FORT KNOX, Ky -- The U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC) Officer Personnel Management Directorate's (OPMD) fall Council of Colonels (CoC) workshop met for the first time earlier this month. It had been held in greater Washington, D.C., in prior years but with HRC moving into Fort Knox, this was the conducive location. About 100 colonels, lieutenant colonels, majors and senior Army civilians attended the one-and-a-half day event.
The theme for the Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 event centered on adjustments to the officer personnel management system (OPMS) in areas, such as professional military education, evaluations and officer slating. Each council addresses different topics that impact the availability, competency, development or retention of compay grade, field grade and warrant officers.
One topic was the CGSC Intermediate Level Education (ILE) "Scholars Program," which involves student seminars ranging from eight to 16 students studying a variety of topics focusing on identified gaps in Army skill sets and competencies. As the program matures, research, culture and language, business, innovative leadership programs will be prominent among the course offerings.
CGSC scholars earn Joint Professional Military Education Level 1 (JPME1) and Military Education Level 4 (MEL4) qualifications, along with a master's degree from a respected civilian university or the CGSC.
Bob Kiser, chief of academic operations at the Combined Arms Center-Leadership Development and Education, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., spoke as a follow up to his initial brief to the CoC in March 2010. He is the primary author of the ILE 2010 White Paper, which envisioned the Scholars Program as one of several "broadening" alternatives to traditional ILE.
"The CGSC Scholars Program began a three-phase pilot in spring 2010 with eight students focused on counterinsurgency (COIN); the second pilot in fall 2010 increased to 32 students (topics: COIN, national intelligence, supply chain logistics); the third pilot in spring 2011 will have 24 students split three ways," Kiser said.
"Eight scholars will focus on strategic communications, and earn a master's of journalism degree in cooperation with the University of Missouri," he said.
"Eight scholars will embark a program of study focusing on ethics and the military professional, as part of the 'Year of the Army Profession' and complete a master of military arts and science (MMAS); eight will study COIN theory under Dr. Daniel Marston, Ph.D. (Oxford) in the third iteration of a challenging and successful seminar. The COIN program includes extensive travel and research, as well as completing requirements for the MMAS. All three groups will complete the core ILE curriculum as required to meet the learning outcomes for JPME1.
"The Scholars Program will reach operational status in academic year 2012, with 88 to 96 students -- split between August and February -- studying COIN, war dynamics, supply chain management, thus earning a master's degree from the University of Kansas," Kiser said.
"Also, they'll study Arabic culture and language through a Defense Language Institute and University of Kansas cooperative, and there will be other offerings."
Kiser explained the history behind the initiative.
"During a meeting, the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey wrote a note on a manila envelope that he gave to my boss, Dr. Chris King, the dean of academics for CGSC," Kiser said.
"The note described broadening resident ILE with offerings in culture, language, business or something else entirely. From that beginning, multiple alternatives to traditional ILE have sprung.
"We have a very good strategic communications effort at CGSC, but there is more work to do. In short, this is not the CGSOC/ILE you remember," Kiser said.
"In addition to multiple scholars' seminars, the ILE curriculum offers more than 100 electives. The course is diverse in ways that are not well known, with multiple language offerings, studies abroad, internships, robust experimentation in mobile learning platforms, while still offering the core re-bluing in operational art that CGSC is world renowned for," Kiser added.
Applications from prospective ILE students for the CGSC Scholars are detailed in the introductory message sent to each student in the months before their arrival at Fort Leavenworth. For more information contact Mr. Robert Kiser at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Six officers on the OPMD team planned and organized the quarterly conference, which began in 2005 to give senior leaders a way to staff issues. Each of the roughly 100 attendees received a folder with hard-copy briefing slides, evaluations and questionnaires. Major topics other than the ILE Scholars Program included: the Officer Evaluation Review (OER) system revision; Voluntary Transfer Incentive Program (VTIP); officer promotions update, and other officer policy programs.
Council team members from OPMD strategic initiatives officers were: Lt Col. Tess Wardell, team chief; Lt. Col. Richard Stebbins, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Carleton Keafer, Maj. Chico Bennett, Maj. Kevin Jackson and Capt. Robert Greiner, strategic initiatives officers.
The next Council of Colonels is scheduled for February 2011.