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Thread: Military Affairs Course Syllabus

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    Default Military Affairs Course Syllabus

    I am a sophomore at Tufts University and a member of a student initiative called ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services) aimed at strengthening civil-military relations on campus. In our experience, the Tufts community is woefully uninformed about the role our military plays in international affairs, the force it exerts on domestic politics, and the people that fill its ranks. We feel this is unacceptable in a school with a supposedly prestigious International Relations program, and a stated mission to produce well-rounded students capable of leading our country.

    We are fortunate to have the opportunity to create a student-led class on military affairs--a subject that is rarely addressed at liberal arts universities. Given the breadth of knowledge on this board, we would be grateful to hear any suggestions for books or articles that we could include in the class syllabus. At this stage, we think the best place to start might be general introductions to the U.S. military and its varied roles in foreign policy, its evolution over time, and current and future challenges.

    We are also looking at bringing in guest teachers from Tufts (including the Fletcher School) and the greater Boston area.

    Thanks for taking the time to read through this. We look forward to any suggestions.
    Last edited by Jesse9252; 09-21-2006 at 01:45 AM.

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    Default Robert Kaplan's...

    ... Imperial Grunts.

    While not a favorite of everyone on this board I believe Imperial Grunts provides a solid overview of the global challenges we face and the role of the "soldier-diplomat". Of particular note is how Kaplan describes the cultural divide between our front-line "Imperial Grunts" (most are SNCO/Company and Field Grade with huge civil-military responsibilities) and the policy elites back inside the beltway. He also describes the cultural divide (background and values) between the "Ivy League" elites who shape and run our foreign policy and national security and the military members who are tasked to "make it work".

    All in all - an easy enjoyable read and good overview of the issues...
    Last edited by SWJED; 09-21-2006 at 11:13 AM.

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    I recommend giving the US Army War College's Key Strategic Issues List 2006 a look.
    In today’s dynamic strategic environment, political changes can become challenges very quickly. Any list of key strategic issues must, therefore, include the broadest array of regional and functional concerns. This is a catalogue of significant issues, arranged as potential research topics, of concern to U.S. policymakers. KSIL entries are intended to be general enough for researchers to modify or expand appropriately, and to adapt to a variety of methodologies. While the list of general topics is broad, it is neither comprehensive nor restrictive. Researchers are encouraged to contact any of the SSI points of contact, or those found in the Expanded KSIL, for further information regarding their desired topics. These points of contact are not necessarily subject experts, but can recommend experts or additional sponsors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse9252 View Post
    I am a sophomore at Tufts University and a member of a student initiative called ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services) aimed at strengthening civil-military relations on campus. In our experience, the Tufts community is woefully uninformed about the role our military plays in international affairs, the force it exerts on domestic politics, and the people that fill its ranks. We feel this is unacceptable in a school with a supposedly prestigious International Relations program, and a stated mission to produce well-rounded students capable of leading our country.

    We are fortunate to have the opportunity to create a student-led class on military affairs--a subject that is rarely addressed at liberal arts universities. Given the breadth of knowledge on this board, we would be grateful to hear any suggestions for books or articles that we could include in the class syllabus. At this stage, we think the best place to start might be general introductions to the U.S. military and its varied roles in foreign policy, its evolution over time, and current and future challenges.

    We are also looking at bringing in guest teachers from Tufts (including the Fletcher School) and the greater Boston area.

    Thanks for taking the time to read through this. We look forward to any suggestions.
    This is, sadly, common on most university campuses, including those that claim to have strong military history programs.

    I'll kick this around and see if I can come up with some useful books. Still too early for much rational thought.

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    What exactly is the focus of the syllabus? An understanding of the role of Regional Combatant Commands in foreign policy? Operational art? Civil-military relations? Without a better understanding of your organization's mandate, any suggestions are a shot in the dark.

    Perhaps your members could participate in the first two years of an ROTC course, with no service obligation (I think Tufts is associated with MIT's program). Of course, actually joining the military for a few years might provide some insights as well. I write that last sentence with no malice or sarcasm. If your group's members wish to get involved in national security issue, a knowledge of what it feels like to be a boot brown bar, or even a private in the third rank will go a long way to make them consider the impact of their decisions once they achieve positions where they can influence policy and perhaps commit young men and women to war. Maybe some of your members are vets?
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    I envision the class as "U.S. military 101." The vast majority of Tufts students don't know there are five branches, can't describe the difference between officers and enlisted, or cite anything the military does without mentioning Iraq or Afghanistan. With that in mind, I'm thinking the course should include a basic history of our armed forces, an overview of how the American democratic process works in relation to our military, some eye-opening material on the breadth and scope of U.S. operations around the world (maybe some excerpts from "Imperials Grunts," "The Mission," "The Savage Wars of Peace"), and a look at the GWOT and future challenges.

    Right now ALLIES is very small, and it's all undergraduates. None of us are veterans, although one of our members is in ROTC. We are building a relationship with the veteran community at the Fletcher School (Tufts' grad school of IR) and adding to our already strong relationship with the service academies. Hopefully that will go some way towards correcting for our personal lack of experience.

