Women are underrepresented among the U.S. Air Force's senior leadership. This could be robbing the service of the potential to improve innovation, agility, and performance. The Air Force is working to address diversity in the service, and it continues to work to improve representation of women within its ranks.
To reinvigorate graduate-level professional military education, the military could carve out a unique educational niche by focusing on intense, quality staff officer education that is more relevant to understanding the demands placed on top defense leaders.
U.S. Air Force commanders around the world understand their responsibilities. But they believe that many unrecognized duties interfere with mission performance. They are generally prepared by professional education and career progression to fulfill their responsibilities, but they could use more instruction on how to command.
A new effort to review the military's personnel system will focus initially on policies to assign, evaluate, and promote service members. To truly address systematic challenges, however, the scope will need to widen to include how the various military services might size, structure, and support key missions.
For civilian academics interested in bridging the political science–military gap, five recommendations to acquire basic information about the military could encourage improved interaction, better policy-relevant scholarship, and an enhanced policy process.
If senior military officers and academics find themselves divided, is there a way to build respect and trust earlier in their careers? A tabletop exercise suggested that the best way to bridge the civilian-military divide is not via large conferences or formal papers. Instead, it can be done by building trust, one person at a time, over time.
Without a concerted effort to change military executive education, military services will continue a misguided effort to buy academic credibility, and some elite universities will continue selling their names. Most importantly, the Untied States will miss an opportunity to hone the critical thinking of its next generation of military leaders.