ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - The U.S. Army Sustainment Command recently hosted two iterations of the Civilian Education System Advanced Course conducted by the Army Management Staff College here. This was the first time the course was hosted by ASC and held at RIA.

Employees from ASC, the U.S. Army Contracting Command, the U.S. Joint Munitions Command, the Civilian Human Resource Agency, and the RIA Garrison - all organizations based on the Arsenal - attended the course. Classes began on Jan. 7 and Feb. 11, respectively, with a total of 36 participants per class.

The CES Advanced course was brought to Rock Island Arsenal to give employees with limited traveling capability the opportunity to attend and obtain certification.

In the past, the course was only available at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where it is presented at the Army Management Staff College.

Michael Hutchison, deputy to the commanding general, ASC, explained the importance of bringing the program to RIA.

"We have a lot of newer members in our workforce, junior leaders who have young families, and they can't punch out for four weeks to go to Fort Leavenworth," Hutchison said, "But they wanted to take the course, so we started harping on AMSC about coming up here to RIA."

The four-week course prepares civilian leaders in the grades GS-13 through 15 to take on higher levels of leadership and responsibility within their organizations.

Students graduating from the CES Advanced Course acquire the skills to lead Department of Defense organizations, direct program management, supervise organizational resources, and integrate Army systems, according to the AMSC, which operates CES.

Jerome Hawkins, director, Department of Enterprise Leadership, AMSC, highlighted the focus of the program.

"The Army's leadership model is the enterprise," he said. "That's what we are focused on."

Hawkins explained that the course teaches students to both lead and manage large organizations. The primary aspect focuses on providing purpose, direction, and motivation, while the managing aspect provides guidance on processes and systems.

Hutchison emphasized the importance of an enterprise vision.

"In my mind, having an enterprise view of things means to make decision that are best for the Army," he said.

"If you have any aspiration to be a GS-15 or an SES [Senior Executive Service member], you have got to have that view, that ability and willingness to make decisions that may not be best for your organization but are best for the Army, because in the end, it is who we all work for."

Hutchison challenged the students to expend their horizons and work with other people outside of their command to better understand the concept of an enterprise vision.

"What I would really encourage you to try is to interact with folks from other organizations, take the opportunity to understand both their mission challenges and their leadership challenges," he said.

AMSC has been dedicated to Army Civilian Leader Development since 1985, when the Army realized that civilian leadership positions needed to receive equivalent training to their military counterparts.

For this reason, the Army created a comprehensive program to educate both military and civilian personnel on a larger, universal scale, and originally opened two centers: AMSC at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and the Civilian Leader Development Division within the Center for Army Leadership at Fort Leavenworth (later changed to the Civilian Leadership Training Division).

In 2005, AMSC and CLTD merged to establish the Civilian Education System Leader Development Program for the Army Civilian Corps and CES was then launched in January 2007.

In 2012, AMSC was restructured as a major subordinate organization under the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, and in 2016 it was aligned under the Army University at Fort Leavenworth.