• SAMS honors best, brightest graduates

  • The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s SAMS graduates 138 officers.

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  • Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
    The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College’s School of Advanced Military Studies graduated 138 officers from two courses May 25 in Eisenhower Auditorium at the Lewis and Clark Center.
    More than 120graduated from the Advanced Military Studies Program and 16 graduates completed the Advanced Strategic Leadership Studies Program. The graduates included 19 international officers from 12 countries and four federal civilians representing three federal agencies.
    “This is the 20th anniversary of my graduation from SAMS,” said commencement speaker Maj. Gen. Thomas James, commander of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. “Congratulations on graduating from one of the most academically challenging schools in the Army. Over the course of your academic experience, you have developed the skills to become agile and adaptive leaders, critical and creative thinkers, effective communicators and operational problem solvers.”
    A 1985 graduate of the Citadel, James commissioned as an armor officer through ROTC. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff Officer Course, SAMS, National Defense University and the National War College, and has served as the director of the Mission Command Center of Excellence.
    James said SAMS graduates are trained to synthesize the elements of national power in joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational operations with effective communications. He said the emerging global operational environment describes a future of contested norms and persistent disorder.
    “SAMS graduates are expected to tackle the most complex problems,” James said. “Understand those expectations.”
    Twenty-four students earned academic honors and 12 received Iron Leader awards.
    Maj. Amos Fox received the Col. Thomas Felts Leadership Award. The Felts Leadership Award is considered the top award for SAMS graduates and is presented to the student who best exemplifies desired attributes of an Advanced Military Studies Program graduate. Felts, a SAMS senior service fellow who volunteered for a mission in Iraq in 2006, was killed in action. The CGSC Foundation sponsors the award.
    “Winning the Felts Leadership Award was entirely unexpected and not anything I was purposely trying to attain. It is an honor,” Fox said. “The award is based on the results after an evaluation of our seminar projects by a faculty panel.”
    Maj. Jacob Sweatland received the Iron Planner award for best physical fitness. He said physical fitness became a vital part of the daily routine for him and his family during the course. SAMS gave him a balanced perspective of conceptual and detailed planning to complement previous training.
    “I used my workout time for not only a stress reliever, but to reflect upon course study materials. Personally, for me, learning and physical fitness go hand-in-hand,” Sweatland said. “I was a field select and came directly to SAMS with my family from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey (Calif.). I am ready to go out, apply what I have learned and solidify the knowledge.”
    Page 2 of 3 - Sweatland’s spouse, Hillary, said understanding Jacob’s schedule and getting involved in the community was essential to establishing a family routine during the course.
    “We have a 7-year-old and a 3-year-old. We tried to make sure we ate breakfast together as a family, had afterschool family time and read bedtime stories,” Hillary said. “I got involved with the CrossFit group at the bubble gym, (Protestant Women of the Chapel), and we participated in Scouts. We enjoyed our time here.”
    Patricia Ladnier, an interagency student from the Department of Homeland Security, received the Arthur D. Simons Center for Interagency Cooperation Writing Award. She said the purpose of her thesis was to explore the federal statutory framework for homeland security and defense.
    “The goal is to set standards and physically protect critical infrastructure in the event said infrastructure owners fail to do so. I started research in July and finished in mid-April,” Ladnier said. “One of the benefits of a SAMS education is the focus on strategic planning and analysis that is intended to be operational and implemented across multiple departments and agencies.”
    Canadian Army Maj. William Dixon was honored for writing the best monograph for the Advanced Military Studies Program class. He said his topic was centered on conceptual to detailed planning and applying it to historical case studies.
    “I draw out some lessons learned how we, as current planners can transition (from conceptual to detailed planning). As an engineer I purposely used large-scale projects from World War II that showed how you transition a project from someone’s mind to boot prints on the ground,” Dixon said.
    Col. Eric Remoy received the award for the best monograph in the Advanced Strategic Leadership Studies Program graduates. He said he chose to write on the topic of understanding military suicide.
    “It’s a topic I wanted to write about and gain a better understanding of the issues involved. I learned a great deal,” Remoy said. “My thesis identifies a demographic, as well as recommends strategies and policies to reduce incidents across the entire military force.”
    The Advanced Military Studies Program is a 10-month long graduate-level course. The graduates of the AMSP program apply critical and creative thinking to solve complex problems, demonstrate mastery of joint and Army doctrine, and anticipate the future operational environment.
    The Advanced Strategic Leadership Studies Program is a senior service college program, equivalent to the Army War College. ASLSP students are senior lieutenant colonels, colonels and their civilian equivalents. The profile of military class members typically includes those having already commanded of a battalion-sized unit.
    All SAMS graduates receive the master of military art and science degree awarded by the CGSC based on students successfully completing the SAMS curriculum, passing an oral comprehensive exam and successfully completing an extensive monograph based on original research.
    Page 3 of 3 - Completed monographs are published electronically by the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library. The Higher Learning Commission accredits CGSC.
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