The first course of the academic year, Strategic Thinking, is designed to help you get reacquainted with the skills and habits necessary for success in graduate-level education, and to directly address selected subjects that fall within the cognitive domain of strategic leadership.
It is essential that, as part of the Strategic Thinking core course, we intentionally set the tone for an effective seminar-learning environment for the rest of the academic year.
We intend to create an appreciation for the adult-learning environment and to hone skills to function well in it. We also want to help each other develop an appreciation for, understanding of, desire, and ability to think about complex, ambiguous issues. Part of this foundation is to gain a greater appreciation of your thinking, how others think, and the ability to reflect on issues of national importance.
Our intent is to encourage good habits of lifelong learning through increased self-awareness, organizational awareness, and environmental awareness.
Course Learning Objectives
You will be evaluated on the extent to which you demonstrate achievement of the following course objectives.
a. Comprehend selected cognitive and interpersonal competencies required by strategic leaders operating in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.
b. Apply strategic-thinking processes necessary to sustain innovative, agile, and ethical organizations in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational environment.
Themes and Joint Learning Areas (JLAs)
The U.S. Army War College (USAWC) curriculum includes numerous themes including Ethics, History, Human Dimensions of Strategic Leadership, Jointness, and Strategic Vision. The Strategic Thinking course addresses to varying degrees all these themes, but it's cognitive focus is a standard bearer for the Human Dimensions of Strategic Leadership.
In addition, this course is also designed to address important joint learning areas as specified by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction 1800.01C: Officer Professional Military Education Program, 22 December 2005. The instruction establishes the areas for Joint Professional Military Education Phase II. Several are particularly germane to this course but the two most prevalent are:
a. JLA 7a: Synthesize techniques for leading in a joint, interagency, and multinational environment.
b. JLA 7b: Synthesize leadership skills necessary to sustain innovative, agile, and ethical organizations in a joint, interagency, and multinational environment.
a. The Strategic Thinking course is designed to assist in your transition from an operational assignment to a postgraduate academic experience, as well as the new and challenging environment that will characterize much of the remainder of your professional life. The course provides the foundation necessary to deal with the complexities of later course work.
It assists in understanding the dimensions and the dynamics of individuals, small groups, and organizations as applied to the profession of arms and cognitive skills appropriate for senior-level leadership. Seminar sessions provide the basis from which you can begin to develop the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for strategic leadership.
b. This course is comprised of 10 discrete lessons, which include a presentation by the Army Chief of Staff, and a battlefield staff ride conducted at the Gettysburg National Military Park. Some lessons focus on establishing a reflective learning environment with a climate that facilitates the best aspects of adult learning, self-awareness, and democratic discussions in an intellectually dynamic seminar.
Other lessons emphasize different ways of thinking and appreciating other perspectives that are particularly valuable for senior-level leadership. Irrespective of your individual level of development upon arriving at the USAWC, the course provides myriad opportunities for professional development and growth. This growth is spurred by the increased knowledge and insight gained from expanded experience in new situations and the challenges posed by increasing levels of difficulty that characterize national security issues at the strategic level.
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