International Relations in Professional Military Education

A Note From The Editor


Introduction: Developing Strategic-Minded Junior Officers

Scott A. Silverstone


Who Are We Teaching - Future Second Lieutenants or Strategic Leaders? Education for Strategic Thinking and Action

Scott A. Silverstone & Renee Ramsey

This article argues that educating future Army officers, at the pre-commissioning level, to enable strategic thinking and action is directly connected to the U.S. Army’s expectations for leaders at all levels of command and is necessary to support the Army’s leader development concept across an officer’s career. The article will explain how the U.S. Military Academy approaches this educational responsibility and how the study of international relations contributes to this goal.


Theory for Real-Worlders: Teaching International Security Studies to Dutch Cadets

Maarten Rothman

The paper focuses on the challenge of getting practice-oriented cadets interested in learning IR theories which they perceive as abstract and remote from their foreseeable (medium-term) professional practice. It considers teaching IR from the perspective of the theory-practice divide. At the Netherlands Defense Academy we have designed two international security studies courses specifically to bridge the gap. At the heart of the first is a case study of a contemporary conflict. The second course zooms out to consider the strategic environment and defense policy. Both are structured around student-driven tutorial sessions, which puts cadets in charge of applying theory to their own future practice.


IR, or No IR? The Potential Contribution of IR Subjects to Professional Military Education at the Latvian National Defence Academy

Toms Rostoks

The article asks whether cadets at National Defence Academy of Latvia should be more exposed to international relations courses. This far, international relations have been a minor component in cadets’ education. The article concludes that although there is a place for a stronger international relations element, professional military education in Latvia is still in the process formation.


International Relations in Interdisciplinary Professional Military Education: The Norwegian Model

Carsten F. Roennfeldt

By focusing on the way cadets learn international relations this article unfolds how professional military education at the Norwegian Military Academy has changed during the past decades. In an effort to enhance junior army officers’ competence as strategic actors in rapidly evolving security contexts the Academy has increasingly emphasised learning over teaching and interdisciplinary over single disciplinary subjects.


From Territorial Defence to Expeditionary Forces. Mastering International Relations and Coping with Different Cultures Has Become a Strategic Necessity for Danish Officers

Dorthe Nyemann & Jørgen Staun

After the Cold War the Danish Armed Forces moved away from its traditional role of territorial defense of Danish soil and towards a role as a globally deployable expeditionary force, imbedded with UK and/or US forces. This shift in national strategy amplified the requirements of the young officers’ ability to think and act strategically in international missions. This article discusses to what extent this has been reflected in the education of the young officers.


Does Canada Educate Strategic Subalterns?

& H. Christian Breede, Ali Dizboni, David Last

The classes and professors at Canada’s RMC closely resemble those of a liberal arts university. Strategic thinking and practice are by-products of a broad education, not doctrine or direction from outside the university.


Teaching IR at Sandhurst: Blended Learning through an Integrated Approach

An Jacobs

Unlike most European and North American Military Academies, The Royal Military Academy of Sandhurst in the UK offers a one-year commissioning course for officer cadets where blended learning is key. The article provides a concise insight into how IR-related academic subjects are taught at Sandhurst and emphasises the uniqueness of integrating academic subjects and military training. It assesses the apparent trend towards an enhanced appreciation and emphasis on the academic aspect of officer education and concludes with key current challenges and opportunities.