• Top logistician named

  • Cunningham named Master Logistician.

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Three tasks spread out over six months of competition will culminate in the presentation of the Major General James M. Wright Distinguished Master Logistician Award to Maj. Will Cunningham during the Command and General Staff Officer Course graduation June 14 on Main Parade.
    “It is a huge honor,” Cunningham said. “Not only with the 80 plus that took the first part of the test, but the four of us that were in the final part of it, all of us were outstanding guys, so it is truly an honor to be recognized as the best given the field that was in there.”
    The Master Logistician award was established in 1983. The purpose of the award is “to provide a challenging academic forum for students demonstrating a special aptitude for logistics,” according to the Command and General Staff College Foundation website. “This demanding extracurricular activity requires nominees to prepare a detailed logistical plan predicated upon a corps-level scenario and submit to a rigorous oral defense of their plan before a panel of experts.”
    The competition consisted of three phases, which began in December 2018.
    “Between all three steps, it was the full gamut of cognitive knowledge,” Cunningham said. “Each phase was different. They all tested base doctrinal knowledge of logistics, what we should be doing as well as critical thinking and creative thinking.”
    During the first phase, more than 80 candidates took a written logistics examination that encompassed a wide range of subjects, including corps logistics and financial management operations. Those who advanced from this phase were designated “Master Logisticians.”
    The second phase, which the top 10 candidates participate in, brings them in front of a board of logisticians who ask a series of scenario-based logistics questions.
    In the third and final phase, the top four finalists have one week to prepare a two-hour oral presentation to a board of senior logisticians. The session is a final evaluation of the candidates’ application of current doctrine, conceptual abilities and communication skills.
    Cunningham said this was the most difficult phase.
    “We all had the same scenario and it was, how do you get a large force into a country that has very little infrastructure and very little ability to sustain itself much less the larger U.S. force,” Cunningham said. “It was really a problem from all levels, from strategic all the way down to tactical level of sustainment.
    “The time devoted to it, the level of detail that you had to figure out, the creativity that went into the plan and then being able to bring that into one coherent brief, not only was it a challenge for knowledge of logistics, but also a challenge of actually presenting it,” Cunningham said. “My problem was condensing it to a two-hour presentation.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Scott Martin, CGSC Department of Logistics and Resource Operations assistant professor and Master Logistician finalists coordinator, said Cunningham’s overall strength was in his understanding of the concepts.
    “Based on the main criteria (in the third phase), Cunningham’s (presentation) stood out as he hit the main points, and he was able to articulate that plan in front of a panel of five senior officers,” Martin said. “He was able to demonstrate it with his oral presentation, the research he did and then being able to present that on PowerPoint slides is what made him stand apart from his other three peers.
    “It is very competitive because they all have their strengths and weaknesses,” he said. “It was just a few minor points that made him stand out from the other three.”
    Cunningham said participating in the competition better prepared him for his next assignment as the brigade support battalion executive officer for the 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division in Fort Carson, Colo., following graduation.
    “I absolutely feel more comfortable going into my next job hands down. The CGSC curriculum was great in bringing everything that involves warfighting together, and then this competition went above and beyond the curriculum to prepare me as a better logistician and critical creative thinker,” Cunningham said.
    “The CGSC itself and the instructors here are fantastic. They absolutely love what they do, and it is reassuring in the sense that I feel more prepared because of that. At the same time, this competition, everyone should do it because, if nothing else, it shows that you have that motivation to really test yourself.”
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