Defining a competency framework to shape the professional education of national security master strategists: a web-based Delphi study



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Texas A&M University


The purpose of this study was to develop a competency framework to shape development of a professional education program for master strategists in national security. The research problem focused on the absence of a competency framework to guide professional education of strategists who must be capable of conceptualization and innovation master strategists. The outcome of this study was a set of the most important components that constitute a professional education framework for master strategists. This Web-based study followed a RAND Delphi heuristic model that is qualitative in nature. Instrumentation for the first round consisted of a short vignette that placed panelists in a unique situation of being able to engage a "time traveler" from 20 years in the future. The time traveler represented a source of perfect knowledge, but could provide only a "yes" or "no" response to panel member questions concerning master strategist professional education needs in the year 2022. In the subsequent two Delphi rounds, the instruments consisted of panel member questions from the previous round. The panel of experts consisted of 12 professional strategists in the field of national security strategy. The results of the study provided support to the description of master strategists as strategic leaders, strategic theoreticians, and strategic practitioners. Panelists highlighted four content domains of personal attributes, security framework, theorybased knowledge, and culture and values that encompass the range of competencies for a master strategist professional education framework. Panel members detailed a need for master strategists to have a higher order temporal perspective to conceive time as epochs and ages, defined as shifts in development punctuated by events and prominent periods in progress, respectively. Panelists described a master strategist professional education framework that mirrored the theory of profound knowledge with meta-competencies as the basic building blocks.