Forging Iron Majors to Win in a Complex World

  • Colonel Lance C. Varney

The Command and General Staff School (CGSS) plays a vital role in preparing mid-level officers for the demands of the operational environment. CGSS must develop leaders who can, as described in the Army Operating Concept “win” in a complex world. This requires developing leaders to be agile, adaptive, and innovative. The CGSS is adjusting its program to provide the cognitive foundations supporting these attributes but at the risk of other learning objectives. Feedback from various perspectives suggests the need to lengthen the course and increase academic discipline. The problem that CGSS faces is that while educational requirements expand or change the time allocated for CGSS does not. While modifications to the current 44-week program over the years have been helpful, meeting the intent of the AOC requires a change in the CGSS program structure. Expanding the current CGSS program is the best way to prepare majors to meet the needs of the Army in 2025. For many officers, CGSS represents the last formal military education opportunity. The benefits of preparing majors and future lieutenant colonels for success in the operational environment should be worth the cost of a longer CGSS program.