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Release No: 042-99
February 02, 1999


Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen has directed the Reserve Forces Policy Board (RFPB) to sponsor an education summit to "achieve a more Total Force approach for all military education programs." The initiative is another important step to integrate the military active and Reserve forces into a "truly seamless Total Force."

The summit will convene May 5-6, 1999 at the Army War College, Carlisle, Pa., and will bring together the top education leaders from each of the Services' active and Reserve components. Their charge will be to report back to Cohen by Sept. 30, 1999, with specific recommendations for changes to professional education policy, course content, curriculum structure and methods for instruction.

"The conditions in today's world demand that we seek nothing less than the power and professionalism of the Total Force," Cohen said. "The education summit will focus on developing a professional military education system that will ensure our leaders throughout the Department of Defense have a genuine understanding of the role and contributions of the National Guard and Reserve to our national security."

All levels of officer, noncommissioned officer and Department of Defense civilian professional education curricula will be considered.

"This type of summit has never been done before," said Terrence M. O'Connell, RFPB chairman. "We hope to structure an 'outside-of-the-box' type of meeting which will allow participants the freedom to be as innovative as possible in formulating ideas."

"I am pleased that the RFPB has been directed to undertake this very important initiative," said Charles L. Cragin, acting assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "It represents a significant step forward in our shared efforts to build and educate a Total Force that truly represents the increased role of the Guard and Reserve in the post-Cold War world."

For more than 50 years, the RFPB has advised the secretary of Defense on all matters relating to the Reserve forces. Its 24-member board evaluates proposals for changes to existing laws or policies, then recommends appropriate actions. The board represents a wide range of industrial, business, professional and civic experience, in addition to its military expertise.

For more information about the education summit, call Lt. Col. Terry Jones at the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs, (703) 695-3620, or visit the RFPB link on the Reserve Affairs website at www.ra.osd.mil.

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