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ILE: A New System for CGSC Students

So, you’ve heard the term “ILE,” or perhaps “CGSC–ILE.” You may be asking yourself: Just what is “ILE”? and how does it apply to me? Is it something that I, as an Active component Army officer, will attend?

“ ILE” is the Army’s Intermediate-Level Education program, and it takes the place of what many of us have known as the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course (CGSOC). This is a significant change in Army officer education, because it opens resident intermediate-level education to all Active component officers, regardless of branch. So, yes, ILE does apply to you, and, yes, you will attend it. Here is a brief description of what ILE is all about.

Command and General Staff College

The Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) is an educational institution located at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. It includes five subordinate schools: the Command and General Staff School, the School of Advanced Military Studies, the School for Command Preparation, the Army Management Staff College, and the Directorate of Non-Resident Studies (which administers the nonresident CGSOC).

In essence, CGSC’s mission is to educate and train intermediate-level Army, international, and sister-service officers, and in some cases interagency leaders, and prepare them to operate as field-grade com-manders and staff officers in full-spectrum Army, joint, interagency, and multinational environments. ILE provides both common core and functional area (FA) professional military education to all Army majors.

ILE Corrects a Problem

ILE is a result of the Army Training and Leader Development Panel (ATLDP) review conducted in 2001. Based on the findings of that study, the Army concluded that it needed to change its intermediate-level education for officers.

For many years, the Army used a centralized selection-board process to choose about 50 percent of its Active component majors to attend CGSC at Fort Leavenworth or an equivalent sister-service staff college. The remaining 50 percent of Active component majors had to complete the CGSOC by correspondence or through an Army Reserve school that taught the CGSOC; if they did not do so, they became non-competitive for promotion to lieutenant colonel.

Many officers perceived that they were in the lower half of their competitive cohort year group if they were not selected to attend CGSC in residence at Fort Leavenworth. Over time, the results of promotion selection boards and command selection boards tended to prove that those perceptions were correct. Completing the nonresident CGSOC did not guarantee an officer’s nonselection for battalion command, but those officers did have a markedly lower selection rate. While most graduates of the nonresident CGSOC were promoted to lieutenant colonel, few of them received centrally selected battalion commands.

As a result of the ATLDP’s findings, the Chief of Staff of the Army decided that all Active component majors would attend ILE, that they would attend ILE in residence, and that CGSC’s permanent-party faculty at Fort Leavenworth would teach the ILE core curriculum.

This last statement requires a bit of explanation. What is meant by “ILE core curriculum”? What exactly constitutes ILE, and where is it taught?

ILE Curricula

ILE consists of two segments: a core course and an advanced FA qualification course. All majors, regardless of their branch or FA, study an identical core curriculum within ILE. When an officer graduates from the ILE core course, the Army awards him Military Education Level 4 and Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) Phase I credentials. [JPME is a two-phased system designed to qualify joint specialty officers. Phase I is taught as part of the curricula of the intermediate and senior service colleges in both resident and nonresident formats. Phase II is taught only in residence through the National Defense University.] Then, depending on his FA, the officer receives additional FA education, which, in effect, provides him with branch-qualifying educational credentials.

Operations Career Field ILE

All Operations Career Field (OPCF) majors attend ILE in residence at CGSC. OPCF officers are those who continue to serve in their basic branch and that branch is part of the Army Competitive Category (ACC). OPCF also includes officers in three FAs, regardless of their basic branch: Psychological Operations (FA 37), Civil Affairs (FA 38), and Multifunctional Logistics (FA 90).

The ACC excludes officers in the Chaplain Corps, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and all Army Medical Department branches (Medical Corps, Dental Corps, Army Nurse Corps, Medical Service Corps, Medical Specialist Corps, and Veterinary Corps). So, with a few exceptions, these officers do not attend the CGSC in residence at Fort Leavenworth. These exceptions generally are limited to Medical Corps officers who will serve as division surgeons or Medical Service Corps officers who also are FA 90 officers (such as those serving in the medical companies of brigade support battalions).

Other-Than-OPCF ILE

All “other than OPCF” majors attend ILE core in-struction at what are known as “ILE course location sites” rather than at Fort Leavenworth. Course location sites currently exist at four places in the United States: Fort Belvoir, Virginia; Fort Lee, Virginia; Fort Gordon, Georgia; and the Navy Postgraduate School at Monterey, California. The Army selected these sites because they are located at or near large concentrations of other-than-OPCF officers who are serving or attending school.

Who are other-than-OPCF officers? They include officers in the—

• Medical Department (other than those having FA 90).
• Chaplain Corps.
• Judge Advocate General’s Corps.
• Operations Support Career Field (OSCF), includ-ing Foreign Area Officers (FA 48) and the Army Acquisition Corps (FA 51).
• Information Operations Career Field (IOCF), including Information Systems Engineering (FA 24), Information Operations (FA 30), Strategic Intelligence (FA 34), Space Operations (FA 40), Public Affairs (FA 46), Information Systems Management (FA 53), and Simulations Operations (FA 57) officers.

