PME Resources

Forces Command PME Program 2020-21

By Chris Field August 20, 2020

The importance of reading
As military professionals, we read and educate ourselves to enhance our knowledge, enable problem recognition and problem solving, and fulfil our obligations to the people we lead. As General (Retd.) Jim Mattis, US Marine Corps notes, reading and educating ourselves means: 
…we face nothing new under the sun. We have been fighting on this planet for 5000 years and we should take advantage [of our predecessors’] experience. Winging it and filling body bags as we sort out what works reminds us of the moral dictates and the cost of incompetence in our profession.[1]
The Forces Command PME Program 2020-21
In December 2019, Forces Command will issue our PME Program for 2020-21. Our program will encourage maximum participation in professional reading and education from across Forces Command, based on the following ideas:
  • Forces Command PME Program 2020-21 will contain fourteen books and associated PME activities. 
  • Each Training Centre, Formation and Headquarters Forces Command will select one book. How each book is selected, and the topic of each book, is at the discretion of each Commander and Commandant and from whomever they seek advice.
  • The Cove will coordinate a professional military education program in 2020-21 for us to examine each of these fourteen books. The only requirement for this professional military education program is that each Training Centre, Formation and Headquarters Forces Command lead the activity supporting their book and that the activity can be participated and shared via The Cove.
Like the Forces Command 100 Day Assessment, we will all own the Forces Command PME Program 2020-21. This program is our collective, collegiate and collaborative approach to reading and education in one 24-month period. 
The Forces Command PME Program 2020-21 aims to enhance our shared understanding and mutual trust throughout our organisation. The list is a record of how our Training Centres, Formations and Headquarters Forces Command thought, approached our profession and perceived the world in 2020-21. 
The Forces Command PME Program 2020-21 allows you to shape how we think critically, openly communicate, collaborate and creatively enable our people to learn, innovate and reach their personal and professional potential.
Next steps
Headquarters Forces Command will release a Task Order giving details to each Training Centre, Formation and Headquarters Forces Command about how to submit their nominations for Forces Command PME Program 2020-21. 
Nominations are required at the Professional Military Education Cell, Headquarters Forces Command, NLT COB Friday 29 November 2019 so that the program can be promulgated before units take leave at the end of the year. 
This will also allow for people to slip a title or two onto their Christmas wish-lists if they so desire!
We look forward to developing and implementing the Forces Command PME Program 2020-21 with all members of the Forces Command community. 
[1]CNBC,The extraordinary reading habits of Defense Secretary James Mattis, 15 Sep 2018> [Accessed 19 September 2019]
[2]The seventeen Australian Army Reading List 2019 categories are: Philosophers of War; Military Theory; Strategic; Joint; Operational; Tactical; Command, Leadership and the Profession of Arms; Ethics; Logistics; Australian Military History; Regional Context; An Australian Experience; Future War; Military Memoir; Personal Development; Fiction; Foundational Documents.
[3]The six US Army Chief of Staff’s Professional Reading List categories are: Strategic Environment; Regional Studies; History and Military History; Leadership; Army Profession; Fiction.



Chris Field

Major General Chris Field is Deputy Commanding General, Operations, US Army Central.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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