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By Daniel S. Marciniak, U.S. Naval War College Public Affairs
Nov. 21, 2012

NEWPORT, R.I. – Joan Johnson-Freese, a professor of international and national security studies within the national security affairs department here at the U.S. Naval War College (NWC), recently authored a book, titled “Educating America’s Military.”

The book, published Oct. 16, by Routledge, provides an insider’s perspective of the professional military education (PME) system employed at U.S. military institutions.

“With budget cuts and increasingly public concerns being raised about their value, the system has come under increasing scrutiny,” said Freese. “Some have even called for closing the war colleges. That answer, in my opinion, does not serve the U.S. well.”

Freese, whom has 20 years’ experience teaching within the PME system, said she started writing the book when concerns about institutional quality, processes and objectives began to be raised.

“Because of the NWC's strong commitment to academic freedom, I felt I was both able and had a responsibility to PME institutions, the students we teach, and the nation, to try to keep useful discussion going,” said Freese. “That is the intent of the book – discussion and debate toward providing students with the best education possible.”

But Freese’s examination of the system does not come without controversy. She questions whether military institutions are doing the best job possible in carrying out the important mission of educating senior military officers in both the ways of war and the defense of peace.

“You may disagree with some of what Johnson-Freese states here, but from now on you can’t be part of the debate about military education unless you have read her book,” said Thomas Ricks, a former military beat reporter for the Washington Post in his review of Freese’s book.

The Honorable Ike Skelton, former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, welcomes the debate. In his early review of "Educating America's Military," he emphasized “the continued need for study in our war colleges.”

Freese looks to continue the dialogue at an upcoming book launch scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum here in Newport. The event begins at 5:15 p.m. and is open to the public.

All proceeds from the sale of Freese's book will be donated to the Wounded Warrior Project.


Posted by Daniel S. Marciniak