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LTC Peter Kilner

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kilner is an Academy Professor at West Point and serves as Director of the Center for the Advancement of Leader Development and Organizational Learning. 

A 1990 graduate of West Point, he served in a variety of Infantry assignments, including leading an Infantry platoon in Germany and commanding a heavy-weapons company in the 82nd Airborne Division. Since 2006, he has served on the faculty at West Point. He holds an M.A. in Philosophy from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Design from Penn State.

Lieutenant Colonel Kilner’s interests and expertise are interdisciplinary, including military ethics, the design and facilitation of online learning communities, and peer-to-peer leader development. He currently teaches both Philosophy and Military Science at West Point and conducts action-research on the development of Army cadets and junior officers. He has conducted more than 300 in-depth interviews of junior officers about their combat-leadership experiences, spending time in Iraq in 2003 and 2007 and in Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. 

His work in military ethics has initiated a profession-wide discussion on the moral justification for killing in war. His 2002 article in Military Review, “Military leaders’ obligation to justify killing in war,” identified a shortcoming in military training, and his 2010 article in Army, “A moral justification for killing in war,” offered a solution that has been incorporated at West Point and many other organizations across the military. He maintains a military ethics blog as http://soldier-ethicist.blogspot.com.

For over a decade, LTC Kilner has been intimately involved in designing, developing, and leading the Army’s first and most successful online community of practice, the 12,000-member Company Command forum.  His 2002 article in Military Review, “Transforming Army learning through communities of practice,” catalyzed the development of online communities across the Army, and a 2005 book that he co-authored, Company Command: Unleashing the Power of the Army Profession, is used to educate and train leaders of online communities in the military services. 

LTC Kilner also has a strong research and practitioner interest in peer-to-peer leader development. The model of P2P leader development created by his team was recognized as a “Top 20 Business Idea” in 2006 by Harvard Business Review, and the model informs their continued design and leadership of online and face-to-face leader development systems. He is also the co-author of A Platoon Leader’s Tour, which uses true stories of junior officers in Iraq to catalyze conversation among junior officers for individual and organizational learning.

Other Kilner media:

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