FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Aug. 11, 2011) -- Fort Leavenworth welcomed new Intermediate Level Education students to the Command and General Staff College Aug. 8, including those from partner nations.

Each year, international military officers begin representing their home countries by carrying their flag and placing it alongside dozens from other nations. In all, 64 countries are represented in the 2012-01 ILE class.

Lt. Gen. Robert L. Caslen Jr., commandant of CGSC and commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, called international students the “best and brightest,” recognizing the students’ importance in each nation’s military.

“As this international family collectively embarks into the 21st century -- where the world continues to face a myriad of threats -- multinational operations have become the norm rather than the exception,” Caslen said.

Upon entering ILE at CGSC, international students are directly integrated into small learning groups with U.S. Army, sister services and sometimes even other U.S. governmental agencies.  Caslen noted that students often develop connections with each other that last long past their time at CGSC, enhancing both countries. Many of Fort Leavenworth’s past international students have gone on to become their nation’s top military leaders, as well as prime ministers and presidents.

Caslen said international support is integral for dealing with insurgent threats not tied to countries.

“One of the key strategic issues we have to deal with was how to answer the question, ‘How do you go to war with an enemy threat that resides in a country you’re not at war with?’” he asked. “The answer was not an easy one, but rested in relationships with partner nations.”

Caslen also recognized the nations that have made sacrifices alongside the U.S. in dealing with the global threat of terrorism.

“Many nations here today have realized this threat and have responded in kind, expanding the gap between this evil and each of our nations’ security,” he said. “We recognize the tremendous sacrifices that you have made to preserve justice and peace throughout the world.”