Professional military education in the South African national defence force : the role of the military academy

Esterhuyse, Abel Jacobus (2007-03)

340 leaves printed on single pages, preliminary pages i-xvii and numbered pages 1-322. Includes bibliography, table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, list of abbreviations.

Dissertation (PhD)--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The study represents a descriptive analysis of the tensions that drive the need for an educated military in South Africa and, more specifically the role of the South African Military Academy in the provision thereof. The purpose of the research was to demarcate the proper role of the South African Military Academy in the academic and professional preparation of officers for the South African National Defence Force (SANDF). This purpose necessitated, firstly, an analysis of the need for education in armed forces in general and in South Africa in particular, with specific reference to the tensions underpinning military education and training. It secondly called for a broad assessment of the nature of professional military education in the SANDF at large to contextualise the role and function of the South African Military Academy. These discussions are based on a literature overview, document analysis and unstructured interviews with decision makers. In the first part of the study, a framework is developed for the education of officers. The framework is based on the assumption that modern military professionalism is rooted in a need for training to develop military skills, education to understand and develop the military body of knowledge and experience as the application of skills and knowledge. It is also based on the identification of four knowledge clusters that need to be the focus of officer education, namely the external security environment within which armed forces operate, the nature of armed forces as organisations, the professional employment of armed force(s), and the physical environment within which armed forces operate. The framework highlights three levels of officer development: the making of lieutenants, the making of colonels, and the making of generals. This framework is used for the analysis of education, training and development in the SANDF. Both the positive and negative attributes as well as trends in training and education in the SANDF are discussed. The discussion serves as the departing point for an outline of the debate about the role of the Military Academy since democratisation in 1994. It is argued that there is no clarity about the role and function of the Military Academy. Critical questions are also asked about the nature of the academic programmes offered to officers at the Military Academy. The departmental level agreement between the Department of Defence and the University of Stellenbosch is pointed out as the raison d'être for many of the problems with which the Military Academy is confronted. The study finally highlights the need for education as a requirement for officership in the SANDF, a reconsideration of military socialisation at the Military Academy, the difficult position of the Faculty of Military Science, the need for a core academic programme, and structural changes that are needed at the Military Academy. It is recommended that, like many foreign military academies, the future existence of the Military Academy be assured through national legislation. The involvement of the University of Stellenbosch in the education of young officers at the Military Academy should not be terminated. However, the existence, functioning, organisation and structure of the Military Academy should not be based on a “goodwill-approach” between the University and the Department of Defence.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die studie bied beskrywende analise van die spannings wat die behoefte aan opgevoede weermag in Suid-Afrika onderlê en, meer spesifiek, die rol van die Militêre Akademie in die voorsiening van opvoeding in dié verband. Die besondere oogmerk van die navorsing is die afbakening van die werklike rol van die Suid-Afrikaanse Militêre Akademie in die akademiese en professionele voorbereiding van offisiere vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag (SANW). Hierdie oogmerk vereis, eerstens, ontleding van die noodsaaklikheid vir die opvoeding van weermagte in die algemeen en in Suid-Afrika in die besonder, met spesifieke verwysing na die spannings wat militêre opvoeding en opleiding onderlê. Dit noodsaak, tweedens, breë waardering van die aard van professionele militêre opvoeding in die SANW om die rol en funksie van die Suid-Afrikaanse Militêre Akademie te kontekstualiseer. Die besprekings is gebaseer op literatuuroorsig, dokumentontleding en ongestruktureerde onderhoude. In die eerste deel van die studie word raamwerk vir die opvoeding van offisiere ontwikkel. Dié raamwerk is gebaseer op die aanname dat moderne militêre professionalisme gebaseer is op militêre opleiding om vaardighede te ontwikkel, opvoeding om die militêre kennisliggaam te verstaan en ontwikkel, asook ervaring as toepassing van vaardighede en kennis. Die raamwerk omvat ook die identifisering van vier fokus kennisareas, naamlik die eksterne omgewing waarin weermagte opereer, die organisatoriese aard van krygsmagte, die professionele aanwending van krygsmag(te), en die fisiese omgewing waarin krygsmagte opereer. Die raamwerk beklemtoon voorts drie vlakke van offisiersopvoeding: die ontwikkeling van luitenante, die ontwikkeling van kolonels, en die ontwikkeling van generaals. Die raamwerk word vervolgens vir ontleding van opvoeding, opleiding en ontwikkeling in die SANW gebruik. Beide die positiewe en die negatiewe kenmerke sowel as tendense van opleiding en opvoeding in die SANW word bespreek. Dié bespreking dien as vertrekpunt vir ontleding van die debat oor die rol van die Militêre Akademie sedert demokratisering in 1994. Daar word aangevoer dat daar geen duidelikheid oor die rol en funksie van die Militêre Akademie bestaan nie. Kritiese vrae word gevra oor die aard van die akademiese programme wat aan offisiere by die Militêre Akademie gebied word. Die departementele ooreenkoms tussen die departement van Verdediging en die Universiteit Stellenbosch word voorgehou as die raison d'être van baie probleme waarmee die Akademie gekonfronteer word. Die studie beklemtoon die behoefte aan opvoeding as vereiste vir offisierskap in die SANW, die heroorweging van militêre sosialisering by die Militêre Akademie, die heroorweging van die posisie van die Fakulteit Krygskunde, die behoefte aan akademiese kernleerplan, en strukturele veranderinge wat by die Militêre Akademie vereis word. Daar word aanbeveel dat, soos in die geval van verskeie buitelandse militêre akademies, die toekoms van die Militêre Akademie deur nasionale wetgewing verseker word. Die betrokkenheid van die Universiteit Stellenbosch in die opvoeding van offisiere moenie daardeur beëindig word nie. Die bestaan, funksionering, organisering en struktuur van die Militêre Akademie moet egter nie op “welwillendheidsooreenkoms” tussen die Universiteit en die Departement van Verdediging gebaseer wees nie.

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