Carlisle, Pa.—What a difference a year makes. Navigating tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, the Russia-Ukraine War, and the emerging challenges in the Arctic, will require the highest caliber of military officers. Today, 378 military officers and leaders completed a graduate year at the Army War College. They are ready to meet these challenges by leading, advising and planning into 2030 and beyond.
“This graduation day punctuates a year of hard work and accomplishments by our graduates, a year that really matters,” said Maj. Gen. David Hill, the 53rd Commandant of the Army War College at ceremony at Carlisle Barracks, June 10.
He opened the ceremony by acknowledging what a unique experience it is to be a student at AWC.
“Across the great professions within the United States, this might be the only one, or certainly one of the few, that invests a full year in the individual preparation of its experienced, strategic leaders for what is to come,” said Hill.
The graduates will make an immediately leap into new responsibilities, noted Hill. Students will assume strategic leadership roles in the combined, joint force, making decisions, shaping policies, and executing missions with global impact.
Among the Army students, alone, 52 will go into command; 24 to service in global combatant commands, major Army commands, and theater armies; 54 to joint and interagency assignments in the field or to the Pentagon at service headquarters, the Joint Staff, and Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Graduated today, from the USAWC’s master’s program in Strategic Studies are the following: 222 Army officers, 10 Navy, 24 Air Force, 15 Marines, 1 Coast Guard, 2 Space Force, 24 federal agencies civilians, and 80 International Fellows from 75 different countries.
The thing we are going to use from here is the immersion in joint and multi-national training perspectives, as well as the mix between academic and warfighting culture that come together really beautifully here at the War College to make this a special experience for everybody,” said, Col. Ian Lauer, student class president.
“When you look back at this year, I hope you’ll realize this was a year to exercise your own agency, make your own choices as to what to study, what to research, how to experience our academic requirements and how to balance your life among social, athletic and family priorities,” said Hill.
Lt. Gen. Xavier Brunson, Commanding General of America's First Corps, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., joined friends, families, faculty members, and defense attachés to congratulate the class of 2022.
Brunson outlined the current operational environment awaiting AWC graduates.
“Readiness of our military is just as important now as it’s ever been. Russia continues its war in Ukraine, and we are actively competing in the Pacific,” said Brunson.
“First Corps, 25th ID, 7th ID, and the 11th Airborne Division, are training with militaries from India, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Japan, and Australia among many others,” he said, discussing the intense engagement of 1st Corps units across the region.
“What I can do for our friends, partners and allies is assure them that we will be present,” he said, referring to his role as commander in the Indo-Pacific region.
To be present, he said, means engaging in the region as part of the Joint Force.
“For my country, [my graduation] means a lot of things in regard to a cooperation between Qatar and the U.S., and especially with our good and big partner working together in the region,” said Navy Cmdr. Ghanim Al-Kaabi, captain of the Qatari Emiri Navy Forces and a member of the class of 2022. “This is a good opportunity to take all this information from the college and apply that in my branch.”
Competition is the way of the future, and the future is now, Brunson said about the Army and Joint Force commitment in the region—building capabilities, messaging our intent, encourage national will, and posturing for success.
“I think about how tough our tasks are, but there is hope. That hope is resident in the chairs before me right now.
“We know that you are ready for the tasks ahead,” said Brunson.
The 2014 graduate offered students a few guiding recommendations for students to take with them into the future, among them bias for actions, guiding personal principles, and speaking truth.
“… [L]eaders that have a bias for action and have their formations do the same, are the ones who will solve problems and not just admire them,” he said.
“If you have principle, if something drives you every day to do the right thing, then what you’ll find is that will become the foundation which will allow your organization to be one that’s rooted deeply in the trust of others,” he continued.
“It’s trust within our institution—it’s trust within our organizations—that drives us forward,” he added.
“Know how to professional speak truth to power, and always speak for the powerlessly,” concluded Brunson.