The Officer March/April 2012 : Page 42

ort rep y Securit al NatioN JPME IntEgratIon acknowlEdgEs ValuE of rEsErVE & guard By Col Scott A. Sauter Guidance from our nation’s capstone documents on national security enumerates current threats and implies competencies for our senior military leaders. Many of these competencies have stood the test of time while others, just as important, are transient and tied to temporary conditions in our current operational assessments. In all cases, there is an expectation of our military’s collection of Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) institutions to incorporate subject matter into their respective curricula to create learning outcomes and, in turn, enhance the professional development of the nation’s future military leadership. Tis process is codified in the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff ’s Instruction (CJSCI) 1800.01D, the Officer Professional Military Education Program, known in military education circles as OPMEP . Among other things, the OPMEP outlines joint learning objectives for each JPME institution. In addition, special areas of emphasis (SAE) are prescribed to address emerging or transient issues and “highlight the concerns of [the office of the secretary of defense], the services, combatant commands, Defense agencies, and the Joint Staff regarding coverage of specific joint subject matter in the PME colleges.” Included in the 2011 list of SAEs approved by ADM Michael Mullen was “integrating Reserve Component Attributes into JPME School Curricula.” Tis serves as an acknowledgement of the value, both present and future, of increased knowledge of the National Guard and Reserves, as senior military leaders grapple with preserving the capability of the Joint Total Force in an environment of increased fiscal constraints. Tis acknowledgement was and continues to be the result of persistent efforts to advocate for Reserve Component interests through the OPMEP process and existing strategic communications. Whether this is considered follow-up work to support recommendations from the Commission on the National Guard and Reserves or just another necessary effort to enhance Total Force awareness, “Integrating Reserve Component Attributes” has found a larger audience in professional military education circles. To sustain its status as an SAE, this subject matter must be evaluated annually as it competes for one of ten coveted spots on the chairman’s annual list. Tis process begins each year in late spring when the 42 the J-7’s Joint Education and Doctrine Directorate calls for SAE proposals. Each proposal is briefed by its sponsor at the Joint Faculty Education Conference (JFEC), typically held at the National Defense University and attended by faculty representatives from all of the JPME institutions. Te JFEC representatives’ deliberation and vote determines the level of acceptance and suitability of each SAE for inclusion at JPME, and a preliminary list is created. Tis list provides a rank order of all SAEs for consideration by the Military Education Coordination Council (MECC), which meets later in the year. Te MECC working group—O-6 level representatives from the JPME institutions—reviews the JFEC recommendation and makes any necessary modifications before presenting the list to the MECC Principals (“the DDJS-ME; the presidents, commandants, and directors of the joint and Service universities and colleges; the heads of any other JPME-accredited institutions; and the USJFCOM/J-7”) for final review. Te Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is the final approval authority before releasing the list, usually in time for the next academic year. As mentioned, “Integrating Reserve Component Attributes” made the Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 list, and, for FY 12, was accepted by the JFEC by a vote of 61 percent (ranked number six of 15). While not unanimous, this puts this SAE on solid footing for a second year with the MECC and, in turn, for inclusion on the chairman’s list. Ultimately, it comes down to how each JPME institution incorporates this critical subject matter into its respective curricula—whether by assigned reading, case study, formal discussion, or tabletop exercise. JPME curricula are already quite full and most academic deans lament increased demands for the limited contact time with their JPME students. However, the OPMEP’s processes should ensure that the chairman’s priorities are addressed and the intent of each SAE is delivered in a deliberate and thoughtful manner. And that’s what will eventually affect the quality of their graduates—the future senior military leaders charged with shaping the Joint Total Force to carry out our national military strategy.  Te author is deputy director of education and training in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. O fficer / M arch –a pril 2012

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