Army reorganizes courses for promotion to major, lieutenant colonel
January 7, 2005
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — The U.S. Army is revamping two of its classes geared primarily toward captains and majors, affecting courses provided by the 3747th Multi-functional Training Brigade for reserve and active-duty officers in Europe.
The Combined Arms Service Staff School, a requirement for most captains to be promoted to major, is being eliminated. The Command and General Staff Course, required for most majors to be promoted to lieutenant colonel, is switching to the Intermediate Level Education course.
The changes come as the Army Training and Doctrine Command falls in line with the Army’s efforts to streamline systems and update technology, said Lt. Col. Jonathan Beard, deputy commander of the 3747th brigade.
“The Officer Education System is in transition,” Beard said. “The [Combined Arms Service Staff School] is sort of outdated. With the transition, TRADOC is getting in line with the rest of the transforming Army.”
One change, he said, is the addition of scenarios from recent conflicts, such as Iraq and Afghanistan, to the curriculum.
The combined arms course has changed to the Combined Arms Exercise, a 16-day course offered for a limited time to officers who did not attend the Captain’s Career Course, Beard said.
Active-duty captains in nonoperational career fields, including some logistics, medical and judge advocate general branches, can attend the course offered by the 3747th Brigade, according to Lt. Col. Gary Cleland, who until recently was the Officer Education System Battalion commander. Operational branches include infantry, artillery and armor, among others.
Information offered in the former combined arms course and the current Combined Arms Exercise is now offered in the Captain’s Career Course to lieutenants and junior captains, Beard said.
The new Combined Arms Exercise course will be offered through academic year 2006. Officers in operational branches who don’t qualify for it in Europe must have taken the Combined Arms Service Staff School course or have a waiver signed by a colonel or above after receiving credit by serving in a staff position during a deployment, Cleland said.
The Command and General Staff Course has changed to the Intermediate Level Education course. The 3747th will offer one final phase of the course this year before switching to the intermediate course, Beard said.
Traditionally, CGSC was a two-year course. Now, the course is offered over a 13-month period including two, two-week blocks of training and the rest being individual duty training. In Germany, the final Command and General Staff Course will be offered at Grafenwöhr and either Kaiserslautern or Heidelberg for the individual duty phase. The two-week annual training blocks will be conducted only at Grafenwöhr, Beard said.
Instructors from the 3747th attended workshops in order to make the changes to classes offered at Grafenwöhr.
“For every four hours that an instructor spends at the podium, he has to spend up to four hours preparing for the class,” Cleland said. “Our instructors are very professional with a good base of knowledge. It’s a lot of work, but they are willing to do it because they realize the benefits to the Army.”
The new formats for the classes, including smaller blocks of instruction, allow for any future changes to the courses to be made much more simply, Cleland said.
Although the changes to the officer courses may make things more difficult for instructors and the officers who must take the courses, the changes are necessary, Beard said.
“Technology has always outpaced doctrine. [Training and Doctrine Command] is trying to make sure there is no lag between technology and doctrine,” he said. “If it didn’t evolve like this, we would still be riding horses into combat.”