In his new work, 'Professional Military Education: Making of the 21st Century Warrior,' Lieutenant General AB Shivane (Retd) probes the essence of Professional Military Education (PME), a discipline that bridges the gap between combat as an instrument of warfare and war as an instrument of politics. He defines PME as an accelerated learning pathway, equipping military personnel with the intellectual superiority, technical prowess, tactical skills, and judgment needed to prevail in unpredictable combat situations.
Lt Gen. Shivane positions PME as a vital application of education that enriches training and optimises experience, fostering a scientific temperament in the art and science of war, and contributing to both negative and passive peace.
The book emphasises the growing significance of PME, given the ever-changing character of war and emerging security challenges. It critically scrutinises PME's current efficacy, responsiveness to dynamic military needs, empowerment of foundational and development domains towards professional excellence, and its role in accomplishing military missions.
'Professional Military Education: Making of the 21st Century Warrior' addresses the most critical questions related to PME, offering fresh and well-researched insights. It is particularly relevant in the face of modern war's shifting dynamics and multiplying domains, the dissolution of traditional battle spaces, and the legacy of previous wars.
Lt Gen. Shivane's detailed research illuminates the Indian legacy system of PME and the need to embrace disruptive technologies to keep abreast of the evolving strategic environment and warfighting tenets. He posits military education as an "intellectual architecture for battlefield success," critical to national security in a rapidly changing world.
He further argues that PME contributes to robust civil-military ties, fosters a culture of reflection, and cultivates capacities for critical analysis and creativity. These aspects underscore the conceptual link between PME and military effectiveness.
The Indian PME, respected worldwide, has repeatedly demonstrated its merit in battle and internal security. However, Lt Gen. Shivane cautions that future PME needs to adapt to increasingly complex and abstract challenges, demanding introspection and reorientation.
The book delves deeply into the concept of PME, bringing a fresh perspective that emphasises ethos, culture, core service values, and tactical skills crucial in waging war. It highlights the need for wisdom and judgment in various scenarios, especially in a world experiencing unprecedented change.
Lt Gen. Shivane underscores the importance of equipping future military leaders with strategic thinking and communication skills, preparing them for the increasing complexity of multi-domain warfare. The military, he suggests, needs leaders with cognitive ability, learning agility, conceptual skills, and a professional culture that fosters a contest of ideas and candour.
He observes how contemporary wars have drastically reshaped the objectives, rules, and instruments of war. The modern battlefield, he notes, has fundamentally changed the security domain, resulting in a new war doctrine influenced by various aspects of human life, from culture and history to geopolitics and economics.
The author proposes a PME framework that acknowledges the omnipresence of uncertainty and ambiguity, providing a comprehensive approach that could shape current and future military doctrines.
The author emphasises that creativity evolves through an encouraging, tolerant culture and knowledge-based academic infusion, arguing that creativity must be practised beyond mere classroom lectures. Lt Gen. Shivane identifies obstacles to military creativity in the hierarchical command structure, noting tendencies towards conformity, groupthink, and anti-intellectualism.
According to Lt Gen. Shivane, a successful leader possesses the ability to think creatively, exploit technology, and adapt innovatively. The book, receiving high praises from former and current Chiefs of three services, is an essential read for professionals across the world. As the author eloquently expresses, the mandate for the modern military leader is simple: "think, fight, and win."
The book can be ordered the book on Amazon by clicking on the following link: Professional Military Education: Making of the 21st Century Warrior
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