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Executive Education Offers New Strategy Course for Military Leaders

August 30, 2023

Steve Lux, director of executive education at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, says its National Security Studies program is always looking for courses providing value for the nation’s military leaders.

An example of that mission is The Discipline and Practice of Strategy, a new course offered on the Syracuse campus July 23 to 28.

The course was designed “to give participants knowledge of strategy as a specific discipline, an awareness of its application to the special class of challenges that truly warrant its exercise, and a toolkit of how to think strategically, formulate strategies and act with strategic coherence.”

It was coordinated by Steve Grundman, program manager for National Security Studies at Maxwell.

“This is a new course he imagined,” Lux explains. “We’re (at Executive Education) always looking for something new.”

He notes Maxwell has been offering national security courses for more than three decades in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD).

“They mostly have been geared towards rising generals and colonels,” he notes. “However, we’ve been imagining courses for those a little bit earlier in their careers.”

Lux says the Department of Defense takes the education of their military leaders seriously and likes to tap into the expertise of universities such as Syracuse.

The Discipline and Practice of Strategy was developed in collaboration with the Strategic Leadership Division of the U.S. Army.

“The Army trains personnel to think strategically,” Lux explains.

However, Maxwell’s National Security Studies program tries to provide them with fresh perspectives.

“It kind of takes them out of their DoD bubble,” Lux says.

As with all Executive Education programs at Maxwell, the course featured respected academics from across the nation, as well as high-level professionals in defense.

“These are characters who are just well known in the field,” Lux says.

In the case of the strategy course, Syracuse’s Vice Chancellor for Strategic Initiatives, J. Michael Haynie, facilitated participation by Brynt Parmeter, the first chief talent management officer at the Department of Defense, a position in the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness.

“He showed up in a way that went beyond our expectations,” Lux says. “Parmeter was hired to handle human resource problems across the entire DoD.”

The Department of Defense announced Parmeter as its inaugural chief talent management officer in April.

“With the need to keep pace with evolving threats, and a rapidly changing labor market and workforce, Mr. Parmeter will work across the military departments, Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and with interagency partners to lead the development and implementation of the DoD Total Force talent acquisition and management strategy,” the department said. “In this role, he will oversee updates and reforms for remote and hybrid work, the use of enabling technology, practices for developing and tracking talent, and encouraging movement of talent across components, agencies and non-governmental entities, which will help promote flexible career pathways and increase retention.” 

Another notable speaker was Lawrence Freedman, emeritus professor of war studies at the prestigious King’s College London. He appeared virtually to present “An Introduction to Strategy.”

As a first-time course, Lux and Grundman were hoping for 30 participants, and they drew 33.

“I think it met all of our expectations,” Lux says, noting the Army has asked Executive Education to deliver a second course in 2024, July 29 – August 2. The hope is to attract more students outside the military to attend.

The next National Security Studies course offered through Executive Education is National Security Management. It’s available online weekly from Sept. 13 to Oct. 11 and on campus Oct. 21 to 27. Enrollment is limited. For more information, please visit Maxwell's National Security Studies webpage


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