The Nigerian Army may soon undergo a radical overhaul and restructuring to make it fit into current models of warfare and military engagement. This will enable it to adequately respond to the current unpredictable nature of adversaries and challenges of 21st Century military engagements.
These were snippets from the charge given by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Yusuf Buratai, when he lectured officers and the rank and file on the need to drop old ideas and think critically about how to win wars. They must discard their old mentality and adopt critical thinking, he said. On this way, they can handle the unpredictable challenges being faced by militaries in the 21st Century.
Delivering the charge on Wednesday while unveiling some books on critical thinking written by an officer of the Nigerian Army, Col. Charles Dalo Nengite, he said the Nigerian Army was determined to be counted among militaries engaged in critical thinking in the discharge of its duties.
Buratai’s comments appeared to indicate that the Nigerian Army might soon review its curriculum and models of training in order to keep its troops abreast of modern tactics of military engagement.
He was represented on the occasion by the Nigerian Army Chief of Policy and Plans, Maj-Gwn. Chris Jemitola.
The books were unveiled as part of
the just concluded Chief of Army Staff’s Combined Second and Third Quarter Conference 2017 which took place from September 18-20, 2017 at the Army Headquarters Command Officers’ Mess Abuja.
Nengite wrote the books as part of efforts to enhance the capacity of Nigerian Army personnel in creativity and innovation in the application of Critical Thinking.
While unveiling the three books; “Curriculum for Basic Critical Thinking and Judgement”, “Curriculum for Self-Awareness in Critical Thinking and Judgement” and “Curriculum for Advanced Critical Thinking and Judgement”, as well as “Curriculum for Self-Awareness in Critical Thinking and Judgement Workbook”, Buratai said top military and management experts had rated Critical Thinking as the most important skill set for the complex strategic environment of the 21st century.
He said the books are invaluable to the cultivation of an improved process for decision making.
•Brain Over Brawn
This is especially for future wars which are not necessarily won by those with superior weaponry but possibly by those who have the ability to be creative and innovative in the application of critical thinking. The Chief of Army Staff further stated that it is now a fact that the adversaries being engaged by most militaries are becoming wiser and more unpredictable.
Therefore, to be ahead of them, militaries must ensure they have an adaptive mindset that is realistic, open and unassuming, which no doubt requires the need to be aware of biases, logical fallacies, and assumptions. Thus, he said, the concept of Critical Thinking is a necessity for future leaders of which the Nigerian Army is poised to be in the vanguard of the learning.
He commended the author for finding the time to write and publish the books, which he described as innovative and enjoined officers take advantage of the knowledge contained in the books to improve their knowledge and capacity. He also challenged them to write books for the benefit of the Nigerian Army and the society.
Reviewing the books earlier, Brig-Gen. Charles Ofoche, who is also Director of Studies at the Army War College, Nigeria, said the world order is under constant threats and therefore some military strategists are of the opinion that military officers should have a change of mindset and mental model to successfully operate in the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous environment. He said to achieve this, Critical Thinking is a valuable tool in this regard.
Ofoche further noted that the books were built on Prof. Steven Gerras’ approach to learning Critical Thinking and judgment which hinges on three cardinal points.
The first is to create the need through examples and common Critical Thinking mistakes in our daily lives.
The second is to provide the basic knowledge of the concept and the gap in the thinking process while the final point is to practice the concept in real life or simulated situations.
Nengite attended the United States Army War College and did the nation proud when he bagged six Distinguished Awards and Honours, as well as the Chief of Army Staff’s Commendation Award back home.
Buratai had in August 2016 urged officers and the rank and file of the Nigerian Army to ensure they update themselves regularly.
Buratai have the advice while addressing newsmen at Kachia, Kaduna State after he fired some shots in a mock war as one of the concluding exercises for graduating cadets.
“They must be up to date, not necessarily getting the basic military training only, they must be up to date in terms of current affairs and in terms of global trend.
“They must be current in Information Communication Technology and I am sure they will go places,” he said.
The Nigerian Army chief said the exercise is otherwise known as ‘Battle Inoculation,’ was good for the cadets as it would make them have war experience, especially what troops were facing in the North-East.
Speaking earlier to cadets of the 63rd Regular Course of the NDA, the COAS commended them for showing discipline required of soldiers in a war situation.
“This is the culmination of the totality of your experiences that you have gained from the various military books,” Buratai said.
“What you have put into practice here today is fundamental to winning battles. You are as good as battle tested.”