By Stephen P. Kretsinger Sr., U.S. Army Combined Arms Center Public AffairsAugust 31, 2015
Brig. Gen. John S. Kem assumed responsibility as the first provost of the Army University and deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College in ceremonies Monday, Aug. 31 at Fuller Hall on Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The Secretary of the Army directed establishment of the Army
University earlier this year.
The opening remarks of Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown, commanding general of U.S. Army Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, spoke of the unique position that has been bestowed on Kem, as first-ever provost of the new Army University.
"John Kem is absolutely a proven scholar warrior and is the perfect, perfect individual for this critical job," Brown said. "He is the first provost of Army University. The Army's been around 240 years, how many times in your career are you the first in something? Not very often. It's going to have a huge impact."
During the assumption of command ceremony, Kem spoke of his excitement to return to Fort Leavenworth and of the challenges he and his team face ahead.
"I'm very excited to be back (at Fort Leavenworth) in my new role as provost of Army University," Kem said. "It's not going to be easy, because of the challenge of prioritizing and taking actions in the really important parts. We have to focus on the urgent, but not get too enamored of the bright shiny object. Our collective challenge is to set conditions for the near-term, mid-term and far-term -- all simultaneously -- to set us in the right direction. We will succeed. We have the right people here to do that."
As provost, Kem will oversee reorganizing the Army's education enterprise into a university structure that will maximize educational opportunities for Soldiers by providing valid academic credit for the education and experience they receive while on active duty. The Army University encompasses all Training and Doctrine Command schools, provides a single point of contact for all Army education matters and addresses the educational needs of the Army while providing individual Soldiers and Army civilian employees the opportunity to accomplish their own academic goals. He will also oversee the Army Press, the publishing arm of the Army University that includes "Military Review" magazine and the Combat Studies Institute.
As Deputy Commandant and Provost, Kem is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Army's Command and General Staff College and the following schools:
• Command and General Staff School
• School of Advanced Military Studies
• School for Command Preparation
• Army Management Staff College
• Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Studies at Fort Benning, Ga.
• Warrant Officer Career College at Fort Rucker, Ala.
Kem was commissioned through the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., where he earned a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. He later earned a Master's of Science in Environmental Engineering, and a Masters of Business Administration from Northwestern University and the Kellogg Business School. His military education includes Engineer Officer Basic Course, Engineer Officer Advanced Course, Army Command and General Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces where he earned a Master's of Science in National Resource Management.
Kem comes to Fort Leavenworth after serving as the Commanding General United States Army Engineer Division, Northwestern, in Portland, Ore. His command assignments include the Europe District, North Atlantic Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers from 2008 to 2011; the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Armored Division, Germany and Operation Iraqi Freedom, from 2003 to 2005, and Company A, 307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C., from 1991 to 1992.
Previous assignments include serving as Chief, Programs Division, Office of the Chief, Legislative Liaison, Washington; Director, Coalition-Joint Engineering Directorate, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan; Executive Officer to the Director Joint Improved Explosive Device Defeat Organization, Washington; Military Assistant to the Secretary of the Army, Washington; Congressional Fellow, Washington; Operations Officer, 10th Engineer Battalion and Operations Officer 3rd Engineer Brigade, Fort Stewart, GA; and Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, USMA, West Point. He also served as Adjutant, 307th Engineer Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg and Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; Executive Officer, D Company, 16th Engineer Battalion; Boeselager Reconnaissance Platoon Leader, Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Germany; and Platoon Leader, C Company, 16th Engineer Battalion.
Kem's awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal (w/Oak Leaf Cluster), Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (w/7 Oak Leaf Clusters), Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, the Combat Action Badge, Ranger Tab, Senior Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, Pathfinder Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge.
For more information on the Army University, visit http://usacac.army.mil.