Building tomorrow's leaders today: The Army's investment in civilian education

By Joshua RojasDecember 19, 2023

Graduates of the CES Intermediate Class take a group photo
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Students and instructors of the CES Intermediate class 24-704 pose with the U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Stuttgart Commander Col. Kirk Alexander and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Denice Malave for a group photo after their graduation in front of the USAG Stuttgart Central Processing Facility on Nov. 17, 2023. (Photo Credit: Marcus Fichtl) VIEW ORIGINAL
A student speaks during a team excercise at the CES Intermediate Course
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Michael Sampson, a budget analyst for Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart speaks during a team exercise in the CES Intermediate class on Nov. 9, 2023. (Photo Credit: Joshua Rojas) VIEW ORIGINAL
Mr. Tommy R. Mize and facilitators at CES Intermediate Class.
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left to right: Carleton Nash (AMSC-Instructor), Helen Albertson (AMSC-Instructor), Tommy Mize (IMCOM-E-Director), Jean Ritter (AMSC-Instructor), David Teater (AMSC-Instructor) pose for a group photo after Mize delivered remarks and answered questions from students during a guest visit to the CES Intermediate class at U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart on Nov. 9, 2023. (Photo Credit: Joshua Rojas) VIEW ORIGINAL

STUTTGART, Germany — From Oct. 30 to Nov. 17, a group of Army Civilian Professionals (ACPs) and Local National (LNs) employees attended the Civilian Education System (CES) Intermediate Course. This program, a key component of the Army's Lines of Effort to maintain a skilled and ready workforce, illustrates the Army's commitment to nurturing its leaders.

The CES, a progressive and sequential leader development program, stands as a testament to the Army's dedication to multi-skilled, agile leadership.

The Army Management Staff College (AMSC) describes CES as "The premier leader development experience, igniting the leadership potential of every Army Civilian.”

The U.S. Army Garrison (USAG) Stuttgart command team brought the Intermediate Course to the garrison for the first time thanks to their effort and their dedication to developing ACPs.

The class witnessed a diverse group of ACPs and LNs ranging between GS-10 to GS-12 grades. They engaged in a curriculum designed to foster adaptability, innovation, self-awareness, and effective management.

Robert Gwinner, deputy to the garrison commander at USAG Stuttgart, emphasized the importance of recruitment and retention in his remarks.

"Good people want to work for organizations that are always trying to improve and that offer them opportunities to do the same," he said. “Positioning ourselves as an organization that supports its employees’ professional growth helps attract the type of people we’re looking for. USAG Stuttgart has an incredibly important mission and we’re always looking to sustain excellence.”

Instructors Jean Ritter and Nash Carleton tailored the course content to the evolving needs of ACPs. Ritter focused on empowerment through shared experiences and networking, while Carleton emphasized the importance of applying students' experiences to the course's doctrinal knowledge.

Balmina Sehra, a public affairs specialist, reflected on her experience as a student.

“CES helped me realize that the path to leadership does not look the same for everyone. It helped me find the confidence within myself to know that I can pursue a leadership role at some point in the future. I did not feel like that prior to taking the class, which is why these three weeks were so important and eye-opening to me,” she said.

Dr. David Quisenberry, Director of the Department of Organizational Leadership at AMSC, outlined the adaptive nature of CES over the years.

“We offer a synchronous virtual course for those who cannot come to Fort Leavenworth for personal or professional constraints. We conduct Mobile Education Team Courses at Army installations around the world. This year we will conduct courses in 24 locations,” Quisenberry said.

Today’s Army demands trained and ready units with proficient leaders, which highlights the importance of ACPs, and their role in the Army’s workforce.

“Army Civilian Professionals are part of the competitive advantage the Army possesses that neither technology nor advanced weaponry and platforms can replace. Developing leaders is a complex and complicated undertaking because it is primarily a human endeavor—requiring constant involvement,” Quisenberry said.

Tommy Mize, Director of Installation Management Command-Europe, reaffirmed this commitment during a special guest visit to the CES Intermediate course where he delivered remarks and answered students’ questions.

"You should never be told, ‘No – you cannot go to a school in the CES,’" he asserted. “Everybody in IMCOM-Europe has the opportunity to go to school and attend the CES courses. You need to do that, as it’s an important component of professional development.”

As the CES Intermediate Course concluded, the participants left with more than just enhanced skills; they carried with them a renewed sense of purpose and responsibility.

“The Army, through initiatives like CES, is not just investing in individuals; it is fortifying its future, ensuring that its leaders are equipped to face the challenges of tomorrow with confidence and competence. In the words of these leaders and educators, the message is clear: In the U.S. Army, people matter, and their development is paramount to the Army's success,” said Mize.

IMCOM-Europe will be hosting the CES Intermediate Course at USAG Wiesbaden from Jul. 8-26, 2024, and the CES Advanced Course from Jul. 22-Aug. 16, 2024, at USAG Stuttgart. For a full course calendar on upcoming CES classes visit the AMSC website.