Abstract: Many in the public presume that the military is a stifling hierarchy that values conformist attitudes and limited vision. The experience of the last ten years has shown that creative thinking and decision making at the lowest levels is both critical to mission success and valued by leaders. This creative thinking has driven innovation in both technology and tactics that has enabled success by organizations in a very dynamic and complex world. This happened out of necessity for engaging a thinking and adaptive foe in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also because of how we are educating and developing junior military leaders to think. The nation’s service academies, including West Point, develop future military leaders using the framework of a liberal arts education focused on creating critical thinkers who are creative problem solvers. We want our leaders to be both Scholars and Warriors, and we take to heart the words attributed to Thucydides: “The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.” Our developmental and educational experiences seek to impart how to think, not what to think.
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Biography: Brigadier General Timothy E. Trainor, is the Dean at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point. Tim graduated with a Bachelor of Science from USMA in 1983 and entered the Engineer Branch of the US Army. As an engineer officer, Tim served in operational assignments around the world to include Germany, Honduras, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Fort Riley, Kansas and Sarajevo, Bosnia. Tim has an MBA from the Fuqua School of Business at Duke and a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. He is a member of the American Society of Engineering Management, and the American Society of Engineering Education. He is the Past President of Epsilon Mu Eta, the national Engineering Management Honor Society. Tim is a member of the Board of Fellows for the David Crawford School of Engineering at Norwich University and a Fellow of the American Society for Engineering Management. He was recently named the Engineering Manager of the Year for 2011 by the American Society for Engineering Management. Tim teaches courses in engineering management, systems engineering and decision analysis at West Point. As an analyst, Tim helped develop the Installation Status Report that provides the Army a standardized means to assess infrastructure and environmental conditions on installations to support resource allocation decisions. Tim deployed to Basrah, Iraq in the summer of 2007 and worked with the UK-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in helping the provincial Iraqi leaders improve their infrastructure revitalization plans. Tim’s previous position was as Professor and Head of the Department of Systems Engineering. He is married to COL Donna Brazil (USMA Class of 1983) who is an Academy Professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at USMA. They have a daughter Cory (20), who is currently a junior at West Point, son Danny (19) who is a freshman at West Point and son Zach (16) who is a junior at James I. O’Neill High School.
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Websites: www.usma.edu and www.dean.usma.edu/DeansCorner/