environment, and that's what we're doing," he said.

The Annapolis military college is beefing up its language programs, hiring instructors in Japanese, Chinese, Arabic and Russian, and sending more than 100 Mids to 13 countries for language immersion and semester exchanges at foreign military academies.