Translate this page from English...

*Machine translated pages not guaranteed for accuracy.

Click Here for our professional translations.

Print Page Change Text Size: T T T

Roundtable Discussions at the 2019 Seminar for Military and Intelligence Trainers and Instructors

Friday, March 29
10:45 a.m.


Selling a Long-View Process in a Fast-Moving Culture

Bobbie Meyer-Piper

Curriculum Developer and Manager
Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course
U.S. Air Force

U.S. Air Force Enlisted Professional Military Education (EPME) provides quick, limited exposure to many academic topics. The typical EPME experience is a ‘touch-and-go’ approach that briefly touches on each topic for one to four hours and then quickly moves on to the next. Minimal resources are spared for EPME; institution-provided professional development consists of 105-125 days of academics over a 20+ year career. Contrast that with the evolving strategic environment, as well as the current drumbeat of Defense Department directives and authorities at all levels on the need for strategic thinking at all ranks, and you have the challenge presented to the Air Force’s Chief Leadership Course.

The Chief Leadership Course consists of just 20 academic days to overcome these obstacles which impact the mindsets of both our students and faculty. The inculcation of a critical thinking mindset needed to be tackled in a way that gets students’ attention quickly, brings the fundamentals and strategies of critical thinking to the forefront of their reasoning, and convinces them of the importance of continuing the necessary effort to cultivate this skill beyond our short 20-day course. Being under pressure (like most of us in the military environment) to do things quickly and try to show immediate impact, we did not introduce this as smoothly or in the order we might have preferred. However, the ‘flying while building’ approach seems to be getting us much closer to where we want to be, with the resistance and skepticism of both faculty and students fading away, and appreciation for the value of metacognitive strategies increasing.


Pumping the Brakes: Deliberately Slowing Down Fast Decision Makers

Kyle Robinette

Director of Education
Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course
U.S. Air Force

One of the early things implemented by the U.S. Air Force Chief Leadership Course in developing critical thinking skills was a writing assignment given to students on their first evening of the course. They are given very little guidance, being told only to write a one-page paper in any format on a topic viewed by the student as an ‘Air Force issue.’ The 11-13 person seminars then evaluate each other’s papers over the course of the next 15 days using the ‘Analyzing the Logic of an Article’ exercise right out of the Foundation for Critical Thinking’s ‘Thinker’s Guide Library.’ Each student has a different role for each paper regarding what part of analysis (purpose, inferences, point of view, etc.) they are responsible for. The author is not allowed to say anything at all (to clear any misunderstandings or misperceptions) until all others have given their analyses. The conversations that generate from this go well beyond the exercise and are a highlight of each student’s experience.


Critical Thinking Course as an ‘Awakening of Consciousness to Itself’ for Military Personnel

Caroline Obiageli
Nigerian Defence Academy

The Nigerian Defence Academy has started a new M.Phil. program in Security and Strategic Studies targeted at senior strategic-level officers of the Nigerian Armed Forces, with Critical Thinking and Advanced Strategic Reasoning as one of two core courses in the program. As a member of the Critical Thinking teaching team, I observed course participants’ initial display of both excitement and resistance – excitement for the seemingly novel field of study, but a skeptical resistance to perceived ‘anti-military’ principles in the course. However, continued engagement brought about expressions of resemblances between critical thinking and some military operational decision-making processes, particularly the Estimate Process. This generated my interest in exploring further the relationships between critical thinking and Estimate Process strategies as a means of identifying various ways that critical thinking values could be useful for effective operational command and leadership. This presentation is therefore aimed at illustrating these relationships with a view toward articulating the importance of critical thinking to military systems and operations.