MCELM Inbound Students

Inbound Students

Congratulations on your selection to attend the Army's Command and General Staff College! Your tour at CGSC will be mentally challenging with curriculum in strategy, doctrine, international relations, strategic leadership, global security, military planning, and military use of land, sea, air, and space across the range of military operations focusing on the joint and multi-national environment. Additionally, the friendships and relationships that you will establish during your year here at CGSC bridging service boundaries and cultures will no doubt aid in making this a very rewarding year.

We have students from all the U.S. military services, over 40 foreign countries and many of the non-military U.S. government agencies. As such, everyone arrives here with some areas of the curriculum being very familiar and other areas being very new.

For many of you, it has been quite some time since you were in an academic environment and had to execute the duties as a student do things such as attending lectures, participating in seminar discussions, and writing research papers.  The links in this section are designed to orient to you to life at CGSC. Some are actionable items, others are merely provided to be helpful . In either event, you should read the material associated with each of the links in this section.

Pre-Reporting Instructions

  1. Key Dates are posted here concerning reporting dates, prep course dates, in processing, registration, and course start and end dates. We recommend you check this site regularly for new and updated information.
  2. You MUST arrive here with a valid CAC ID Card and PIN number and a valid Army Knowledge Online (AKO) account. You may self-register for an AKO account by going to, selecting the "Register for AKO account" near the login portion of the screen, and choosing the "Create a Joint Account" option. If you have issues creating an account, contact the US Student Division at (913) 684-7313/7327.
  3. Once you have written orders, fill out BIO DATA SHEET, and return electronically, or fax to (913) 684-2771/DSN 552-2771. If you have trouble opening the Bio Data Sheet, try saving the file to your desktop first, then open.
  4. In accordance with your detaching PCS Orders, a personnel security investigation must be initiated and validated by your Security Manager prior to arriving CGSC, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.
  5. The P920 Course is required for all inbound Marine students. It must be completed prior to the start of the Command and General Staff Officers' Course (CGSOC) course. Required courses are Organization, Doctrine, Logistics, military Decision-Making Process (MDMP) and Symbology. For information about the course contact us (see #7 below).
  6. Until you get a permanent address here, you may have your mail forwarded to the Marine Corps Element at:
    FT LEAVENWORTH KS 66027-2301
  7. If you have not yet contacted us, feel free to do so. The Marine Corps Element commercial telephone number is (913) 684-4673 or DSN 552-4673. Our email address is Fax number is (913) 684-2771.

Pre-Reporting Suggestions

Student Information

CGSC Circulars 350-1 (CGSC Catalog) and 350-4 (Administrative Instructions for the Command and General Staff Officer Course) are good sources of information about the course and schoolhouse. As such, they are worth the read, but you must have an active AKO account to access these circulars online.

Reading and Writing

There is a large amount of reading and a fair amount of writing at CGSC. The volume and nature of the readings require a different style of reading than you may have been utilizing recently. And the writing at CGSC is of an academic nature. It is not the staff writing to which you may have grown accustomed. Given these facts, a refresher or primer in these areas may prove useful. The Air War College maintains a robust site for these topics:

Anticipatory Readings

There are no required readings as such. However, inbound students frequently want to know what they should do to prepare. Primarily you should arrive with the innate knowledge you have of the Marine Corps and your particular specialty within the Corps. However, for the extra motivated…

  • Freshen up on our doctrinal pubs (MCDP-1 Warfighting, MCDP 1-2 Campaigning, MCDP-5 Planning, MCPW 5-1 Marine Corps Planning Process)
  • Peruse the Commandant's Reading List
  • Read ahead. The following books will not be issued, but will be required reading during the course. You may buy them if you wish, but ample copies are available at the Combined Arms Research Library for your use during the course. Given the reading load during the academic year, you may want to check out a couple of these books from your local library and begin reading if you have the time.
    • Knox, MacGregor and Williamson Murray, The Dynamics of Military Revolution 1300-2050 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001).
    • Paret, Peter, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1986).
    • Von Clausewitz, Carl, On War, edited by Michael Howard and Peter Paret (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976). Read only the three introductory Essays (pp. 3-58); Books I and VIII of On War (pp. 75-637); and the concluding commentary, "A Guide to Reading On War" (pp. 641-711).

In addition, we recommend you remain/become up-to-date on current events and foreign affairs by reading your local and national newspapers, news magazines, etc. Current events will be an integral part of your seminar discussions.

Research Topics

From thesis requirements of the various Master's programs, opportunities in independent research electives, to a general and pervasive encouragement to write and publish at the schoolhouse, there are many opportunities for research and writing at CGSC. As such, you may want to think ahead about a possible research project or topic. Certainly you will have ample opportunity to select topics once here at CGSC, however, you may have a certain amount of luck forming and refining relevant ideas as well as collecting preliminary sources of information when you are actively involved in the area you may choose to write about. By all means, save the analysis and deep thought for the schoolhouse, but a little prep work may pay dividends down the road, if you are so inclined.

MCELM Contact Information:
Marine Corps Detachment, 100 Stimson Ave., Rm 3519, Ft. Leavenworth, KS 66027
Phone: Commercial: 913-684-4673, DSN: 552-4673
E-mail: The Marine Corps Element