The Army Command and General Staff College
(CGSC) Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar is a
graduate-level program designed to expose select
field-grade officers to the best practices in military and
corporate supply chain management and logistics. The
10-month program combines the Fort Leavenworth,
Kansas-based Intermediate Level Education (ILE) common
core and sustainment-focused electives period with
the fully funded, National Logistics Curriculum (NLC)-endorsed University of Kansas (KU) master of science
degree in business.
The KU master's program features a concentration in
supply chain management and logistics, while the ILE
electives period provides opportunities for education with
industry (EWI) and sustainment field studies at strategiclevel
Department of Defense (DOD) organizations.
I was honored to be among the 16 officers to participate
in the inaugural Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar. The
exposure I gained from participating in this intellectually
demanding program had a positive effect on my professional
development, increasing my analytical skills and
my supply chain management and logistics knowledge.
This article serves as my after-action review of the program
and recommends changes for the way ahead.
To be considered for 1 of the 16 seminar seats in the
2010–2011 ILE year, each applicant was required to submit
a written essay, a memorandum requesting participation,
his last 3 officer evaluation reports, and his officer
records brief. Incoming ILE students applied for the
program while in-processing at CGSC and were notified
of their selection a few days before the official start of
the course. This selection process yielded a very diverse group, including 11 Army Logistics Corps officers, 1
Armor officer, 1 Chemical officer, 1 Aviation officer, 1
Navy engineer, and 1 Air Force C–5 Galaxy pilot.
The CGSC core curriculum consisted of instruction in
leadership, military history, force management, and joint,
interagency, and multinational operations. The various
departments within CGSC emphasized staff functions
at the operational level in environments across the full
spectrum of conflict. In addition to this instruction were
numerous graded assessments of the writing and critical
thinking skills of each warrior logistics scholar. Seminar
students participated in the same common core curriculum as other students in ILE Class 11–01, including guest speaker engagements, strategic communication requirements, and additional duties.
KU Course of Study
The Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar students also
attended class 2 to 3 nights a week as they worked toward
completing the KU master of science in business in supply
chain management degree program. Although all of
the KU courses were presented at Fort Leavenworth, they
were taught by KU professors.
The first phase of the KU program was focused on core
business functions with courses in accounting, economics,
statistics, finance, project management, and an introduction
to supply chain management. Each course held
eight classes that met in the evenings for approximately
3½ hours. Requirements for each subject consisted of
homework assignments that averaged 3 hours of study
time per class meeting, Blackboard discussions, and midterm
and final exams.
Education With Industry
Once the seminar students completed the CGSC
common core blocks of instruction, their schedules were
altered from that of a traditional ILE student to support
the EWI phase and CGSC courses L200, Leadership,
and H200, Military Innovation in the Interwar Period.
On Mondays and Fridays, scholars participated in the
leadership and history courses; the remaining 3 days were
dedicated to EWI.
The overall objectives of this portion of the program
were to provide exposure to the corporate environment,
witness best industry practices, and apply lessons learned
from the KU coursework to assigned corporate projects.
Based on individual interests, experience, and previous
education, officers were paired with participating firms
to work on supply chain management or logistics-related
projects. Firms such as Hallmark, Harley-Davidson, and
Frito-Lay were provided with two to three officers who
worked from 0900 to 1500 on each Tuesday, Wednesday,
In my corporate assignment, I worked on a reverse
logistics project at the Hallmark corporate headquarters in
Kansas City, Missouri. My specific project-related tasks
at Hallmark were to—
- Research industry best practices in reverse logistics
using external sources.
- Document and validate current Hallmark reverse
logistics procedures and workflows (physical and
information) and quantify current costs and resource
- Identify improvement opportunities in Hallmark's
current reverse logistics/returns process based on
findings from best-practice research and develop
recommendations to enable supply chain and business
staff reviews to improve the firm's current
reverse logistics operations.
From January to May, EWI continued with required
KU coursework, sustainment field studies, and CGSC
electives. The KU courses were focused on core supply
chain management issues, including change management,
transportation and logistics systems, information
systems, procurer and supplier management, and a final
capstone project. The students were challenged to solve
a real-world supply chain management issue for a major
distribution firm under the guidance of the company's
CGSC Spring Electives
The second phase of the KU courses continued on
Friday evenings and on Saturdays from 0830 to 1600
in support of the CGSC Spring Electives Term I travel
In the sustainment field studies period, which was substituted
for the spring electives, we visited the TACOM
Life Cycle Management Command headquarters, Navy
Supply Command headquarters, and Defense Logistics
Agency New Cumberland, Pennsylvania. We received
overview briefs, tours, and demonstrations of each
organization's current operations, supply chain issues,
and future role in the military's strategic supply chain.
Following each visit, an officer provided the visited
organization with a case study on the issues presented and
After completing the travel period, CGSC Spring Electives
Term II electives became the main effort of the program.
The electives were sustainment-focused to further
broaden each officer's knowledge and provide preparation
for post-ILE assignments. For example, I elected to
take the Sustainment Brigade Operations Course, Support
Operations Course, and Battle Command Sustainment
Support System Course.
In the closing weeks of the program, we participated in
a local Council of Supply Chain Management roundtable,
a KU graduation social, a KU hooding ceremony, and finally
the KU graduation ceremony in Lawrence, Kansas.
Recommended Program Improvements
The leaders within CGSC's Department of Logistics
and Resource Operations (DLRO) have developed a
cutting-edge program in the Warrior Logistics Scholars
Seminar. It is one of the few, if not the only, programs
that specifically target the professional development of
field-grade Logistics Corps officers. However, a few
adjustments can be made to improve the program.
As the program gains popularity, the demand to participate
will greatly exceed available seats for the seminar.
To ensure that the selection process yields the best qualified
officers to participate in the program, I recommend
that CGSC add the Graduate Management Admission
Test (GMAT) or Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to
the application process. With this additional requirement,
the application process deadline should be at least 30
days before the ILE start date in order to provide administrators
with adequate time to select the best qualified
officers for the program.
To ensure that officers are correctly assigned after
completing the Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar, a
special skill identifier similar to the identifier given to
graduates of the Theater Logistics Planners (TLOG)
program should be awarded to the officers who complete
the seminar. My recommendation is that graduates of the
program receive follow-on assignments within sustainment
brigade headquarters, corps- and division-level G–4
staffs, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Army Materiel
Command, the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution
Command, the Army Logistics University, and the
Army and Air Force Exchange Service. This will ensure
that the Army can take full advantage of the skills gained
by graduates of the seminar.
The Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar demonstrates
CGSC's tremendous flexibility and creativity. DLRO's
development of this specialized program enhances the
military's ability to meet the current needs of the changing
sustainment environment. As factors such as globalization,
technological advances, joint and interagency
Government interoperability, and dependence on the
military industrial complex continue to affect Army
sustainment operations, officers with the diverse skill set
acquired in the Warrior Logistics Scholars Seminar will
greatly benefit the Army.
By making minor adjustments to the application process
and tracking the officers who complete the program,
the sustainment community will produce a stellar program
that develops field-grade officers with the knowledge
needed to combine the best practices of civilian supply
chain management with current military sustainment
operations at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels.
Major Travis J. James is an instructor for Phase II of the Support Operations Course at the Army Logistics University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in resource management from Troy University, a master of business administration degree from Mississippi State University, and a master’s degree in supply chain management and logistics from the University of Kansas.