‘Good Idea Fairy’

It is tough to publicly critique someone you respect but, if the issue is important enough, sometimes you have to bite the bullet and let fly. In a recent War on the Rocks article, Paula Thornhill provided a set of recommendations she believes would improve professional military education. If anyone is qualified to tackle this issue, it is Thornhill. I first met her when she commanded the Air Force Institute of Technology while I served on the Air Staff as a special advisor to the secretary of the Air Force. Before that she served as dean of the National War College, where I now teach and where, two decades later, her excellent reputation still lingers. These days, we both adjunct teach at Johns Hopkin School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where I regularly hear from young students who worship the ground she walks on. In short, based on first-hand knowledge, I can attest to the fact that, of the many voices expounding on professional military education, but not (or at least not any longer) directly involved in it, she is one of the most competent and qualified.

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