Department of Command and Leadership

Academic Programs

Command and General Staff Officers' Course (CGSOC) Common Core C100: Foundations

C100 establishes a foundation and sets the conditions for all subsequent learning within the core CGSOC course and all subsequent courses (Advanced Operational Warfighting Course, Electives Courses, and for selected students, the School of Advanced Military Studies' Advanced Military Studies Program).

These lessons seek to make students more aware of the contemporary environment and of self, to “set the stage” for learning during the rest of the course and beyond.  They also allow students to recognize relevant learning opportunities while organizing personal and professional values to appreciate the challenges facing a field-grade military officer in an evolving operational environment.  These opportunities include the following:

• Connections between learning opportunities and future professional requirements;
• Awareness of self and the operational environment; and,
• Choices leading to increasing professional competency.

Students discuss and reflect upon aspects of the contemporary world to decide for themselves what they know, or don’t know, about full-spectrum operations and the threats, challenges, and opportunities of the current international security environment.  This serves as a foundation for refining the reasoning, communicating, and problem-solving skills vital to success in an environment characterized by ambiguity and uncertainty.  The critical thinking and writing lessons appear early in the curriculum to provide the elements and standards of reasoning and communicating that students use throughout the academic year.

The leader assessment and development lessons lay the foundation for students’ continued education and development as organizational-level leaders.   With the aid of self-assessment instruments and coaching, students become more self-aware and complete an individual development plan to carry them through the year and possibly through their careers.

The media lessons lay the foundation for dealing with all forms of media in planning and executing complex military operations within the contemporary operational environment.

The lessons are:

• C121 - Introduction to Critical and Creative Thinking
• C122 - Creative Thinking, Logic, and Problem Solving
• C123 - Diagnosing Impediments to Critical and Creative thinking
• C124 - Application of Critical and Creative Thinking
• C131 - Leader Development
• C132 - Resilience
• C133 - Self Awareness
• C171 - Effective Communication

Command and General Staff Officers' Course (CGSOC) Common Core L100: Developing Organizations and Leaders

The L100 block focuses on the challenges field grade officers face as they develop and lead organizations within the 21st century.  Using military and civilian case studies, students critically analyze contemporary as well as timeless issues and paradigms of organizational leadership in full spectrum operations.  How do I distinguish success from failure as an organizational leader? Should I change a successful organization?  Is unethical behavior inevitable when my organization deploys? Why negotiate when I can use my authority, force, or the threat of force to achieve unit aims?  Can an organization succeed without a vision?  Am I learning the right lessons from my experiences as a leader?  As students wrestle with these type questions and share experiences in class, they expand their context of leadership and what it means to influence the development of organizations and leaders as a field grade officer.  The lessons are:

• L101 - Developing Organizations and Leaders
• L102 - Organizational Development
• L103 - Leading Organizations in Change
• L104 - Organizational Culture and Climate
• L105 - Developing Ethical Organizations
• L106 - Organizational Stress
• L107 – Leading Ethical Organizations in War
• L108 - Developing Learning Organizations
• L109 - Influencing Organizations through Negotiations
• L110 - Influencing Organizations through Negotiations: Case Study
• L111 - Influencing Organizations through Envisioning
• L112 - Organizational Leadership Philosophy

Advanced Operations and Warfighting Course (AOWC) L200: Leadership Applied

The L200 Leadership Applied block builds on the foundation established in L100.  The goal in L100 is to challenge students to critically analyze how field grade officers develop organizations and leaders within the contemporary operational environment.  In L200 we ask students to assume the role of the commander and apply what they learned from L100.  The objective is for the students to take a commander’s purview to integrate their organizational leadership perspective within a warfighting setting by studying a series of historical cases ranging from World War II to fighting in the contemporary operational environment. All the cases occur in a spectrum of conflict framed in uncertainty, complexity, ethical challenges, and physical and psychological stresses.  By looking through the eyes of a commander, students gain a better understanding of the dynamics of organizational level leadership and the competencies that make organizational leaders successful in leading, developing, and achieving results in full spectrum operations.   The lesson are:

• L201 – Transition to Command
• L202 – Commander's Visualization
• L203 – Complexity
• L204 – Decision Making
• L205 – Developing Leaders
• L206 – Leading from the Middle: Effective Leadership
• L207 – Ethics in War
• L208 – Moral Courage
• L209 – Transitions and Risk
• L210 – Leading in Coalitions
• L211 – Reflections on Organizational Leadership

Command and General Staff School Language Program

1. In Jan 06, CGSC decided to implement a language program and assigned responsibility for the program to the Department of Command and Leadership (DCL).  CGSS faculty and Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC) instructors have collaborated to update and improve the language program.  A summary of some of the significant actions is as follows:

a. The first CGSS language classes, Modern Standard Arabic and self-study Pashto, were offered during the May - June 2006 elective term.  In September 2006 Modern Standard Arabic was replaced with Iraqi dialect Arabic instruction to make the course more relevant.  Pashto self-study was replaced with in class DLI instruction beginning in November elective term. During the spring 2007 term Pashto was changed to Dari, the prominent Afghan Army language and also to be in sync with COMISAF training guidance.

b. During the November 2006 elective term, two self-study languages electives were added to the curriculum to allow all students to study a language of their choice using Rosetta Stone, available through AKO.  This elective option is monitored by a DCL instructor to ensure the students perform required Rosetta Stone units for the selected language.

c. DLIFLC created a CAC/CGSC Language Program Manager (PM) position which was established and filled in March 2008. The PM is responsible for language curriculum and all DLI language support requirements for CAC/CGSS.

d. In order to expand the CGSS language program,  five permanent DLI instructors were hired in fall 2010 and are now located here at Fort Leavenworth.

