By Major Gerald L. Bowman, Jr.January 25, 2018
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.--The Command and General Staff College hosted five French officers that are currently attending the Ecole de Guerre in Paris in January. The Ecole de Guerre first opened in 1751 and educates students as an institution for military higher education. Similar to the Command and General Staff College, there is selective admission process for the officers that attend. The Ecole de Guerre curriculum covers topics such as joint warfare, as well as international relations and planning.
The French students participated in the Command and General Staff Officer Course exercise focusing on the Joint Operational Planning Process. In this block of instruction students confront a realistic scenario as a U.S. Army Corps headquarters serving as a land component command. The students joined the Command and General Staff Officers Course class in a critical period of the exercise, as the staff groups entered the course of action comparison phase.
Over a period of two weeks, French students were partnered with U.S. officers who served as sponsors, assisted the international officers in integrating with the staff group, and facilitated cultural exchange. Rather than serving as observers, the French officers were relied upon for their expertise and became part of the staff group as well as the ongoing planning process.
Students reported that the greatest payoff from the exchange was that French students served as principals in their areas of expertise and conducted critical portions of briefings. Major Yan Queran of the French Army worked with U.S. Maj. Nathaniel Tucker. "Major Queran was placed in the Engineer Protection cell, and during the wargame he played the role of commander of the international forces. During Phase IV, Stability, Major Queran assumed the lead for planning" Tucker said. The American students were impressed with the French student's ability to immediately contribute to planning upon their arrival at Fort Leavenworth.
The French students report that the pairing with U.S. students was most helpful to their appreciation of the American educational experience. Having a dedicated partner to dialogue with greatly contributed to the learning environment and facilitated the exchange according to French Army Liaison Officer Colonel Pierre-Olivier Marchand. With the partnership of the American officers, the French students were able to attend additional courses such as leadership instruction and sample a portion of the Command and General Staff Officers Course outside of the practical exercise.
In addition to the learning, the sponsors introduced the French officers to Kansas City, taking in the Kansas City Jazz scene, as well as sampling Kansas City barbeque. The officers visited the World War I museum together. Following their visit to Kansas, the French officers visited Las Vegas and stopped in New York City where they visited the United Nations headquarters. In the spring the U.S. officers will travel to France for the second phase of the exchange, where the U.S. officers will work with Ecole de Guerre students on an exercise using the NATO Planning Process and experience French culture.
Tucker counted the exchange among his most valuable experiences while at the Command and General Staff College. Captain Daniel Frechette said that the most beneficial aspect of the exchange program would be felt in working with allies in the future as the exchange formed a base of experience for how to relate to partner military officers.