The USAWC'S Past and Future

Article excerpt

To the Editor:

Congratulations on publishing a superb anniversary edition of Parameters (Autumn 2001). Dr. Samuel J. Newland did a wonderful job of writing "A Centennial History of the US Army War College," which provided an insightful historical perspective on the college's 100 years of service to our nation. His work complements nicely the enduring work of Harry Ball, Of Responsible Command: A History of the U.S. Army War College.

I especially enjoyed Dr. Newland's characterizations of the college's evolution and its four distinct phases of organizational development. Harry Ball, myself, and Sam see four colleges in existence from 1901 to 2001, the "First," "Second," "Third," and "Fourth" Army War Colleges. Each college evolved to meet both the internal and external factors of change that have guided the school's purpose, mission, vision, goals, curriculum, and programs. The process over time was one of continuity, change, renewal, and growth.

The development of the "Fourth" Army War College is still under way. Its formation started about 1989 with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, and the advent of the information age. It is the Army War College of the 21st century, and it's a great school. Any great school has a least nine imperatives that undergird its institutional excellence: highly select, diverse students; highly qualified faculty and staff; highly relevant research and studies; leading-edge curricula and programs; modern facilities and infrastructure; state-of-the-art educational technology; robust resources and support; contributing outreach and service; and a positive, principles-based organizational climate and learning culture.

The "Fourth" Army War College is strong in all of these nine imperatives. That's why it is successful, has a strategic relationship with the Department of Army, and is the Army Chief of Staff's "school." Like Dr. Newland, I believe the defining characteristic of the US Army War College (USAWC) in the 21st century is the fact that it is now a degree-conferring institution and subject to all the benefits that come with institutional self-study, peer review, and external accreditation. I believe, as well, that Collins Hall and its capabilities for experiential learning, such as the Strategic Crisis Exercise (SCE), have also helped propel the college to new heights of excellence and modernity. The SCE is the finest strategic leader simulation in the armed forces of the United States, and there is nothing comparable in the civilian world. Plus, I give great credit to the deans, faculties, and department chairs for recognizing and integrating Collins Hall capabilities--including its technology, communications, facilities, professional staff, and experiential learning methodologies--into the USAWC curriculum in creative and innovative ways that have significantly elevated the learning power of the traditional and excellent Root Hall seminars. …