Maj. Orlandon Howard | U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Public Affairs
The U.S. Army Combined Arms Center hosted its first Army Strategic Education Program-Command course of the year with 11 flag officers from active and Reserve components and two from NATO ally countries attending at Fort Leavenworth Jan. 25-29.
ASEP-C is a weeklong developmental course for one- and two-star flag officers assigned to command positions. Students are screened for COVID risks and symptoms before each class.
Nearly half the attendees command tactical divisions, including four U.S. Army division commanders and two French and U.K. Army division commanders. A deputy commanding general for the U.S. Army’s III Corps also attended.
The French and U.K. commanders were a unique component of this cohort. Maj. Gen. Laurent Michon commands the French Army’s 3rd Division and Maj. Gen. Michael Elviss commands the U.K. Army’s 3rd Division.
The senior leaders convened at a pivotal time as the Army transitions its focus to fighting at division and corps levels while building capability to conduct multi-domain operations in high-intensity conflict and large-scale combat operations.
The course included weighty discussions on a range of topics such as current operational environments, Army modernization and capability development, Army and joint doctrine, warfighting at corps level, sustainment and law of warfare.
The group heard from some of the Army’s most senior leaders about combat readiness and senior-level leadership and expectations, including Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army; Gen. Michael Garrett, Forces Command commander; and Gen. Paul Funk II, Training and Doctrine Command commander.
Retired Army Gen. David McKiernan also shared insight about command and lessons for large-scale combat operations. McKiernan commanded the 1st Cavalry Division from 1999-2001, the Combined Forces Land Component Command during the invasion of Iraq from 2002-2004, and was the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan from 2008-2009.
Elviss and Michon said they appreciated hearing from such senior leaders during the course.
“The extraordinary commitment of the four-star community from the chief down to come and talk to us has been amazing. That time with senior leaders is fundamental,” Elviss said.
Michon also weighed in, saying it was “amazing to meet other commanding generals, to hear from the chief (of staff) of the Army, and have exchanges about leadership, current life, training and readiness of both armies.”
The two commanders agreed that they also valued the discussions about warfighting.
“It was fantastic to talk through all the elements of the offense, defense, transitional phases … with one- and two-star commanders, and commanders from the centers of excellence, who are all experts in their fields,” Elviss said.
“The course’s focus on the fight at division and corps levels was very important for me,” Michon said.
“I am the first French general to come to this course as a division commander,” he said. “That’s an enormous opportunity.
“The best takeaways were the human exchanges about how we deal with the same problems to educate people, to train hard, to develop the leadership of subordinates, and to learn at every age and every step our military lives,” Michon said. “(The class size) was small enough to exchange in an intense manner.”
The French and U.K. commanders and their divisions will also participate in a U.S. Army warfighter exercise in April, hosted by the Mission Command Training Program. The exercise will feature III Corps (Fort Hood) as the high command, leading U.S., U.K. and French divisions against MCTP’s World Class OPFOR. Michon and Elviss’ attendance to ASEP-C will enhance their ability to conduct operations as a mission partner in the exercise and achieve their interoperability goals.