FORT KNOX, Ky. – You are on a mission, but something goes wrong and your men get captured. Regardless, you’re expected to complete the mission, yet your platoon sergeant just stated he can extract the information needed to find your guys, although by illegal means, which may jeopardize the mission. However your mission, as you’ve been told by those above you, is key and people are waiting on your platoon to complete it. What do you do?
This is the type of scenario presented before 3rd Regiment Cadet Leaders Course (CLC) Alpha and Bravo Company as part of their Center for the Army Profession and Ethics (CAPE) Vignettes on June 15.
“We bring up real life situations and put the Cadets in the seat of the lieutenants, of the officers, who made the decisions before them and let them play out the ethical dilemmas in their head,” explained 1st Lt. Brendan Duke, Ft. Carson Colorado, 4th Infantry Division.
Duke shed light on how critical thinking is important to our future Army officers.
“We want them thinking about these situations now so that, if and when they do run into ethical dilemmas, they will have encountered the thought process before. If it’s not something new to them, they will start taking the steps necessary to make the best decision.”
The CLC Cadets will apply these critical thinking skills when they undergo MCLX. A training exercise over the span of multiple days that will simulate real life scenarios which they may face as future leaders in the Army.
“Having them do it here and now will better prepare them for out there, whether in their MCLX, at school, or if they become platoon leaders,” Duke said.
With more than 15 plus years of accumulated experience in the form of enlisted and officers guiding the Cadets, they have much wisdom to exploit Duke said.
“Our job is to ask open-ended questions and tie the big ideas together. We facilitate these open talks because everyone is not going to have the same viewpoint. We help talk the Cadets through different viewpoints and maybe get them to see things in a way they’ve never seen before.”
Duke added his own perspective of the discussions they facilitate, “It’s like I tell my platoon, ‘Every discussion is like a bowl of spaghetti and the entire discussion is going to have little pieces (noodles) of everything. No one little piece is going to be the whole story nor the right answer, but it does feed into it.’ So that’s something they have to think about as they’re going through these scenarios.”
The ultimate purpose is to build an Army officer that is more than pure strength Duke stated.
“We don’t want people who are just strong and can break through a wall. We want people who can think critically and go over the wall, around the wall, or under the wall if they have to.”