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Reflecting on Hell in Anticipation of Armageddon: The Impact of Reflection and Adaptation on the Education of the US Army Officer Corps

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Technical Report,01 Jun 2015,10 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The Command and General Staff Course at Fort Leavenworth has served as a hub for adaptability that has time and again resulted in strategic change for the US Army. Designed to standardize education of the officer corps to increase professionalism and effectiveness, World War I increased the importance of a Fort Leavenworth education in the profession of arms. This monograph looks at how the adaptation of the schools curriculum to new technologies and battlefield realities in alignment with the political environment during the inter-war years led to the development of officers trained for the mobilization, building, training, employing, and supporting the divisions, corps, and armies that resulted in victory during World War II and enhanced success during the Cold War. The Command and General Staff Course of the inter-war years and Cold War are then compared to the adaptations made after the beginning of World War I with the AEF General Staff Course at Langres, France and during the post-911 Command and General Staff Officer Course when the US Army found itself in a counterinsurgency fight in Iraq it was unprepared for. In order for adaptation to be effective, it requires reflection. Reflection requires time. The Command and General Staff Officer Courses of the inter-war years and the Cold War were more effective because of the time invested in reflecting on the realities of historical lessons learned in conflict and applying those lessons in anticipation of a realistic future war. Pershings establishment of Langres and the post-911 Command and General Staff Officer Courses adaptations were based on experimentation designed to survive the immediate situation.

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