Seminar enhances strategic awareness for captains

Liana Kim
311th Signal Command (Theater) Public Affairs

SHRIVENHAM, England -- Imagine one day you're enjoying the sweet Hawaiian breeze from your backyard hammock, and then the next two days you're traveling the United Kingdom to study strategic military culture.

Stepping off the plane into the bitter cold, you think, "Should I have changed out of my shorts and flip flops?"

The change of climate was welcome for Capt. Casey Schreiner, a logistics officer from the 311th Signal Command (Theater), who was one of 29 senior Army captains selected to attend the U.S. Strategic Broadening Program at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, here, Jan. 18-March 3.

The Broadening Program is a six-week portion of the U.K. Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land), a 30-week professional development course for U.K. Army majors.

Capt. Shane Schrader, Partner Nations officer in charge, Asia Pacific Counter IED Fusion Center, enjoys the grounds of Windsor Castle during a visit by the visiting Americans. Windsor Castle was one of the many royal residences toured by the U.S. students during the six-week program. Feb. 25. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)
Capt. Shane Schrader, Partner Nations officer in charge, Asia Pacific Counter IED Fusion Center, enjoys the grounds of Windsor Castle during a visit by the visiting Americans. Windsor Castle was one of the many royal residences toured by the U.S. students during the six-week program. Feb. 25. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)

"I had never operated in a strategic environment before, let alone internationally with allied forces, so it was a challenge, but I was up to the challenge," Schreiner said.

Schreiner and his peers participated alongside the U.K. majors in two educational modules on the Global Effects on Defense and the Higher Management of Defense and the Army. They received lectures from academics instructors from Kings College London and Cranfield University, military advisers and peers who joined working group discussions.

They visited various headquarters throughout the United Kingdom, including the Permanent Joint Headquarters, which is home to five headquarters on one campus, the Ministry of Defence in London, the U.K. Army Headquarters, and the NATO Allied Rapid Reaction Corps HQ.

Participants receive a tour of the Defense Capability Centre Gun Shed, a weapons research establishment in Warwickshire, Tribinam. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)
Participants receive a tour of the Defense Capability Centre Gun Shed, a weapons research establishment in Warwickshire, Tribinam. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)

"I've been impressed by the professionalism, competence and proficiency of the British officers we've encountered in this school," said U.S. Capt. Orlandon Howard. "(This program) made us take a look at the impact U.S. Department of Defense has on the international community. … I think it will make us take account of factors we may not be accustomed to looking at, and give more meaning to what we do (as military officers)."

The cultural immersion and partnership-building opportunities were the most invaluable and exciting benefits for the U.S. students.

"One of the U.K. students escorted us around London, and his knowledge was unparalleled. He was the former commander of the Queens guard at Buckingham Palace, so we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Queen's guard and Mounted Guard," said Schreiner. "We also visited different cities every weekend. London, Oxford and Edinburgh were my personal favorites.

"For me, the pinnacle highlight of the program was that it opened my eyes to the global community beyond our borders and helped me realize we must consider relationships between international communities with regard to U.S. strategies," Schreiner said. "My runner-up favorite was visiting No. 10 Downing Street. Now I can say I've been there, on the doorstep. It was surreal, and I had never even considered it a possibility.

Students enjoy an interactive experience in the Defence Academy Armory where instructors shared historic anecdotes of numerous weapon systems from around the world and throughout history. Participants receive a tour of the Defense Capability Centre Gun Shed, a weapons research establishment in Warwickshire, Tribinam. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)
Students enjoy an interactive experience in the Defence Academy Armory where instructors shared historic anecdotes of numerous weapon systems from around the world and throughout history. Participants receive a tour of the Defense Capability Centre Gun Shed, a weapons research establishment in Warwickshire, Tribinam. (Photo by Capt. Casey Schreiner, 311th Signal Command Theater)

"If you are selected for the program," Schreiner continued, "I recommend gaining a basic understanding of how the U.K. Army and Parliament are structured and work, both separately and together, before you arrive. This background will be invaluable to deciphering the lectures and the U.K. students' language in the syndicates."

He added, "Also, don't be afraid to speak candidly in the discussion groups. All the professional development courses are extremely candid, not in a rude way, but in a way that truly evaluates and progresses the discussion."

(Editor's note: Capt. Casey Schreiner contributed to this article.)



Point of Contact

Who may apply for the Strategic Broadening Seminar? Senior captains who have completed company command

For more information, contact Maj. Cameron Maples or James Madigan at the Center for Army Leadership in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. (Both are listed in global email.)