Date of Award

Summer 8-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Political Science & Geography


Graduate Program in International Studies

Committee Director

Regina Karp

Committee Member

Daniel Bolger

Committee Member

Austin Jersild


The US Joint Force has an outstanding record over its history of superb performance at the tactical level of war. Inarguably, the United States is currently the best tactical Joint Force in the world a product of a world class tactical education, training, and development program generating and sustaining that tactical proficiency at the individual and organizational level. While tactical education and training programs have been extremely successful, the Professional Military Education (PME) responsible for developing strategic mastery has not been as highly rated. Over the past seventy-five years numerous indictments have been levied against the US PME enterprise, and its inability to produce strategic-minded officers. To operate and succeed in the international security environment, especially the rapidly changing and dynamic contemporary environment, requires much more than tactical mastery. For the Nation to remain secure and prosperous, all three levels of war, the tactical/operational/strategic, must be properly aligned. To enable this alignment and ensure the defense and promotion of US national interests, the leadership and strategic-minded thinking of Joint Force officers is essential. To develop the necessary strategic knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) of these Joint Force officers, a focused and robust (PME) enterprise is an imperative within the United States Armed Forces. Regrettably, as the Joint Force strives to create strategic-mindedness in its officer corps, it uses a system similar to that which creates tactical mastery and superb tactical performance. One key shortfall is that the senior level PME schools conflate education with training and believe that tactical methods will generate strategic masters. This study recognizes the educational shortfalls but distinguishes that PME will not adapt and change because of inherent organizational culture attitudes. The Joint Force culture promotes officers based on tactical and operational performance, undervalues strategic-minded education, and values operational positions over educational developmental periods and time to deliberately practice strategic KSAs. The organizational culture hinders the desired strategic improvement.


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Copyright, 2022, by Thomas Joseph Snukis, All Rights Reserved.