5 Questions for the Command and General Staff College Commandant
January 22, 2009
By LTG Caldwell
Question: What did you hope to gain from the Sister Service College Conference and were those expectations met'
Answer: The conference exceeded our expectations. Today's era of persistent conflict demands a comprehensive approach to operations and also to how we train and how we educate. This conference brought together leadership and provided an opportunity to share best practices and new opportunities . More importantly we gained a better perspective of the common challenges we face in the education of our field grade officers and ways we can work together to help improve this process.
Question: What particular insights did you learn from your fellow Commandants'
Answer: It is hard to select just one, but I would say I now have a clearer picture of particular strengths for each and the challenges they face in their specific Service environment. This understanding will go a long way toward focusing our efforts to achieve quality education across the Services.
Question: What do you hope they took away from their visit'
Answer: The Combined Arms Center and Ft. Leavenworth is known as the intellectual center of the Army. We educate warfighters and the next generation of leadership. We've focused on preparing adaptive leaders and creative thinkers and we hope that some of those ideas may be worth translating and sharing.
Question: Moving forward, what do you consider the top educational priorities for CGSC'
Answer: Our first priority - developing adaptive leaders has not changed over the years. We still must provide our field grade officers with the skills and decision-making processes to succeed in the increasingly diverse and complex set of missions they will face when executing full spectrum operations. Every officer is a leader and a great many of our students are preparing to transition from the direct level of leadership into organizational leaders where they will lead larger more diverse organizations. What has changed, what is different from when I was sitting in the classroom, is the complexity of the world these young leaders face and the range of experience they bring to the table when they come in here. Those two factors combined test us like never before and make it incumbent upon us to provide a world class faculty that can challenge the students and expand their skill sets.
Another priority we continue to emphasize is the incorporation of our interagency partners into the classroom - both as students and as faculty members. Every classroom includes our Multinational, Joint and Reserve component partners - this is vital to the shared learning experience. We'd like to build and expand on that diversity and include our interagency partners for a comprehensive approach. We are making great strides in this arena, but still have a long way to go. We cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of sharing this knowledge and these experiences. We will continue to pursue these opportunities across CGSC.
Question: Anything to add'
Answer: We believe this conference is a valuable opportunity to assemble the leadership who will shape what is arguably the most important officer education experience - Intermediate Level Education. The contemporary operating environment and new and emerging threats to our national security demand that we are prepared to collaborate, coordinate and cooperate among multilateral partners in future operations and engagements. As educators we all benefit from each other's ideas as we press forward to constantly evolve and develop our curriculum and faculty and better leverage our collective institutions . We're looking forward to our next meeting!