Working Group 9: Military Education

Nuno Loureiro

ISMS Conference 2019 in Vienna, November 18-20, 2019

ISMS Working Group 9 – Military Education



  • Nuno Santos Loureiro, Military University Institute
  • David Last, Royal Military College of Canada

Professional Military Education refers to training, continuing education, and other activities designed to provide development to members of the military, throughout the career, to prepare them for the next level of responsibilities, to develop leaders to think critically, to understand the security environment, to respond to uncertainty, to anticipate and lead transitions through change, so that they can operate with trust, understanding, and empathy.

The 2019 ISMS Conference, in Vienna, had as its theme “Building Military Science for the Benefit of Society” and with regard to the WG9 Military Education, address the problem of education and training of armed forces, with the aim of providing the scientific basis for capability development, structuring, organizing, equipping, maintaining etc. and providing the qualification for the highest military level to act as strategic advisors at the interface with the political decision-making level.

Eight of the eleven scheduled communications were presented at WG9 Military Education divided into two parallel sessions.

In Parallel Session 1, more focused in the conduct of Military Education, in the way we teach, in pedagogy, curriculum development and innovative educational experiences, five communications were presented:

  • George Kaimakamis and Konstantina Panagiotidou (Hellenic Military Academy  Greece) highlighted the importance of teaching Operational Research in the Hellenic Αrmy Academy in order to answer the question what unique added value it provides for the security of the state, a community of values and the people living in it.
  • Sayaka Kamio (National Defence Academy Japan) presented a study with the purpose to develop the English learning materials based on the NATO STAGAG 6001, focusing on the Japanese military cadets who are studying English for specific purposes, as second language and foreign language.
  • Nuno Santos Loureiro (Military University Institute Portugal) discussed the results of the reflective portfolio as a methodology for teaching, learning and evaluation, in the context of military career education, centered on skills.
  • Carsten Roennfeldt (Defence University College – Norway) presented the “60 seconds” method as an active learning methodology for young cadets;
  • Tamir Libel (University of Bamberg – Germany) elaborated on the differences of the military, as a professional or as a security expert.


In Parallel Session 2, four communications were presented, focusing on the future of Professional Military Education:

  • Victor Lobo (Portuguese Naval Academy – Portugal) discussed the organizational model of defense academies and the struggle to keep them, despite its importance in the adequate preparation of future officers, but they have few students, thus a reduced teaching staff, and the research contribution diminished.
  • Paul Mitchell (Canadian Forces College – Canada) presented “Graduate Level PME: Meaning, Forms, Implications”that reflects practitioner research at a command and staff college required to deliver “graduate level PME”.
  • Anne Reiffenstein (Canadian Forces College – Canada) presented a postmodern pedagogic approach coupled with a greater emphasis on critical thinking that will increase the relevancy of the 21st century military education system.
  • Rasmus Dahlberg (Royal Danish Defence College – Denmark) started from the “Total Defence” concept, returned to the agenda in Denmark as well as other European countries, adressed the challenges and possibilities that lie ahead when designing new researchbased military educations for the benefit of society as a whole.


Military education is a demanding task due to the requirements imposed by the military profession. Such profession is changing and requires the military personnel to be more than a professional, in a way that is becoming an expertise in a wide range of areas of knowledge and skills related with defence and security. New methods of teaching are being used to improve the learning performance, the 60 method, the reflective portfolio, the reflective essay, and new approaches for courses that are more difficult to teach, such as operational research or English as a foreign language. The importance of the existence of war schools was once again discussed, focusing on the most appropriate organizational model in the face of existing difficulties. All this sharing is extraordinarily important, not only forthe institution, but also to build a common understanding of military education, the necessary basis for increasing collaboration in research and teaching, in the harmonization of curricula, which will increasingly allow students and courses to be shared. And that´s why ISMS “is a hub and a platform for mutual improvement trough collaboration”.

As it turned out, several topics were discussed, none specifically addressed the problem suggested as the main theme of the Conference, however, in fact, in all of them there was concern with the improvement of military education, an area par excellence of the Military Sciences. Now, considering the Military Institution which exists to serve the Society, every small step in the improvement of Military Education will be a step for the benefit of society.

Military sciences are an organized and systematized body of knowledge, of a transdisciplinary nature, resulting from scientific research and continued practices, related to the development of methodologies and processes for building and employing military capabilities used in the defense, surveillance, control and security of spaces under national sovereignty and jurisdiction; response to complex crises, conflicts and emergencies; humanitarian and peace missions; internal security actions; development and well-being, as well as military cooperation and assistance. The wide scope inherent to the concept fully express the added value that the Military Sciences can bring to the security of the State and its citizens.

Finally, we would like to thank all those who contributed to ISMS Conference 2019, and to urge everyone to attend the 2020 Virtual Conference on the theme "MILITARY SCIENCES vs. OPEN SCIENCES with scent of COVID-19 pandemic".


See you soon!


Nuno Santos Loureiro