FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan.–More than 1,050 officers graduated from the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer Course here June 9 at the Lewis and Clark Center. The graduating class includes mid-career officers from all American military services as well as 121 international officers representing 92 countries and 11 federal government civilian employees.
General (U.S. Army retired) Robert B. Abrams gave the commencement address. “The experiences and relationships that you have nurtured here at Fort Leavenworth will yield benefits throughout the rest of your lives and careers,” he told the graduates.
“No matter what items you find in your rucksacks starting next week, you remember one thing,” said Abrams. “The consequences of not being ready to defeat any of those near-peer threats we might face will be paid for in blood and treasure of our nation and, for our international partners, of your nation. We must be prepared to prevail in the next first battle with a near-peer adversary.”
“Our doctrine tells us that leadership is the most dynamic of national power. Our shared experience, over 20 years of war, tells us that leadership makes the difference between good units and great units,” said Abrams, “Leadership! It’s the special sauce that is integral to our profession.”
“So, be a leader of the strongest character, one who speaks truth to power. Be a leader who Soldiers trust implicitly. Be a leader that leads by outstanding personal example in word and deed. Be a leader who underwrites mistakes and has empathy for their subordinates and is willing to provide them top-cover as necessary. Be a leader who inspires the next generation of selfless servants who want to serve their country,” he said.
Wherever you are headed next know this, your leadership matters, and our Soldiers and families their counting on it,” said Abrams. “And for the U.S. officers also know this, the American people are banking on your leadership.”
The 10-month Command and General Staff Officers Course develops war-fighting and adaptive leadership skills necessary for military officers to be proficient in Unified Land Operations. The College is an educational center of excellence renowned in the study of leadership, the conduct of joint and combined land warfare, and the application of Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational organizations to synchronize all elements of power to achieve national objectives.
International military students received the CGSC International Officer Graduate Badge during a ceremony Thursday. “We did not make it alone,” said Canadian Major Ian Van Dyke, International Student Chief of Saff, during Badge Ceremony. “Today we gather not only to recognize the accomplishments of the international graduates, but also to express our profound gratitude to the institutions, nations, and people that have facilitated this journey.”
International military student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth in 1894. Since then, international military students have become an integral part of the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course. More than 8,400 international officers have studied alongside U.S. military and government civilian counterparts at Fort Leavenworth.
In addition to completing the graduate-level course, 54 students received the Master of Military Art and Science Degree. Students earn this master’s degree by successful completion of the Command and General Staff Officers Course, successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam, and writing and orally defending a thesis based on original research.
The college conferred the Master of Operational Studies degree to 954 graduates. Other students earned graduate degrees or certifications through cooperative programs with civilian universities. CGSC is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools to award master’s degrees.
Award Recipients Class 2023 Command and General Staff Officers Course
The General George C. Marshall Award is presented to the distinguished United States graduate of each class -- Major Jesse A. Faugstad, Infantry
The General Dwight D. Eisenhower Award is presented to the distinguished international officer of each class -- Major Edward M. Brecht, United Kingdom
The General Colin Powell Interagency Award recognizes the distinguished interagency student in each class – Joshua W. Smith, Department of State
The General Douglas MacArthur Award recognizes scholarship and professional writing on military leadership – Major James P. Cowen, United Kingdom
The Arter-Darby Award goes to the student for excellent scholarship and writing in military history -- Major Matthew K. Reilly, U.S. Air Force
The Arter-Doniphan Award goes to the class graduate who earned the highest overall grade point average -- Major Eric J. Slater, Military Intelligence
The Iron Major Award goes to the student who finishes first in a grueling series of events designed to test endurance and strength -- (Male): Major Andre B. Shinda, Special Forces -- (Female) Major Major Maria C. Anania, Logistics
The General John J. Pershing Award recognizes the outstanding non-resident graduate of the Command and General Staff Officer Course via distance learning – Major Sara E. So, Military Police
The Major General Hans Schlup Award recognizes the importance of relationships developed among the network of friends and professional acquaintances made while attend the Command and General Staff College – Major Emil Gasimov, Azerbaijan
AFCEA Excellence in Information Warfare Writing Award – Major Thomas D. Richardson, Army Strategist
The General James M. Wright Award is presented to the distinguished master sustainer in each class – Major Michael H. Thompson, Logistics
The General George S. Patton Award is presented to the distinguished master tactician in each class – Major Bryan M. Williams, Infantry
Homeland Security Studies Award -- Major Aaron P. McConnell, Corps of Engineers
The Excellence in Joint Forces Warfare Award is awarded to the student who contributes most significantly to the study of joint service warfare – Major Andrea R. Witherspoon, Military Intelligence
The Father Donald Smythe Award recognizes excellence in military history – Major Timothy G. Reese, Armor
The Simons Center Interagency Writing Award recognizes scholarship that advances interagency cooperation, coordination, and collaboration -- Major Bradley H. Craycraft, Military Intelligence
The Lieutenant Colonel Boyd McCanna Harris Leadership Award is presented for recognized superior research by a resident CGSOC student in the field of Organizational Leadership – Major Sebastian K. Welsh, Medical Corps
The Brigadier General Benjamin H. Grierson Award goes to the student who demonstrates excellence in strategic studies – Major Joseph D. Levin, Judge Advocate
The Birrer-Brooks Award recognizes the most outstanding Master of Military Art and Science Thesis - Major Benjamin F. Stork, Medical Corps