Superintendent Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr. spoke with the U.S. Military Academy's Modern War Institute as part of the podcast series to discuss his latest trip to Iraq and how recent academy graduates are prepared to fight in a complex and adaptable Army.Caslen was in Iraq to engage with recent West Point graduates and their leaders to assess the performance of graduates and to bring back an update from engaged ground forces."They're not bashful about telling us what really helped them when they were at West Point based on what they're doing today," Caslen noted of the first and second lieutenants.One thing he received positive feedback on is Cadet Leader Development Training, or CLDT."It was that character and great perseverance that they experience in CLDT that many of them had said that was the best developmental experience that they had between West Point and their BOLC (basic officer leadership course-training that occurs as second lieutenants) to prepare them for what they're doing right now," Caslen said.By receiving feedback on CLDT, Cadet Field Training and Cadet Basic Training, he is able to design training programs that meet the needs of the Army and produce highly skilled and competent officers who are prepared to fight and win complex wars, even before they enter the battlefield."The way I look at West Point is, our principle mission is to graduate officers, not necessarily develop platoon leaders," Caslen said. "My intent is to develop someone who is going to be a professional officer that has not only the military skills that pre-commissioning requires, but also has the intellect, has the physical competence, and has the character to be able to lead Soldiers in today's modern battlefield."In addition to high military and physical standards, cadets participate in a rigorous academic program to ensure they commission as sharp leaders."The cadets are very grateful of their academic program," Caslen said of the feedback he's received. "It prepares them intellectually for their ability to operate and understand the complexity of the environment and to have the intellectual agility, intellectual adaptability and the critical thinking to be able to understand that environment and to be able to thrive in it."Reflecting on the Cold War era, Caslen said there were minimal interpersonal interactions with coalition forces, and their goals were to go "strong, heavy, fast and to break things." But today, Soldiers must consider the operational depth of the battlefield, including different indigenous elements, politics and facing multiple adversaries."I think fighting a counter insurgency fight over the last 15 years in both Iraq and Afghanistan has changed our Army significantly," Caslen said.Because of this, Caslen believes it is important to develop cadets who have the intellectual capacity to comprehend today's battlefield and the ability to form relationships with coalition forces."The battlefield," Caslen stated, "requires us to be more knowledgeable, militarily, of the different tactics, techniques and procedures. We also have to study the wars and to see how we're going to fight some of these things."Studying wars is one of the many things the faculty at West Point ingrain in cadets."We have to teach our cadets not what to think, but how to think," Caslen said. "We need to give them a broad curriculum so they have the fundamental intellectual skills across that curriculum, both in humanities and liberal arts, and in the sciences."Caslen noted that cadets are at a tremendous advantage, as 60-65% of the U.S. Military Academy faculty are rotating officers who have lived in the same environment for which the cadets are preparing. In bringing the most recent knowledge straight from the battlefield to the classroom, cadets are given the opportunity to study both historic wars as well as the current ones."They come, they bring their expertise, they bring their experience," Caslen said of the officers of the Academy faculty. "They're the ones who are going to be role models for these young men and women because of that special relationship they have."What's just as important as the intellectual skills that the cadets acquire at West Point, Caslen says, is building character."(The) character development that we do here to prepare them to be an officer in the United States Army, to have the trust of the American people… is probably the most important thing we do," Caslen said.According to the U.S. Military Academy Character Program, or the "Gold Book," West Point helps to develop moral, civic, social, performance and leadership character, providing personal growth and aligning cadets' values with those of the Nation, the Army and of West Point."The reason the character aspect of development is so important is because we are in the public domain," Caslen said. "When America entrusts us with her sons and daughters, they don't want a leader or an officer who is going to lead their sons and daughters who is going to have a character in public that is different from a character in their private life."Caslen suggests that by using the "Gold Book" standards on military, physical and academic requirements at the Academy, he can ensure that future and current Army officers from West Point are of solid, reputable character. He also believes that by developing officers of both intellect and character, those who graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point will be able to lead Soldiers in a complex battlefield.West Point's Modern War Institute is a national resource within the Department of Military Instruction that studies recent and on-going conflicts to prepare present and future leaders to win in a complex world. Leveraging the intellectual capital unique to West Point, the MWI faculty use a research, educate, and integrate model to remain academically grounded, operationally connected to the force, and fully engaged with cadets and the military program curriculum.