Back To School

/ March 10, 2009 at 5:00 AM

Officials in the Joint Staff's Military Education Coordination Council last month recommended three new focus areas where officials believe increased attention is needed in military schoolhouse curricula this year, we're told.

The new areas blessed by the panel are titled "space as a contested environment," "psychological health awareness" and "operational contract support education for non-acquisition DOD Personnel," according to a Joint Staff briefing from last month.

The list of "special areas of emphasis," as the Joint Staff calls them, also includes a handful of topics carried over from last year. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen has yet to approve the council's recommendations.

The recommendation to boost awareness of the relatively new field of operational contract support, or OCS, is rooted in the experiences with contracting and contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In short, DOD officials were utterly unprepared for the vast number of contractors with whom military commanders ended up sharing the battlefields, as a recent briefing from a Pentagon logistician describes it in two photos.

"Current ((joint professional military education)) does not adequately prepare officers/enlisted to operate/interface effectively with OCS in the contingency environment," the briefing states.

-- Sebastian Sprenger