Course Offers 'Big Picture' Perspective for Future Guard, Reserve Leaders

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 26, 2007 - Recognizing that their missions are global in scope and often have strategic implications, about 140 reservists and National Guardsmen from every service are wrapping up a course here that's widening their operational apertures.

The National Defense University here presents the Reserve Components National Security Course twice each year for senior reserve-component members moving on to joint command management and staff jobs in multinational, intergovernmental or joint national security settings, explained Army Col. Kashi Yatto, course director.

The current two-week class concludes tomorrow, with its graduates representing the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard reserves and the Army and Air National Guard. A small percentage of the group hails from other U.S. government agencies, as well as from Peru, Malta and Korea.

All have broad experience in the tactical and operational aspects of their missions. The vast majority have combat deployments under their belts.

Here, through a schedule chock-full of seminars, workshops and notional exercises, they're expanding their horizons to think strategically, said Col. Danny Bubp, a Marine Corps reservist who's serving as senior seminar leader.

"We're exposing the students to that next level" and preparing them to take on increasingly responsible positions within their organizations, he said.

Like Bubp, an Ohio state legislator, the students all bring civilian skills to their military jobs. They're teachers, farmers, doctors, lawyers and firemen, as well as reserve and Guard leaders. "We want to send them back to their communities with a broader perspective so they can take that knowledge with them when they're mobilized to be part of a staff," Bubp said.

Toward that end, the course takes a broad view of world affairs, helping students see the big picture and implications of military operations. "We're trying to produce more strategic leaders with a better grounding in what's going on in the world," Bubp said. "The smarter your people are, the better they are going to function, especially in a stressful environment."

Much of the course focuses on the importance of incorporating all aspects of national power, not just military power, into U.S. national strategy, Yatto said. Instructors here refer to it as the "DIME" principle -- diplomatic, informational, military and economic -- and say all play important and complementary roles.

"We're military, so the first option we think of is military," Yatto said. "But this course helps the students better appreciate the other entities, too."

Students at the course call it an eye-opening experience. "It gives you a whole different way of thinking about things," said Air Force Col. Chip Mattingly, a maintenance group commander for the Kansas Air National Guard. "I feel like a sponge here, and it's really giving me an appreciation of the bigger picture."

Mattingly said his military career, which hasn't yet exposed him to joint staff operations, has focused heavily on the "M" or "military" aspects of the DIME principle. "This course is great because it gives you an understanding that there are other ways to shape the world than boots on the ground -- and possibly more effectively," he said.

Navy Cmdr. Angela Brady, administrative officer for Florida's Volunteer Training Unit, said she sees great value in providing reservists and Guardsmen a strategic view of operations they could be called on to help lead.

"You definitely have to have a grasp of the big picture, and you don't always get that on the operational side," she said. "If everybody understands the overall objective, where you're headed and how they fit into it, you can get there a lot more effectively."
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