How To Think Like An Officer: Intellectual Virtues and Challenges
I used to tell my students at Kings Point that I was trying to teach them how to think like officers. Of course, I was challenged on this. What did I mean by that exactly, sir? This book represents an extended effort to answer that quite reasonable question. What is it to think like an armed forces officer? Is there some distinctive mental pattern of officer cognition that can be identified and improved upon? Are there best, most exemplary instances of officer thought? What are the inherent and contingent obstacles and impediments? Can civilians and other non-officers benefit from a greater understanding of how officers think, and can officers benefit from becoming more self-conscious about how they think? I will contend that thinking like an officer is the most defining aspect of military professionalism, more than values, character, or knowledge, and that it has been neglected in officer education. There are many books on military tactics, strategy, and leadership, but few if any treat these subjects as matters of thinking, as cognitive challenges that are distinct but also related in that they take place in the officer’s mind, and within the context of the military culture and profession
About this Lecture
Lectures of Opportunity offer U.S. Naval War College (NWC) students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to learn more about national and international socio-political subjects that may be of relevance to the NWC community.