Fort Benning

Future leaders start 11-month course at Fort Benning

Future leaders in the military and law enforcement were at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation this week to start the Command & General Staff Officer Course.

This year, the class of 66 students from 13 countries has the highest number the institute has enrolled from a single group, said Lee Rials, a public affairs spokesman. Students at Fort Benning will spend the next 11 months focusing on leadership, management and planning operations with other organizations.

The class includes 38 military personnel from the U.S. Army, National Guard, Reserve, Air Force, Marines and Navy. International students from the military and law enforcement make up the other 28 students. The international students are from Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and El Salvador.

For second time since the institute opened in January 2001 as a Department of Defense education facility, Rials said the institute has a student from the U.S. Marshals Service, which is not part of the DoD.

“It is kind of out of their norm but it gives them a point of reference the way military operates,” Rials said.

The course gives students an opportunity to learn how other organizations work especially during interagency activities.

The course is the longest and most prestigious offered at the institute. It is taught entirely in Spanish and offers the students an opportunity to earn a master’s of military art and science degree. Students also may apply up to 18 semester hours to graduate degree programs at civilian universities.

The institute is expected to train about 1,575 eligible military, law enforcement and civilian personnel from the Western Hemisphere this fiscal year. It operates on a budget of about $10.8 million.