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Students in the Maneuver Captains Career Course got a chance to broaden their knowledge last week when an expert in military history visited them as part of the Combat Leader Speaker Program, which brings outside leaders to Fort Benning to share their experiences.
Dan Marston, a Ph.D and professor of military history and principal of the Military and Defence Studies Program at the Australian Command and Staff College, spoke to the students about the importance of incorporating the study of military history into their career development.
Its the foundation of who they are, Marston said. They need to understand where they come from not just U.S. military history, but also the history of other armies and other militaries. If you dont have a foundation, youre not on solid ground.
Marston encouraged the captains to critically analyze the experiences of past military leaders, as well as those of Soldiers in recent conflicts and their own experiences.
A great thing I have seen a commander do is believe something about a specific argument five or six years ago and now come to the other side, he said. And Ive done the same thing. Nobodys an expert. Everybodys a student. And that means you have to keep learning.
One way Soldiers at the Maneuver Center of Excellence can pursue their own learning is through the Maneuver Leader Self-Study Program, which is accessible through the Fort Benning website and provides readings and discussion forums on a wide variety of military topics. Marston encouraged all Soldiers, not only NCOs or officers, to take advantage of that resource.
They need to understand how they fit into the organization, why they fit and where they come from in terms of their positions, he said. And how their positions as privates or even higher has changed with time and what that means for the institution.
Marston also weighed in on mission command, a concept that promotes empowerment of leaders within a commanders intent.
Its something that all armies can do, can try to attain, but it has to be a realistic interpretation of what mission command is about, he said.