2.  Currently, there are three elements to the CGSS language program:

a. Operational: All US Army officers whose assignments following graduation will result in deployment in support of OIF/OEF are required to take either A761/762, Iraqi Language Familiarization and Introduction to Arab Culture, or A763/764, Dari Language Familiarization and Introduction to Afghan Culture, as appropriate.    Enrollment is open to all other students on a space available basis, priority for spaces to US Army deploying officers.   These courses are 48 hour (double Mod) classes, taught by DLIFLC instructors during the normal elective terms. 

b.  Strategic: In support of the Army Culture and Foreign Language Strategy, US Officers interested in building a foundation for lifelong learning of selected languages may apply for A767, Introductory Chinese; A768, Introductory French; A769, Introductory Modern Standard Arabic; or A770, Introductory Spanish.  These courses are taught by DLIFLC instructors; they begin during AOC and continue through the elective terms.  Students may receive 2 or three elective credits.  Additionally, students who already possess proficiency in one of these languages may take directed study electives A795, A796, and A797, earning up to three elective credits.  Students with existing proficiency in a language not taught in CGSS may be able to earn elective credit for directed study via distance learning, using instructors located at the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey CA.  Interested students should contact the DLI Program Manager. 


c. Self-Study: Officers desiring to pursue self-study of a foreign language may receive one elective credit for A765 or A766, Language Self-Study Level I or II, utilizing Rosetta Stone.  Students must register through the course instructor.  Students may begin taking lessons early and may complete the requirements prior to the completion of the normal elective term.


Language Electives

Students have the opportunity to study language by choice, or may be directed to language studies based on projected post-graduation assignments.  Students who receive a post graduation assignment to Iraq or Afghanistan will be directed to take an instructor-facilitated study of Arabic (Iraqi dialect) or Dari conducted by instructors from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center.   These language courses consist of 48 hours of classroom instruction and students receive credit for two electives. There are also elective courses available for self-directed study of the language of choice, using Rosetta Stone via AKO.  Students can receive a maximum of one elective credit for self-directed language study (A765, 766).


A761 Iraqi Language Familiarization with basic vocabulary and be able to communicate in situations frequently encountered in OIF.

A763 Dari Language Familiarization in basic language skills, to prepare to interact with locals, and to care for yourself and  others in both daily life and more dangerous situations.

A765 Language Self-Study I.  This is a self-study course designed to introduce students to the language of their choice.

Legal Issues Electives

A941  Administrative Law for Commanders
This course surveys many of the legal issues that commanders commonly encounter.  The subjects covered include command authority, adverse administrative actions, investigations (i.e. AR 15-6, Reports of Survey), government ethics, civilian employees, fiscal law, officer separations, and survivor benefits.   The course will cover recent developments and helpful tips.

A942  Military Criminal Law for Commanders
Providing the basics of military criminal law, this course is a “must” for future battalion and squadron commanders and their primary staffs.  Students will learn the ins-and-outs of criminal investigations, courts-martial, nonjudicial punishment, and Article 32 hearings.  Role-playing exercises enable students to fill the shoes of the decision-makers in a learning, academic environment.  The instructor will guide students in learning how to avoid unlawful command influence.  Additionally, the class will address military criminal jurisdiction over civilians under the Military Extraterritorial Jurisdiction Act (MEJA).  This class anticipates including a visit to the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

A 714  Becoming a Better Decision Maker
This course builds upon concepts from core and AOWC lessons such as critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and organizational leadership, and puts them into the context of organizational and strategic-level decision making through the use of case studies, Harvard Business Review articles, video presentations, and historical analysis.  The course will challenge your thinking on decision making through analysis of a wide variety of topics such as hidden traps to thinking, styles of decision makers, the use of intuition, emotional intelligence, the impact of national culture, and crisis decision making.

A716  Leadership: A Force For Change
This course offers students an opportunity to study and evaluate leadership techniques associated with successfully leading organizational change.  Incorporating use of the Kotter Change Model, and other change models, students develop a broadened perspective of change issues affecting today’s military leaders and their organizations.  They also refine personal techniques for managing change.

A718 Negotiations for Leaders
This course will develop bargaining and negotiating skills to succeed in the contemporary operating environment.  Special emphasis will be placed on the areas of interpersonal and inter-group conflict, interpersonal influence techniques, and the tactics and strategies involved with improved bargaining and negotiation.  The major purpose of the course is for officers to gain insight into their own negotiating styles and to become more effective negotiators and more astute observers of the negotiation process.