Institutional Support Career Field (ISCF), including Human Resource Management (FA 43); Comptroller (FA 45); Academy Professor, U.S. Military Academy (FA 47); Operations Research and Systems Analysis (FA 49); Force Management (FA 50); Nuclear Research and Operations (FA 52); and Strategic Plans and Policy (FA 59) officers.

It is apparent that other-than-OPCF officers are less involved in the direct, operational combat actions of the Army on the battlefield. They are more likely to be involved in aspects of supporting the Army from within a theater of operations, from the strategic base in the Continental United States (CONUS), or from power-projection platforms between the theater and CONUS.

However, it is quite possible to find other-than-OPCF officers working within divisions, corps, Army component commands, various joint organizations within a theater of operations (such as a joint task force or joint force land component command), or on the staffs of any of the various combatant commands, such as the U.S. Central Command, U.S. European Command, U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Northern Command, U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Joint Forces Command, U.S. Special Operations Command, or U.S. Transportation Command.

ILE Core and FA Curricula

How do the two curricula for OPCF and other-than-OPCF officers differ? What is taught? The ILE core courses taught at Fort Leavenworth and the course location sites are identical. All ILE core courses consist of instruction in four major instructional blocks: Foundations, Strategic Studies, Operational Studies, and Tactical Studies. Simultaneously, there are three parallel courses throughout the entire ILE core: History, Leadership, and Force Management.

Throughout the ILE core instruction, the Leadership Lecture Series (LLS) presents a series of speakers. These speakers come to the course location sites through a variety of media: some live and in person, some by videotape, and some by simultaneous streaming video from Fort Leavenworth. The LLS provides students an opportunity to hear the thoughts and ideas of senior military and civilian leaders as well as prominent members of the media and other segments of society.

At the end of the core instruction, the appropriately named End of Core Course Exercise (EOCCE) occurs. The EOCCE is a rapid-paced series of vignette-driven situations in which the student officers must work. The EOCCE uses all aspects of the core curriculum that the officers have received. It forces officers to use critical thinking and critical reasoning skills to analyze and select the best possible courses of action and then issue orders that provide the optimal course of action for their organizations to follow. One of the best features of the EOCCE is its rapid pace. It enables all students to participate in leadership roles, and the vignettes involve everyone; there are no instances of student “feast or famine” during this series of exercises.

ILE begins to differ, and rightly so, when students enter the advanced FA qualification courses that follow the core course. The advanced FA qualification courses are designed by the individual FA communities. Those organizations determine what education is needed to qualify their officers as field-grade officers. The FA courses range in length from 8 to 179 weeks.

Studying at a Course Location Site

Are officers at the course location sites receiving a second-class experience compared to officers attending ILE at Fort Leavenworth? Absolutely not! In fact, officers at the course location sites such as Fort Lee occupy completely remodeled classrooms. Course location sites are using classrooms of a quality that Fort Leavenworth will not have until the academic year beginning in the fall of 2007. The Smart-board and Sympodium projection systems, white-boards, computers, monitors, desks, and chairs at the course location sites are all brand new. The faculty is, indeed, the same as that teaching at Fort Leavenworth, because the faculty comes to the course location sites on temporary duty (TDY) to teach the course.

Student officers at the course location sites also generally are there in a TDY status. Both students and faculty at the course location sites usually are separated from their families, which can pose some inconvenience and hardship. However, this situation does offer some compensatory advantages: It provides an opportunity for more focused and reflective study; and officers usually do not have to move their families, so their children remain at home and in their schools.

Students attending ILE in a TDY status at Fort Lee participate in the Military Training Service Support (MTSS) program. MTSS pays for lodging, meals, and in-and-around mileage in lieu of per diem. Lodging accommodations are free to the student, either on post or at local commercial hotels in the neighboring community. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided free to the student at Fort Lee, either at the Army Logistics Management College cafeteria or the Lee Club. These meals are filling and well prepared. Students are reimbursed for in-and-around travel at rates determined by whether they live on or off post.

The Army’s Intermediate-Level Education program is now a fairer and more equitable educational experience than previously. It provides the Army and the joint community with better educated officers who are prepared to deal with the uncertainties they are sure to encounter as they continue to serve in the operating environment of today and tomorrow.
ALOG

Colonel Neal H. Bralley, USA (Ret.), is an Intermediate-Level Education (ILE) Team Leader with the Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been a member of the CGSC faculty for 5 years and led the ILE teaching team for the second Fort Lee, Virginia, course iteration from August to December 2005. A graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College and the Naval War College, he served in various command and staff positions in the continental United States, Korea, Germany, and Saudi Arabia.