Command and General Staff Officers' Course Summary

The full 44-week CGSS course is offered once a year at Fort Leavenworth, KS, with broad choices among more than 170 elective courses and focused programs in Special, Joint, or Space Operations. Courses start in July each year. The first 16 weeks of the course are offered three times a year at each of the satellite campuses at Fort Belvoir, VA, Fort Lee, VA, Fort Gordon, GA and the Redstone Arsenal, AL. Masters Degrees may be earned at the main campus at Fort Leavenworth, but may not be earned at the satellite campuses.

Command and General Staff Officers' Course consists of two components, the Command and General Staff Officers' Course (CGSOC) Common Core Course, and the Advanced Operations Course which is the credentialing course for field grade officers in the operational Army. Students complete these courses in an experiential learning environment which yields adaptive, self-aware, field-grade leaders of character and competence who are capable of shaping the joint operational environment.

The Common Core Course

The Core Course curriculum includes seven blocks of instruction:

  • Foundations
  • Strategic Studies
  • Operational Studies
  • Army Operations
  • Managing Army Change
  • Rise of the Western Way of War
  • Leadership: Forging Success in Uncertain Times

The Foundations block establishes a foundation and sets the conditions for all subsequent learning within the Command and General Staff Officers' Course Common Core, the Advanced Operations Course (AOC), and elective courses. The Strategic Studies block introduces students to the joint, interagency and multinational environment and the doctrinal and theoretical concepts required to perceive, understand, and analyze strategic-level military problems and challenges.

The Operational Studies block helps students to understand the strategic and operational level joint force capabilities and limitations, operational level joint force capabilities, national, and legal considerations. It includes an examination of the roles, functions, capabilities, and limitations of the US Air Force, US Navy, US Coast Guard, US Marine Corps, US Army, US Special Operations Forces (SOF), US Space Forces, interagency capabilities and issues, multinational considerations, and operational legal issues.

The Army Operations block integrates US Army doctrinal concepts and principles as they apply to tactical units executing full-spectrum operations through participation in classroom discussions and practical exercises. These lessons require students to recognize that one's understanding of an operation, situation, or problem involves a mental process or model, and helps them analyze complex problems, determine requirements, capabilities and shortfalls, and to then develop feasible plans for developing and executing solutions.

The Managing Army Change block serves to familiarize students with the higher-level (strategic) agencies and the complex/interdependent force management processes used to change the Army to meet DoD transformation and the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review goals of the contemporary operational environment.

The Rise of the Western Way of War block covers the history of the evolution of warfare and its applicability to current military planning. It explores the relationship between war and society from 1300 to the present, and assesses how the social, political, and economic changes in the larger society force changes within military organizations.

The Leadership block introduces students to the challenges of organizational leadership in a changing and uncertain environment. It also focuses on the concept of leadership styles and their underlying theories or strategies. Specifically, students discuss the relationship between leadership style, climate, and performance, and then conclude with a discussion to develop an understanding of the complexities of leading a change management process.

Throughout the entire Core Course, the student is taught "How to Think" instead of "What to Think" while using the Military Decision Making Process, thereby enabling him/her to develop focused solutions to entirely new problems that evolve in today's uncertain and volatile world. This is done with a balanced focus on Current Operations, Future Operations, and Planning functions, along with an attempt to teach students how to synchronize actions to attain the effects desired.

Advanced Operations Course

The purpose of the Advanced Operations Course (AOC) is to develop operational field-grade officers with a warfighting focus for battalion and brigade command who are capable of conducting full spectrum operations in joint, multinational, and interagency environments. This develops officers who have the requisite competencies to serve successfully as staff officers in division through echelons-above-corps assignments. It covers "how our Army fights" and includes the following:

  • Today's Operational Environment
  • Full Spectrum Operations
  • Theory of War and Doctrine
    • History
    • Critical Thinking
    • Decision Making
  • Conduct of War
    • Build/develop the force
    • Train the force
    • Employ/fight the force
    • Sustain the force
    • Large scale Combat Operations
    • Peace Enforcement
    • Counter-terrorism
    • Peacekeeping/NEO
    • Nation Assistance
    • Counterinsurgency
    • Counter-drug
    • Joint Multinational Operations
    • Interagency Operations
    • Deploy/Redeploy the force
  • Commandership
    • Digitized Skills
    • Combat TTP
    • Information Operations TTP

Elective Courses

Following completion of the Core Course and AOC, students are allowed to select 192 hours of elective studies that round out their Command and General Staff Officers' Course education. The menu of elective courses includes courses in the following areas:

  • Graduate Studies for a Masters Degree
  • Army Tactics
  • Digital Systems
  • Logistics & Resource Operations
  • Joint, Interagency, and Multinational Operations
  • Military History
  • Command and Leadership
  • Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps Studies
  • Miscellaneous and Specialty Topics