    Although we will be teaching the class, that is only because we cannot find anyone better qualified. Eventually we hope the course will be adopted by the political science department and taught by a real professor. In no way are we setting ourselves up as experts or authorities; part of the reason we created ALLIES is to educate ourselves as well as our peers. That's certainly the reason why I came here.

    Thanks for the replies, BTW. I was definitely thinking of "Imperial Grunts," or perhaps Kaplan's Atlantic Monthly article for a condensed version of the same material.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse9252 View Post
    ...I envision the class as "U.S. military 101."...
    ...there are five branches...
    ...the difference between officers and enlisted...
    ...anything the military does...
    ...basic history of our armed forces...
    ...an overview of how the American democratic process works in relation to our military...
    ...some eye-opening material on the breadth and scope of U.S. operations around the world ...
    ...a look at the GWOT and future challenges...
    Course Title: U.S. Military 101

    Course Description: A survey course of topics relating to the United States Military, operational capacities, configuration and mission orientation, organizational structure, combat roles and non-combat activities, military career and occupational specialties, political issues and consequences of a military in a democracy.

    Learning Objectives:
    1. The student will discuss and describe the five branches of the United States Military.
    2. The student will discuss the two civilian uniformed services that support the United States Military.
    3. The student will describe the difference between military units within the Department of Defense and civilian units in the Department of Homeland Security.
    4. The student will compare and contrast the missions and operational capabilities of military branches.
    5. The student will evaluate and explain the roles of military units based on capabilities within the “Global War on Terrorism”
    6. The student will define and explain the roles and responsibilities of civilian authorities, officers, non-commissioned officers, and enlisted personnel in the military.
    7. The student will define and explain the rank structure of military units.
    8. The student will discuss the historical growth of the United States military, the timeline, and causation of the implementation of branches of the military.
    9. The student will examine and evaluate the political, technological, and philosophical military issues.
    10. The student will examine and evaluate a variety of current United States military operations and compare those operations to historical events.
    11. The student will examine the current United States military force structure and compare and contrast that structure with other national military structures.
    12. The student will research and examine the breadth and scope of current United States military operations.
    13. The student will discuss and examine current challenges to the United States military and the effects of current political forces on future issues for the military.


    For assessments I'd do a series of minute papers or thought papers.

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    Default DoD 101

    Try this Air War College link - DoD 101 and Other Basics - it is a good start.

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    Default Military Syllabus

    I recommend you talk to BG(R) Russ Howard. He is the head of the Jebsen Center at the Fletcher School and retired last year as the head of the Social Sciences Department at West Point. He is a former Special Forces officer who commanded 1st Special Forces Group, was a China Foreign Area Officer, served in Somalia, Korea, and throughout Asia. He also started the Counterterrorism Center at West Point. He would provide you with some great insights because he is one of the few Soldier-Scholars we have- ask him to come and speak to your group.

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    Your group might benefit from working with the Inter-University Seminar on Armed Forces and Society: http://www.iusafs.org/

    There is also good info in Armed Forces and Society Journal http://select.ingentaconnect.com/###...x/contp1-1.htm

    That link to DoD 101 is a great resource.
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Default Truly Impressed

    Quote Originally Posted by Jesse9252 View Post
    I am a sophomore at Tufts University and a member of a student initiative called ALLIES (The Alliance Linking Leaders in Education and the Services) aimed at strengthening civil-military relations on campus. In our experience, the Tufts community is woefully uninformed about the role our military plays in international affairs, the force it exerts on domestic politics, and the people that fill its ranks. We feel this is unacceptable in a school with a supposedly prestigious International Relations program, and a stated mission to produce well-rounded students capable of leading our country.

    We are fortunate to have the opportunity to create a student-led class on military affairs--a subject that is rarely addressed at liberal arts universities. Given the breadth of knowledge on this board, we would be grateful to hear any suggestions for books or articles that we could include in the class syllabus. At this stage, we think the best place to start might be general introductions to the U.S. military and its varied roles in foreign policy, its evolution over time, and current and future challenges.

    We are also looking at bringing in guest teachers from Tufts (including the Fletcher School) and the greater Boston area.

    Thanks for taking the time to read through this. We look forward to any suggestions.
    Let me just say that I am impressed as hell that you guys took the initiative to get something like this going. When you succeed, make sure that you drag in every journalism major that you can get your hands on.

    Best

    Tom

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    Thanks a ton for the replies, they've all been really helpful.

    Quote Originally Posted by max161 View Post
    I recommend you talk to BG(R) Russ Howard.
    BG Howard teaches a seminar I'm taking. He's a fantastic teacher and, in my opinion, a tremendous resource for Tufts. Right now we're trying to build our relationship with him and the Jebsen Center, so hopefully that will work out.

    We'll try to drag the journalism majors in somehow. I will have the opportunity to meet Tom Ricks through another program I'm in at Tufts, so perhaps that will be a catalyst for something.

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    I would recommend writing George Packer from the New Yorker as well. His insight would be tremendous for you. E-mail me the specifics and I may be able to contact him for you.

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