School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Matthew O. Ozolnieks

Primary Subject Area

Education, General


Cognitive Interoperability, Professional Military Education, Multinational Operations, Cultural Intelligence, Military Staff Planning Exercises




The purpose of this qualitative non-experimental single-case study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the complex social phenomena of a military staff planning exercise for multinational military officers completing their intermediate level education at a U.S. military service college. Given the critical nature of military interoperability in future warfare, the professional military education domain must determine the most effective means of educating officers to succeed in their future tasks, which requires the development of cognitive interoperability. This study examined the “how” and “why” of a multinational staff planning exercise by researching the central question; How does the use of a combined staff planning exercise lead to the perception of cognitive interoperability among participant multinational military officers? Subordinate research questions are designed to determine the operational linkages between the exercise construct, the impact of culture on the learning objectives, and the use of professional military education as a means to pursue cognitive interoperability. Building upon the foundational theoretical works of Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory and Thibaut and Kelley’s interdependence theory, this study included an evaluation of various evidence types, documents, interviews, and observations. Findings showed how a multinational staff planning exercise could develop a degree of cognitive interoperability among U.S. and U.K. Army officers. Curriculum, time allocation, and institutional capacity directly affect the attainment of learning outcomes, with social exchanges and interpersonal interactions facilitating cognitive interoperability.

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