One of the priorities of U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Randy George is war fighting, particularly the charge to refocus and prioritize efforts that build lethality and cohesive teams. This follows previous guidance from the Joint Chiefs of Staff to focus on war fighting, ideally through wargames, and from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to increase the classroom attention devoted to China, the Department of Defense’s pacing challenge. Zenel Garcia and Tom Spahr join podcast host Ron Granieri to discuss how the Army War College has adapted its curriculum to incorporate all that guidance and to better prepare graduates. The class of 2024 is the first to experience the newly designed China Integrated Course, which combines discussions of Chinese history, politics and strategy with a practical war-fighting exercise to cap off the core curriculum.
So I think it comes down to ambiguity…because war is unpredictable, and the further up you move from the tactical to the operational to the theater-strategic or strategic, I would argue, the more unpredictable it becomes it is more complex. So we are trying to prepare them to know how to plan and build, but understand that the situation is going to change as soon as the war starts.
Zenel Garcia is an Associate Professor of Security Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College. His research focuses on the intersection of international relations theory, security, and geopolitics. Specifically, how interpretations of security and the geopolitical environment shape the discursive and empirical processes of regional formation and transformation in the Indo-Pacific and Eurasia.
COL Thomas W. Spahr is the Chair of the Department of Military Strategy Planning and Operations at the Army War College. COL Spahr has a Ph.D. in History from The Ohio State University and teaches courses at the Army War College on Military Campaigning and Intelligence.
Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Photo Description: Clockwise from top left: President Joe Biden greets and poses for a photo with Chinese President Xi Jingping ahead of their bilateral meeting, Monday, November 14, 2022, at the Mulia Resort in Bali, Indonesia; Students in the USAWC AY24 Class execute their move in the China Integrated Course wargame; The 41st Chief of Staff of the Army, General Randy George, addresses Carlisle Barracks personnel during Root Hall ribbon cutting ceremony, October 25, 2023; Notional order of battle.
Photo Credit: Clockwise from top left: Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz; all others U.S. Army War College