Book Review: Harold R. Winton Reviews Marlin van Creveld 's The Training o/Officers
pIIlpOSC is to provide
and comp;uative SlIrvey and 10 usc lhis survey as a
this ....olk which suuest bias.litCk of Information. and failure 10 app<eeille some of the SlI\ICIUI'iI ttquin:.
\he: CUm:nl. system of otnccr
educalion in !he U.S.
fon::cs ('flit T,aillilll nf
menlS ofedUCl1ing militlry officc1'$. Fim the positive. To attain
Officer,: From MWIlI'Y P'o/tn/oNl/Un! It) Irrcle· 'I(l"'t. Ntw YOOC: The Fin' PreS-'. 134 pp.). His u gumcnl isdevelopcd in four steps; iiI'$(, IlUrv<:y of!he
origins ofmililliry educalion from
limes to the
edunllon, van Creveld argues. there an: ccnain im:· ducibic minimums. Officcl'$ must be sekCled for advanced mililary education blscd on thc mults of I competitivc examln:uion. mt merely on their n"(otd ofmilitary performance. TlIc: faculty at the inslilUllon
sis of the development of mil illl)' educallon from lhe
be clearl ysuperior 10 the sludent body in 'ntcllox·
nineteenth centul)' W !hi: present in Prussia· Germany. France. Britain. Russia·SovIet Union••nd the Unitc:d Stale.<;; thi rd. conclusions deriving from this compar3tlve analysis; and finally. rerommcndations for n:form of !he curn:nl Americm SystC1ll of officcr
eduo::ation. H is focus througl'louilul the
and senior lcvelsor suIT
and.in the eascofmililary flCUlly. in
military expericrICC 1$ well. Tllc: curriculum must
on the conduct of war at tho.:
the opt:r3tional level for intermcdiate education and the. stl'itegic for senior educalion. TlIc: rouca· lional method mU!:Ilncludca minimum ofaaua! el_ lime and • large amoont oftime for n:2ding. thinling,
'The nl'Sl sca.ion points ow thai
and independent n:search. Completion of thl:
eighlctnth CCnlury. which
lhe beginning.t of
a permatlCl'II ofliQ:rtofPS in most European countries. !he education of orroccl"S WIS m individualistk IlTair. which ccntered on !he n:adings ofmilil;!!')' mC1T1oil'l' or !he occasiORll eluslcal won: such IS Velolelius' De Re MiliM,I.
'The rise of a profession.al officcroorp'J in the nlnc· CCluury brought willi il • demand for offio;cr
education. TIlis dl:mmd. van Creve!d lrguc!i. was tlccausc of tW\l foo;lOl'$: !he ncctl of the officers to addn:S-' the oflhc their won: in a systematic and orderly matVlCr. mil the: need 10 keep !he officcrs employed in some worih....hile and n:laaivcly ineljlCn sive when they wen: not ac\ually flghtillJ. Van Cn:vcld'S compar3livc historical analyses an: insight ful and balanced. and Ihis .scction b. by far, Ihe most valuable ponion of the work. As he did in W..,. Comnrand WIU'. and TtcllNJlogytJnd Wa,. van Crcvdd Iw focused on I theme impoTlllr'ltlo the military pmfCAAion and Irxcd !he evolulion of that tho.:mc over time in an informed and fOCI'Suu,ve man·
When he movcs rrom lhe hiSWrical re.alm il'llo tho.:
must not be laken ror gronlC(!; il through uccl1cnt wrillen work and by
be camed louih
eKlmlnat;om. Advanced COUt1lCS at eitCh level dlot.ald provide the OppOrtw\lty 10 eam Idvanctd dcgl'lX'5 in military science. maSlers lithe intermediate level and doclol'itcs at tho.: senior level. It is difficult 10 argue with my oflhe abovc. and iflh.!sc criteria wen: 10 be applied univcr1llly Ihroug:houl the American armed forces. professional military education in country would lake a giant Step forward. 1I0wever. implc· mentinC them even within Olle .service will n.'quire a radical mift in values COtl(rmin& the: rel:uivc ....Otlh of thinkinc CTitic;ally lholn Wlr Ycnus perfonninC well !he day-UHlJ.y l.asks of a p.:itCctime force. Van Crcvc1d'! criticism Of !he armed .o;crvlces· penchant for pnn'iding ofnCC/li!he owonunhy 10 n:ccivc ad· vlfll.'td degrees II gO'o'cmmclll CltptnSe in Vl:as only
lmllcmially related w!he condUCI of war abo well fO\lndcd.
boo\: has 50 much 10 commend h. what
<kf«u docs il have? Jkfon: :mswering ihatqtJC$llon. \Io-e must lake .. quick i0oi; II van Crcveld', b.:k· ground. Mlnin van Crevc1d is .. pIfIfC$SOl'ofhiSlory at
contemporary world. however.
Hcbn:w University. He is a
more uneven. On the one hand. there Is a scriCl[ of insiihlS th:u dcm0f\$U'3.lC keen Ippreci;uion for the prucess of education. the profession of ;urns. Ind methods Of placing the former al the service of !he lalter. On the otllt:r hand. lllt:rc an: severalaspectl of
history. mCIIlioncd ilIId i
wrillen lilt: thn:c won:s
of Americm and German $I1Iall
unit effCClivellC!;.<! In World Wir II. His only direct whhedueating American mil illlry omeers.