Mission, Vision, Principles, Priorities & Philosophy

About the Command and General Staff College

CGSC CrestSince its inception in 1881 as the School of Application for Infantry and Cavalry, the Command and General Staff College (CGSC) has evolved to meet the educational and operational needs of the United States Army. Since World War II, it has generally been known as the school for Army majors, though the College contains other schools and it educates officers from other military services and from other countries. Since 2008, the CGSC is part of CAC Leader Development and Education (CAC LD&E), along with a number of other schools and centers whose missions are centered on leader development and education.


The US Army Command and General Staff College educates, trains and develops leaders for Unified Land Operations in a Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational operational environment; and advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements.


The US Army Command and General Staff College is and will always strive to be an educational center of excellence. We must remain a renowned academic leader 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. We will continue to support field commanders with well-trained and well-educated leaders, in-depth research in operational-level land power studies, and reach-back planning in support of ongoing operations. We will maintain our world-class faculty dedicated to learning and advancing the professional body of knowledge.

The US Army Command and General Staff College's enduring purpose, supporting Army Leader Development and Education and Professional Military Education, provides a stable beacon for the future. USACGSC executes professional military education programs through its four schools: the Command and General Staff School, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the School for Command Preparation, and the School for Advanced Leadership and Tactics all at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.; and its four satellite campuses at Fort Belvoir, Va., Fort Lee, Va., Fort Gordon, Ga., and Redstone Arsenal, Ala. USACGSC ensures the professional vitality of the US Army's corps of officers by preparing them to discharge their duties in the service of our nation. Today's contemporary operating environment requires leaders for tomorrow's joint, interagency, and multinational operations. We must replicate that operational environment in the classroom, therefore, USACGSC is more than an "Army" school; we are a joint, interagency, and multinational college with international officers, sister service and interagency students and faculty. USACGSC seeks to produce:

  • Successful Graduates leading teams to solve complex problems throughout the spectrum of operations.
  • World-Class Faculty advancing the profession of arms through the development of, publication for, and subscription to the professional body of knowledge.
  • Harmonious Army Leader Development and Education Program that develops, integrates, and synchronizes leader development and educational systems.


The Principles guiding our actions are: A Learning Organization committed to Currency and Relevancy and the Contribution to Knowledge, Empowered Professional Faculty, Socratic and Adult Learning Methods, Training for Certainty and Educating for Uncertainty with a Multi-disciplinary Curricula, and Creating a Learning Environment that supports understanding of Joint Interdependence and the implications of the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical levels of war:

A Learning Organization Committed to Currency and Relevancy and the Contribution to Knowledge

Our current reality demands that CGSC graduates be prepared to assume warfighting duties immediately upon graduation. Our graduates must be confident, competent leaders, and creative problem solvers who understand the complexities of the contemporary operating environment. Learning is our most important contribution to the nation; therefore, our challenge is the mastery of a diverse, broad, and ever-changing professional body of knowledge. Collaboration (developing, publishing, and subscribing) in the professional body of knowledge is essential to maintain currency and make relevant contributions to furthering professional understanding or creating new professional knowledge. This demands that CGSC be a learning organization committed to a continuous effort to improve student learning, teaching, and the learning environment. We must be an analytic, thinking, and learning institution, seeking new knowledge, but circumspect enough to discern the difference between contemporary innovation and enduring principles.

Empowered Professional Faculty

The CGSC best accomplishes its educational outcomes through a vital professional faculty who recognize that excellence in teaching is foremost. Our faculty members are drawn from the entire range of relevant academic and military disciplines, and they embody the scholarship of teaching, learning, and warfighting. As professional educators, they are committed to master both content and process. CGSC faculty are experts in their respective fields of study, talented facilitators of learning, and empowered with the flexibility to determine how best to achieve learning objectives in their classrooms so that our students' learning will last.

Socratic and Adult Learning Methods

The CGSC approaches education as the dynamic interaction between active learners, faculty using learner-centric pedagogies, and relevant outcomes-based curricula (content). CGSC faculty members create learning environments that allow students to construct knowledge – make meaning – by connecting curriculum content with their own experiences and prior knowledge through practical application and critical reflection. To accomplish this, CGSC faculty are comfortable in their roles as facilitators, and employ learner-centric methods and techniques that actively engage students in the learning process. Simulation-based exercises, case studies, and seminar discussions demand high levels of student interaction and create opportunities for peer learning. Beyond enabling pursuit of specific course and Joint learning objectives, CGSC's learning methodology seeks to build intrinsically motivated, intellectually curious officers and interagency partners with the skills necessary to access information and construct knowledge on their own.

Training for Certainty and Educating for Uncertainty with a Multi-disciplinary Curriculum

The CGSC serves as the US Army's most important professional school, combining theoretical education and practical training to produce leaders who are proficient in the understanding and conduct of modern warfare. We must train for certainty and educate for uncertainty, as both training and education are vital to our students' learning needs. We must train our graduates on enduring doctrinal principles, emerging lessons, and the skills they will require in their career. We must educate our graduates for the uncertainty they will surely encounter; they must know how to think and apply critical reasoning and creative thinking in complex ambiguous situations. The CGSC's academic methods and curricular designs educate and train military officers and interagency partners in the nature and conduct of land warfare within the complex national security environment. In addition, CGSC advances the state of contemporary military knowledge through original research and experimentation.

Creating a Learning Environment that supports understanding of Joint Interdependence and the implications of the Strategic, Operational, and Tactical levels of war

CGSC expands students understanding of joint force deployment at the operational and tactical levels of war, to include joint force capabilities and inter-relationships across the full range of military operations. CGSC employs simulation-based exercises, case studies, and seminar discussions in ways that introduce students to the complexity and dynamism of Unified Land Operations in a Joint, Interagency, Inter-governmental, and Multinational (JIIM) operating environment. CGSC's active learning methods also allow faculty to inject uncertainty and surprise into classroom learning experiences in ways that demand flexibility and promote adaptability.

Strategic Priorities

The CGSC mission statement conveys the College's essential tasks and the vision expresses our ideal of the future. We adjust our mission statement to accommodate continuous and deliberate analysis of guidance (national, DOD, Army, TRADOC, and CAC), and the complexities of the contemporary operating environment. Our continuing challenge is current and relevant leader development through professional military education.We ensure currency and relevancy by immersing ourselves in our professional body of knowledge, contributing to that knowledge with collaboration and publication, and simultaneously adapting our programs to meet the needs of our students, commanders, and operational forces.

Our strategic priorities help guide the evolution of our institution and the adaptation of our programs in pursuit of educational excellence:

  • Educate and train our students to ensure successful graduates can lead teams and solve complex problems in ambiguous environments in accordance with CGSC learning outcomes.
  • Research and publish, with particular emphasis on operational-level land power studies.
  • Recruit, develop, and retain world-class faculty.
  • Support the Army at War and advance the profession of arms.


The philosophy of the CGSC is founded on the principles of the American profession of arms. The common defense and welfare of the United States demands professional military officers who are educated and trained to the highest standards of excellence. The CGSC philosophy is the distillation of the College's collective set of values and principles that motivate our students and faculty to achieve our institutional mission and desired outcomes. Our philosophy explains who we are and what we stand for.

We value Service to the Nation, the Soldiers' Creed, Army Values, and leaders who are self-aware and capable of critical and creative thought in ambiguous environments.