FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- The School of Advanced Military Studies at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College graduated 106 students on May 21 at Fort Leavenworth's Lewis and Clark Center. The SAMS graduation capped two-days of activities designed to highlight the organization's 25-year anniversary. More than 300 former graduates, senior leaders and students gathered at Fort Leavenworth to reflect on the past 25 years and to discuss ideas that will enable the school to look forward for the next 25 years and beyond.

This year marks the 25th Anniversary for SAMS, often remembered most famously in the early days for producing the "Jedi Knights" employed by Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf in developing the famous "left hook" during Desert Storm. Since the first "pilot" class graduated in 1984, more than 1,700 SAMS graduates from 13 countries have played key roles in every major military operation since that time. Visionaries such as retired Gen. William Richardson and retired Brig. Gen. Huba Wass de Czege produced the ideas that enabled SAMS to educate many of the Army's top leaders. Some notable graduates still on active duty include Gen. Charles C. Campbell, commander U.S. Army Forces Command; Lt. Gen. David Huntoon, director of the Army staff; Lt. Gen. William Webster, deputy commander, U.S. Northern Command; and Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell, IV, commander, Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth.

Graduation speaker retired Lt. Gen. James Dubik credited his SAMS experience with giving him the tools for later success. "In my personal experience, the training that I received at SAMS is absolutely essential, but it was the education that really came to the fore when I faced problems that I hadn't faced before ... or when I was asked to do something new. It was my education in theory and history, in its pure sense, that helped me the most," he said.

Dubik went on to command at the battalion, brigade, division and corps levels before retiring in 2008. His last assignment was as commander, Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq/Commander, NATO Training Mission-Iraq.

Col. Stefan Banach, the 11th SAMS director and program graduate, remarked in an update to invited guests on May 20 that SAMS continues to adapt to meet the needs of the force. " ... Our greatest challenges in the contemporary operating environment continue to be intellectual," he said. "Over the last 25 years SAMS has played a key role in helping to convert intellectual power into combat power during operations through its broad and deep graduate level educational experience."

The mission of SAMS is to educate the future leaders of the Armed Forces, Allies and the Interagency at the graduate level to be agile and adaptive leaders who think critically at the strategic and operational levels to solve complex ambiguous problems. The school consists of two programs: the Advanced Military Studies Program, a second year of intermediate, master's-level education and the Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship, a Senior Service College Fellowship. SAMS is a part of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Huntoon, who addressed alumni, staff, faculty and invited guests at the event's Commandant's Reception sponsored by the CGSC Foundation, captured what he believes is the legacy of SAMS. "It [SAMS] has established a corps of leaders, thinkers and planners who in the last two decades have reset the conditions for American military success," he said.

More information about the SAMS 25th Anniversary can be found at or visit the CGSC YouTube Channel at