War College Plus??
DOD does a great job offering education opportunities to officers throughout their careers, both military-specific as well as focused on policy and academic study.
The Powell State Department put in place some good, required management training and has increased our slots in the various war colleges and sponsors online participation in various DOD programs. The Princeton Wilson School study opportunity is hugely popular, but with limited slots and logistic constraints (no housing and not in DC area). We (individuals, the 25YA board, DOS) believe we all could and should do more.
What could we do as officers to keep learning besides take advantage of the opportunities to study in DOD schools or apply for the Princeton program?
Is there value to send some State folks to get a PhD as DOD does? If so, to what end and at what stage?
What should or could the State Department do to increase opportunities for learning and encourage us all to keep at it?
We read all the time - the news, cables, memos, etc. - to keep up with events, understand our policy and do our job.
However, we think that it is crucial to remember to read books and articles about diplomacy and about the world to remind ourselves to keep thinking and to keep learning. We will post book titles, articles, and other media (podcasts, documentaries, etc) that have taught us. Please send us your recommendations and suggested links for possible mention on the site.
The Back Channel by Bill Burns is a must-read. It is inspiring, informative and should be made required reading for all. He writes (on p86) about the importance of good mentors. Extra points for that!
Diplomat Among Warriors by Robert Murphy gets bonus points for referring to his twenty year diplomatic apprenticeship twice in the early pages. Plus, a fascinating read about World War II in France and North Africa.
Leaders by Stanley McChrystal helped inspire this project as the book provoked several apprentices to reflect on the most important elements crucial to good diplomatic leadership.
Please send us books, articles, websites that you recommend to feature on this post.
21st Century Learning?
State employees can earn masters degrees online from the DOD war colleges. Is there also value enough to pay for us to take courses at top foreign policy schools? And/or could we help teach at aforementioned schools online while posted abroad or in DC? How about fellowships at innovative companies in Silicon Valley or elsewhere to stay up to date with latest technologies and tools?
What could the State Department do to incorporate 21st century learning methods?