1st Advanced Operations Course students graduate under new satellite program

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Students, family members and faculty stand as the graduation begins for the first Advanced Operations Course under the Command and General Staff College’s Tailored, Talent-Based Military Education Level 4 Strategy April 20 in DePuy Auditorium. ?Photo by Dan Neal/Army University Public Affairs

Harry Sarles/Army University Public Affairs

The first Command and General Staff College Advanced Operations Course graduated under its Tailored, Talent-Based Military Education Level 4 Strategy April 20 at DePuy Auditorium. Fifty-two students completed the course in temporary duty status at Fort Leavenworth before returning to their home stations or moving to their next assignments.

Maj. Kristine Keating, V Corps at Fort Knox, was recognized as the class leader. Maj. Matthew Rochford, Army University, Fort Leavenworth, was named as the top honor student.

Brig. Gen. Douglas A. Paul, deputy commanding general, Combined Arms Center, Army National Guard, was the guest speaker for the graduation. Paul conveyed three messages to the graduates.

Firstly, he congratulated the students.

“You are the future of the Army,” he told them, noting that they had made the decision to pursue an Army career.

Secondly, he thanked the students for who they are and for continuing to serve, their families for their support, and the cadre for preparing the class for their future roles in higher echelons of command and staff leadership.

“There’s not a lot of folks that want to raise their hand and do the hard tasks,” he said. “It’s difficult, folks move around a lot, they’re away from home. What we’re asked to do is not always easy, where we’re sent is not always pleasant. Here you are, ready to take on those difficult challenges.”

Lastly, he said that the country and the Army needs the graduates. Noting the key elements of the AOC course, he said Military Decision-Making Process never goes away.

“From company grade to field grade to general officer to civilian positions following your service, you can’t go wrong with your MDMP principles,” he said.

“There’s no more looking up,” he said. “You are the ubiquitous ‘they.’ It’s on your shoulders. Take it seriously.”

Team 26 of CGSC is the team designated as the first iteration of the new strategy. Team 26, the blended learning team, is the result of an Army operation order establishing the program. The team completed the first Common Core Class under the program in December 2021.

Officers selected for the Command and General Staff Officer Course attend either a 10-month resident course at Fort Leavenworth, a blended satellite program, or a distance-learning program. As a result, only half of CGSOC students were previously exposed to the Fort Leavenworth resident experience. This lack of diverse small-group interaction created a gap in professional growth for many officers. However, the new, talent-based program will allow more officers to attend at least a portion of their CGSOC experience at Fort Leavenworth.

Graduation of the AOC cohort that began in January established the capability to conduct both AOC and CGSOC common core courses. The students attend classes parallel but distinct from the students attending the academic year 2022 resident course.

Distinguished graduates (top 10 percent): Maj. Jonathan Mole, Fort Bliss, Texas; Maj. Michael Fisher, Denver; Capt. Jeffrey Horning, Fort Hood, Texas; Maj. Brian Smith, Fort Drum, N.Y.; and Rochford.

When fully operational, Fort Leavenworth will see 192 students per year in the common core course and another 192 students per year in AOC. The satellite campuses at Fort Belvoir, Va., and Redstone Arsenal, Ala., will continue to teach the CGSOC common core curriculum in a temporary duty status.

The graduation ceremony can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/USACGSC/videos/958682568074123/.

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