Civilian Education System courses return to Picatinny, eliminating travel to Fort Leavenworth

By Eric KowalJuly 7, 2022

Students enrolled in the first Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course at Picatinny Arsenal of 2022, prepare for graduation.
Students enrolled in the first Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course at Picatinny Arsenal of 2022, prepare for graduation. (Photo Credit: Todd Mozes) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course is the first of a series of CES leadership development courses to return to Picatinny Arsenal’s Armament University after an intermission caused by the global coronavirus pandemic beginning in 2020. On May 20, after four weeks of instruction, the in-person class successfully completed all requirements for graduation.

The CES is a progressive, sequential leader-development program that provides enhanced educational opportunities for Army Civilians throughout their careers.

The CES Advanced Course prepares upper grade (GS 13-15) U.S. Army civilian leaders to assume increasing levels of responsibility and leadership within organizations. The course is a prerequisite for enrollment in any Army Senior Enterprise Talent Management (SETM) program, including the Senior Service College Fellowship Program.

“The Civilian Education System (CES) Advanced Course has enabled the development of a number of already talented and brilliant students to further their education and leadership development experience in an atmosphere that allows experimentation and discovery,” said Patrick Hanson, one of the course instructors.

The course consists of two phases. The first phase is completed online, while the second can either be conducted virtually or in-person. During the pandemic, only the virtual offering was provided to students by CES. This no-cost course allowed participants to train at Picatinny instead of a four-week temporary duty assignment to the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“These individuals have worked over the past four weeks to develop strategic thinking and strategic leadership capabilities while developing networks amongst their peers,” Hanson added. “Many of these students were somewhat familiar with the names of their peers on this close-knit installation, but the time working together in the classroom and amongst the other seminars has enabled them to build stronger bonds which will only improve their communication and execution capabilities when they return to their organizations.”

Richard H. Parker, a member of the Senior Executive Series, and the Executive Director for U.S. Army Test, Measurement and Diagnostic Equipment Activity, was visiting from Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, and was part of the instruction team.

He met with students one-on-one for coaching and counseling, as well as providing enterprise wide experience.

“This experience did two things,” Parker said. “It provided a phenomenal learning opportunity for me – tremendous talent brings innovated and game changing ideas. And it develops our future strategic leaders and empowers them with knowledge, skills, and positive behaviors to make a lasting difference.”

The Advanced Course will continue to be offered at Picatinny. Plans to bring the Intermediate Course here this summer are underway.

The Intermediate Course, for employees at the GS 10-12 level, will offer the opportunity to attend class number 22-711 scheduled for July 11-29.

“The CES Advanced Class has unexpectedly become a turning point for my career,” said Thomas Gauntner, an engineer assigned to the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) Armaments Center. “I have been able to focus on my future with a little more clarity than I have before. I recommend this to everyone.”


Army Civilians in permanent appointments in grades GS-13 through GS-15 (or equivalent).

Army Non-appropriated Fund (NAF), Wage Grade (WG), Local National (LN).


Foundation Course (required only for individuals hired after September 30, 2006).

Advanced Course DL Phase 1 must be complete before the instructor-facilitated Phase 2.

Army Civilians must have a current performance rating of successful or above and have a good conduct standing.

CES courses are centrally funded for most Department of the Army Civilians. Refer to AR 350-1 for specific requirements and eligibility.

Courses are open to DOD employees and employees from other military departments. These employees are not centrally funded.

For more information on the courses, please visit: Civilian Education System Course Descriptions