A721 Leadership Lessons From Corporate America
This course employs the case method of teaching and learning using selected cases from business and industry from the Harvard Business School.  Students will examine six leadership-oriented case studies to analyze the activities and actions of key personnel, frame the task or situation, provide focus to the point of inquiry, interact with fellow students, apply critical thinking, establish and defend positions, measure progress, and bring closure to the case in a challenging and stimulating environment.

A 724 Organizational Leadership Case Studies
This course will improve your critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and organizational leadership, and puts them into the context of organizational and strategic-level decision making through the use of military movies as case studies.  The course will challenge your thinking on leadership competencies of organizational-level leaders and commanders. It will also focus on the outcomes of the decision-making in combat or preparing for combat with the intent of deducing implications that relate to your future roles as an organizational leader in full spectrum operations.

A725 Strategic Leadership
This course is taught by former battalion and higher commanders who have served at the strategic level.  It introduces students to the world of strategic leaders, and the art of strategic thinking, which require a unique set of knowledge, skills, and abilities to be successful in the volatile, complex and ambiguous strategic environment.  It will provide a greater understanding of the complexities of leadership at the strategic level through an in-depth study of strategic leaders.

A726  The Art of Command
This course, taught by instructors that have commanded at the battalion and higher levels, provides a framework and a doctrinal discussion of the roles and missions of a commander and how he leads his particular organization.  Students have the opportunity to discuss their thoughts and questions about command with serving and former senior commanders.


A752  Military and the Media
This course includes students from Command and General Staff School and University of Kansas advanced journalism students. Some of the classes are held at KU, some at CGSC and some at media outlets or field locations.  Through shared experiences, practical exercises and role reversals the military officers and journalism students gain a better understanding of the skills needed to effectively engage each others' organizations.

For more information see the Electives Course Guide or contact:
Department of Command and Leadership
Room 4552, Lewis & Clark Center
100 Stimson Avenue
Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027

Media and the Military Curriculum

Students address media relations and planning throughout the CGSOC curriculum.  Students explore the relationships between the military and the media, the challenges in the contemporary operating environment and how the affects military planning.

Curricular Highlights

• C100 Foundations block lessons.  The contemporary operating environment has demonstrated how the media’s coverage of an Army operations has an effect on the will of Soldiers, the people, and the nation, as well as how the media shapes world opinion. The US Army current policy of embedding reporters at the troop level means increased complexity for commanders and staffs when dealing with military operations. The foundations course provides students an opportunity to discuss the relationships between the military and the media in the current operational environment, and the role of the leader to ensure that their organization understands all the facets of strategic communications requirements.  The outcome is for students to understand the role of the leader for development of the strategic communication plan to include messages, sound bites, and preparation for media engagements.

• Advanced Media Training (AMT). Adapted from a program given to general officers at the Pentagon, AMT gives students the opportunity to experience a series of intense media interviews in the realistic setting of a working TV studio.  Instructors, who are news media veterans, give a lecture on tips and techniques. Then students are taken to the studio, where they conduct remote, face-to-face and press conference interviews with cameras running.  They receive immediate feedback from instructors and fellow students, and also are given a DVD recording of their interviews for later study.

• Media Panel.  Held twice per year, the panels made up of national and international journalists familiar in working with and reporting on the military participate in an open panel discussion with students.  The focus of the panel is to answer student questions on current military and media operations from the perspective of the journalists while providing an outlet for frank and open discussions concerning the state of the military-media relationships and what each expects.

• Media play in exercises (throughout the year).  Student JTFs have PAO billets and students participate as members of both a Strategic Communication Working Group (SCWG) and  Information Operations (IO) Cell.  Exercise coordinators insert daily simulated local and international press articles that require JTF staffs to react from both effects and Public Affairs (PA) perspectives.  Press conferences are part of exercises.  They are filmed and streamed throughout the College on an exercise news network.  Conferences replicate the stress of real world media interviews by using bright lights, several cameras and microphones and role players serving as journalists.  Media professionals  and university journalism sutdents also role-play as embedded media.

• One-on-one interviews (throughout the year).  Faculty members conduct interviews throughout the year during different lessons.  All are filmed for student feedback.  The students gain an understanding for developing command messages and themes and crafting sound bites in preparation for media interviews.

• Media outreach program (throughout the year) CGSS invites local colleges and universities to send journalism professors and students to CGSC to observe the media panel and  to participate in exercises as embedded media, as members of joint press conference media pools, and as stringer media who conduct one-on-one interviews.

• Elective Course A751, Military and the Media for the JTF Commander and Staff.  This elective course examines the role of the JTF commander and staff for information operations and crisis management media implications.

• Elective Course A752/J500, Military and the Media: Bridging the Gap.  This course introduces Command and General School Staff Officers and University of Kansas advanced journalism students to the relationship between journalists and experienced field grade officers currently serving on active duty.  Upon completion, both the military officers and student journalist will better understand the requirements and skills needed to effectively plan for and engage each organization. The course provides a medium for military officers to engage with advanced student journalists in both academic and realistic interactive situations.

Lesson details are available to AKO registered users of our Blackboard site:


Last Reviewed: February 13, 2015

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