Saturday, March 22, 2014

Using Career Oriented Academic Knowledge to Raise Military Functionality

The nature of the military is changing and so are the training needs. Dr. Rutherford moves into a discussion of the needs of training in the Australian Army and the specific training at the Royal Military College (2013). His article focuses on the enhancement of specific career skills to support the command and control functions. The complexity of military operations requires the development of different types of talents that may not fit exclusively into command and control learning style. 

Modern warfare is different than it was in the past. It requires higher technology, logistical systems, abstract thinking and greater functionality. Command and control functions are based in the learning of skill of the position above and below in combat functions. This focus in the military is necessary but also may be forcing those with the relevant skills out of the military and thereby decreasing knowledge retention. 

Combat is the main function but the ability to maintain combat is based in more administrative and career knowledge skills. If the equipment, technology, and support functions are not there the military would be less capable. Many of these functions are contracted out due to a lack of specific knowledge within units and the military in general. 

Individuals in the military are generally trained in broad skills related to their rank but are not trained to excel in their functions. Their training is focused on specific tasks and often do not develop the higher order understanding needed to influence how the system works, where to improve the system, or how to operate it independently. 

As the nature of the military and complexity of combat increases more pressure is being placed on headquarters based on the home soil. The information, skills, and functionality can depend on decisions being made hundreds of miles away from the actual events. Training military personal on their careers as a widening of responsibilities will help the military find additional effectiveness and efficiency. 

It will also help the military retain top talent that age beyond the traditional combat functions. Their knowledge and skills of the military can be added to their academic problem-solving skills to create greater support to combat operations. Talent is retained and operational performance is improved across a wide array of functional areas. 

The author discusses the continued importation of civilian processes and the loss of internal talent due to the nature of command and control training. Training military personnel in careers beyond their rank will help retain and maintain top talent while increasing the functionality of the military units. Moving beyond simple transactional learning to career oriented skill sets will improve upon functionality and knowledge and thereby improving the learning-organizational aspects of the military. It will also allow the military to adjust these civilian processes to pin point their resources to their actual needs.

 Rutherford, P. (2013). Training in the arm: meeting the needs of a changing culture. Training & Development, 40 (6).

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