Curriculum Clarified

By LtCol Michael D. Wyly

I heartily applaud Maj William C. File’s article in the September GAZETTE, Some lessons from the Israelis. As Head, Tactics Division, Amphibious Warfare School (AWS), I have recommended it to every tactics instructor and student.

The article’s one flaw results from no fault of Maj Fite. The AWS of today is much improved over the AWS that Maj Fite may have attended. His article, therefore, is out of touch with what AWS is teaching.

Liddell-Hart’s Strategy of the Indirect Approach is a basic reference that every student is familiar with. Maneuver warfare and firepower-attrition are part of every instructor’s vocabulary. In January 1980, we conducted our first free-play exercise. There were no school solutions. Students produced no staff documents. They’made tactical decisions. Winners and losers were declared regardless of whether they represented the U.S. side or the enemy’s. The exercise will be repeated this year with some added sophistication. This was but one of several exercises in whch we abandoned the school solution (the old “yellow”) in favor of more subjective form of evaluating student work.

Principles of war are weighed and discussed all year, not forgotten about after a two-hour lecture. The acronym MOOSEMUSS is never mentioned. Students learn how J.F.C. Fuller’s list of principles evolved. They write essays on the principles, comparing them with events in required readings, including O’Ballance’s No Victor No Vanquished, Heinl’s Victory at High Tide, and Chew’s account of the Russo-Finnish War.