Attending a senior service college such as the Army War College or National Defense University may not be a top-of-mind concern for many Army Medicine officers, but those at senior service colleges now say that it's a great opportunity for those who want to expand their knowledge of strategy and progress in their career.
For academic year 2014, 20 Army Medicine officers were students in one of the senior service colleges or participated in the Army War College fellows program. Officers in the fellows program participate in a unique 10-month program that places them at various universities, allied service schools, civilian "think tanks", corporations, and government agencies. There were 7 Army Medicine officers in the Army War College resident class of 2014 that graduated June 6.
Col. Kerrie J. Golden, who holds a doctorate in physical therapy, has been one of the Army War College fellows at the Department of Veterans Affairs. "I have learned a great deal about the complexity of interagency relationships - looking at things from a different perspective - a much more strategic viewpoint," said Golden. A fellowship is a great opportunity to jump into meetings, go to think tanks, and investigate all different kinds of learning opportunities in the D.C. area, she said.
"Effective leaders never stop learning," said Lt. Col. Steve Greiner, a veterinarian, who attended the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. and found that it's important preparation for the challenges of his next assignment as Chief of Staff for Northern Regional Medical Command.
"If you want to be a relevant and effective leader for Army Medicine operating in the joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment, you need to attend a senior service college," said Greiner. The Army War College has the highest number of international fellows, contributing to an exceptionally robust global strategy perspective. The War College refreshes its curriculum and experiential opportunities regularly, like the addition of an oral comprehensive exam, to help the student become a strategic-thinking leader who is immediately valuable in their next assignment.
Col. David Gibson, a medical logistician, graduated from the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy June 12. "It has a core curriculum that includes military strategy and logistics, strategic leadership, national security strategy, industry analytics, acquisition, and the international comparative business environment," he said.
"Personally, I was interested in the healthcare and supply chain management track and chose the financial services industry study. The curriculum, exposure to senior leaders from the U.S. and other governments, and opportunities to meet with high-level industry officials made the overall experience priceless.
"The DoD is facing key challenges regarding force structure, readiness and modernization as a result of precipitous cuts due to sequestration and the Business Case Analysis Policy. Although we don't know exactly how that balance will be achieved or what specific systems, platforms, or medical technologies will be used in the future--many of the leaders that will live with the consequences of today's decisions are in our ranks now," said Gibson. "Therefore, investing in their development is one effort we can pursue that is certain to shape the future environment."
AMEDD officers interested in strategic-level opportunities for professional development can start early by applying for the Company Grade Strategic Broadening Program, as well as the online Defense Strategy Course, for majors and lieutenant colonels, both offered by the Army War College. Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels may apply for admission to a senior service college or fellowship all of which are highly competitive and designed to produce graduates who are skilled critical thinkers able solve complex problems at the senior most levels of the military.