Page 4 - Cormorant 2019
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Commandant’s Foreword
Maj Gen Andrew Roe
Commandant, Joint Services Command and Staff College
First of all, congratulations on completing ACSC.
It is designed to be a
year that stretches you,
both academically and professionally, but also gives you the space to think, reflect and consider how
you shape your future career. For most, ACSC marks the transition from junior to senior officer, and what has served you well before, may not serve
you as well in the future. It is also supposed to be fun; anyone whose overriding memory of ACSC is relentless academic grind has probably missed the point. Looking through these pages though, I get the impression that the vast majority of you made the most of the opportunities available: sports, socials, and other extra-curricular activities such as debating and the band. Well done to you all.
Education and training are very definitely at the heart of ACSC. This year was the first time that we had offered the Master’s by Research as an alternative postgraduate qualification, and I am grateful to the 12 students who acted as pioneers on this. Your experiences will shape and improve this for future
cohorts. For the coming years, I am determined to change the education experience further to make it more relevant to today’s world as it is, not as we wish it to be. We are preparing our graduates for war, and the relentless pace of change and the clear paradigm shift in the nature of conflict means future wars may not resemble those of the past.
Among other things, I intend to focus on: warfighting and the professional skills necessary for warfighters; understanding and employing technology and innovation; ensuring that all students are stretched to new cognitive limits; giving space in the syllabus to exploit peer-to-peer and group learning; and ensuring that skill with the written word continues to underpin these as a core art.
These are just the academic changes though. Alongside these, we must also look to our wider behaviours. Our tone and actions as officers will set the tone and actions of all those we lead. ACSC22 was the first year during which the Active Bystander programme was run across the Defence Academy, combating unwanted behaviours. This was
singled out in the Defence Report on Inappropriate Behaviours as an exemplar of best practice, and as such I am pleased that it is being extended for future cohorts.
This brings me back to my starting point. From here, you are going out into Defence as future leaders, in Command and senior staff assignments where your actions will have a significant influence on others. Think hard about what sort of officer or civil servant you intend to be. Think also about how you pursue and harness the Diversity and Inclusion that will be vital to Defence – and you as individuals – meeting future challenges. You have the opportunity to change Defence for the better, and I am confident that ACSC has given you the tools to effect that change.
Finally, I would encourage you all to keep in touch with one another and with the Defence Academy. The overriding message that I receive from ACSC students is that the most important part of the course has been the friendships you have made and the networks you have developed. These, as much as the academic and professional skills you have learnt, will stay with you through your future careers.
Let me leave you with a quote from Eric Hoffer, the American moral and social philosopher: “In times of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.”
    Education and
training are very definitely at the
heart of ACSC. ◆◆◆

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