• CGSOC students enjoy German Exchange

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  • Maj. Christine Miller | Command and General Staff College
    Twelve Command and General Staff Officer Course students were selected last September to participate in the 2017-2018 German Exchange program at the Führungsakademie der Bundeswehr in Hamburg, Germany. The German Exchange program has been occurring for 51 years and is the oldest exchange program at the Command and General Staff College. The students selected for this program spent time outside of CGSC in October and November to prepare for this trip, learning about the FüAkBw, the Comprehensive Operational Planning Directive, NATO Operational Planning Process and studying the Battle of the Bulge in preparation for the staff ride.
    The students arrived in Hamburg, Germany, on Nov. 26, 2017, to participate in the NATO-sponsored Exercise Determined Effort 2017 from Nov. 27 to Dec. 7. This exercise was comprised of German, British, Austrian, Polish, Dutch and U.S. officers.
    During the exercise, the CGSC students were divided into three different corps planning staffs, with most U.S. students being placed in key positions. Throughout the exercise the students received mentorship from German instructors within their area of expertise to ensure students considered all aspects of the challenges within the scenario. Additionally, the entire group received mentorship from retired Lt. Gen. Van Loon, who acted as the corps commander throughout the exercise.
    All the U.S. students participated in media training, which included being interviewed by an actual German news reporter; this was the most realistic media training the U.S. students had ever received.
    Upon the completion of the exercise, the 12 U.S. students and three German students participated in the Battle of the Bulge staff ride for two days. The first day of the staff ride retraced the attack by Kampfgrüppe Peiper from Prüm, Germany, to La Gleize, Belgium. The second day focused on the defense of Bastogne and a visit to the Bastogne War Museum. The staff ride concluded with a visit to the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg, which features Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s gravesite alongside soldiers from his beloved Third Army.
    On Jan. 29, 12 German students arrived at Fort Leavenworth to participate in CGSOC’s O299 division exercise. The German students consisted of one medical corps officer, one airborne infantry officer, one mountain infantry officer, three light infantry officers, one mechanized infantry officer, one armor officer, one signal officer, one aviation officer, one engineer officer and one logistics officer.
    The German students were quickly integrated into various roles based on their assigned staff groups. They participated in the U.S. Army’s military decision-making process and joint operations planning process as U.S. students planned the operation. Most of the Germans served as the 9th Panzer Brigade commander during the simulation portion of the exercise. Overall, the German students became integrated into American culture and were able to interact with the different U.S. military services, as well as other international officers attending CGSOC. After duty hours, they were able to explore Kansas City, Weston and Leavenworth, and were able to experience the Super Bowl.
    Page 2 of 2 - This exchange was an extremely valuable experience for both countries. On the American side, the CGSOC students were able to work with and learn from many different countries during Exercise Determined Effort, which is a unique experience. From the Germans’ perspective, the students were able to learn the U.S. Army’s MDMP and participate in events that are not inherent in their culture, such as a combined arms rehearsal. They were also able to experience leadership and history classes, which they do not have in their curriculum.
    The German students were also able to experience local culture, including Kansas City barbecue and the National World War I Museum.
    This program was a success and enabled each country to establish a strong foundation for international relationships that all students will continue to maintain over the years to come. This is an absolutely tremendous experience that every CGSOC student should attempt to take advantage of in the future.
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