This report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. The 1981 class at the US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) began their studies in the shadow of two seminal events: the presidential contest between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan and the failed attempt to rescue American hostages held by Iranian militants. The outcome of both events contributed substantially to a revitalization of the US military. For the next 25 years, this revitalization would be evident in the continuing and vibrant evolution of CGSC at Fort Leavenworth. During these years, farsighted Army leaders recognized and emphasized the importance of mid-career education to the development and maintenance of a first-rate officer corps that is capable of leading the Army forward over new strategic, doctrinal, and technological frontiers. This study picks up the story of CGSC from approximately where Boyd L. Dastrup left off in his book The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College: A Centennial History, which was published in 1982.1 It will provide a survey of the history of CGSC over the past 25 years within the context of broader developments in America's national security endeavors. It will describe the evolution of this centerpiece of the Army educational system, and how changes in its curriculum, organization, and student body have reflected the dynamics of a rapidly changing world.
From the time of its establishment, efforts to ensure that CGSC provides officers with the intellectual skills and professional knowledge they need to succeed in an ever-changing military and national security environment have evolved unevenly, with years of progress and innovation alternating with periods of stagnation. As the College looked to the future at the centennial of its founding, leaders realized the latter was something the US Army could not afford. Not only did the military challenge posed by the Soviet Union appear as complex and formidable as ever, but new national security concerns were emerging that increased the need for an Army and an officer corps that was capable of effectively handling more than just high-intensity conventional warfare in defense of Western Europe. These new concerns gained greater prominence with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War and further increased the need for officers who possessed the intellectual qualities necessary to operate successfully in ambiguous situations.
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