The School of Advanced Military Studies in the 21st Century


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In 1981, then Lieutenant Colonel Huba Wass de Czege published an article that examined the conventional military education system of mid-career field grade officers. This paper not only created significant debate regarding the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) curriculum, it became the genesis for the formation of the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS). SAMS officially began in 1984 at Fort Leavenworth under the operational control of CGSC and was planned as a rigorous year-long academic program for selected officers. By conceptual design SAMS would provide a broad military education in the science and art of war at the tactical and operational levels beyond the CGSC course in terms of theoretical depth and application. Since the time of Wass de Czege's initial study in 1981 the environment of potential global conflict and the personnel and professional demands placed upon the army as an institution have changed. In 1983 most military analysts predicted that any crisis that would require the significant employment of U.S. military forces would be conducted against a Soviet adversary on the plains of Northern Germany. Yet, in the past 15 years the Department of Defense has been engaged in eleven major military operations and only one (the Gulf War) resembled the type of conflict anticipated in 1983. Additionally, when the U.S. Congress enacted the Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act (GNA) in 1987 and the army adopted the Officer Professional Military System (OPMS) XXI in 1997, army officer career rules have significantly changed. Combined, joint and reserve component duty requirements have severely restricted the amount of time that most mid-career army officers will be able to spend in either branch or service assignments. As assignment guidance has changed, so has the resource pool of available field grade officers who can afford an additional year of study after CGSC at SAMS.

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