Military Education:

Curriculum Changes at the Armed Forces Staff College

NSIAD-91-288: Published: Sep 19, 1991. Publicly Released: Sep 19, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Phase II joint professional military education at the Armed Forces Staff College's Joint and Combined Staff Officer School, focusing on: (1) the differences between the College's 12-week curriculum and the previous 9-week curriculum; and (2) whether the College's curriculum incorporates the Panel on Military Education's guidance.

GAO found that: (1) overall, the College incorporated the Panel's guidance for improving its new 12-week intermediate curriculum; (2) the college decreased preparation hours in the 12-week program and increased the number of classroom hours compared to the 9-week program; (3) according to the Commandant, the reduction in preparation hours for the 12-week program allows greater opportunity for joint student interaction; (4) the College sharpened the focus and contents of readings, case studies, practical exercises, and its wargame; (5) faculty promotion rates have lagged behind specialists and other line officers; (6) despite the Panel's support for the College's involvement in student selection, the College has little or no input in this process; (7) the Commandant is satisfied with the student selection processes already in place and stated that educational issues should be the College's primary focus; (8) about 33 percent of the students attending the college were enrolled by direct entry, which allows intermediate and senior students to attend Phase II without first graduating from a Phase I in-resident program; and (9) in addition to reflecting higher levels of learning, College officials stated that the 12-week curriculum also offers a better balance of such issues as deployment, employment, and sustainment.

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