Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) - ICSC(L)

Joint Services Command and Staff College
26 weeks plus leave

About this course

The Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L)) is a 26-week residential, comprehensive and generalist mandatory career course run at the Army Division of the Joint Services Command and Staff College at the Defence Academy. The course provides training and education for all Army and Royal Marine majors, across a broad range of subjects, on promotion (routinely aged ~33 and with 10 years’ professional experience) and where possible for UK civil servants and international partners. The course runs twice per year: the A course from September to March and the B course from January to July.   

The course syllabus is delivered through a series of modules and includes Staff and Communication Skills; Global Effects on Defence; the Higher Management of Defence and the Army; Equipment (including Business Skills); Land Warfare Operational Planning (both the Combat Estimate and the Tactical Estimate); Broader Army and Royal Marines business in the context of defence and Command, Leadership and Management (CLM).  

It consists of central lectures, syndicate room activities and discussions (in classes of c.12 students), exercises (Map Exercises (MAPEXs), Model Exercises (MODELEXs) and Tactical Exercises without Troops (TEWTS)) with additional time set aside for personal study and reading.  It also includes a two-week exercise at the US Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth and a Staff Ride to Normandy, studying Operations COBRA and GOODWOOD. The course is set at the Brigade and Divisional levels with educational delivery aimed at the postgraduate, masters level.  

Having successfully completed the course, officers will have the requisite analytical, thinking and communication skills, professional knowledge and understanding, and the motivation to support a career as a major and lieutenant colonel on the staff as a major in sub-unit command. 

Course dates:
  • Course 17B: 04 Jan 21 - 23 Jul 21
  • Course 18A: 06 Sep 21 - 18 Mar 22
  • Course 18B: 04 Jan 22 - 22 Jul 22

Application Timelines:

  • Army Personnel Centre (APC), will inform captains who have been selected for promotion to major (Beige List) and notify them of their expected attendance on ICSC(L)
  • foreign military and civil servants expressions of interest need to be declared through their respective UK Defence Attaché
  • any other party interested in joining the course should contact the Army Division SO1 course secretary for more information
  • Army students may volunteer to study for a funded Master of Science MSc (Exec) degree with Henley Business School in Leadership and Strategic Studies, or a self-funded Masters (MA) with King's College London in Military and Security Studies, but these will require some additional work
  • Chartered Management Institute (CMI), Level 7 Certificate in Management & Leadership (38 QCF Credits)
  • Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM), Level 7 Award in Management (20 QCF Credits)
  • City and Guilds (C&G), Level 7 Award, Leadership & Management

What you will learn

By the end of the course, you will have the requisite analytical and communication skills, professional knowledge and understanding to support a career as a Major and Lieutenant Colonel on the staff and as a Major in sub unit command.

Staff and Communication Skills

This module examines both military and civilian communication skills.  It seeks to improve the quality of students’ staff work, both written and verbal.  It introduces a range of skills and techniques, as well as Thinking Skills.  It also includes study of Apps and Programmes which students can use in support of their work.

Command Leadership and Management

This module seeks to explore the full gamut of command, leadership and management, from both a military and civilian viewpoint.  It includes a number of high-profile speakers, as well as a detailed study of the techniques and skills necessary to support accurate and effective annual report-writing.  

Global Effects on Defence

This module is taught by our on-site academic partner, King’s College London.  It entails a comprehensive tour-d’horizon examining both conflict and the causes of conflict, through the study of a series of global examples and case studies.

Higher Management of Defence

This module takes a detailed look at the role of Defence in Government, including its interaction with other departments such as the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Treasury.  It broadens students’ understanding of the way in which government works including Defence spending.

Equipment Capability (including Business Skills)

Students study the way in which equipment works, from the chemistry of explosives to the physics of flight and the design parameters for armoured vehicle design.  It includes a defence procurement exercise in which students are confronted with performance and cost trade-offs as they design an armoured vehicle.

Operational Planning

This module confirms the knowledge of students at the Brigade level using the Combat Estimate, before going on to study the Tactical Estimate in the Division in the contemporary operating environment.  There are a number of planning cycles at both the Brigade and Divisional levels and then all students visit the US Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth for two weeks working with their equivalents from the Intermediate Level Education course.  There is a week looking at UK operations, and the way in which the Armed Services work with the Emergency Services, before a week in Normandy studying the ways in which the British and American armies moved out from the beach-heads.  This is examined both as an historical case study but also as an example to consider using contemporary capabilities.

How will this course help my career?

ICSC(L) provides a unique opportunity for OF3 officers to study strategy, higher management of defence, doctrine and operational planning alongside multi-national partners and be graded against a wider peer group.  The course is supported by numerous senior guest speakers, both military and civilian, up to 4* level.

The course provides focussed opportunities to understand, experiment and develop staff and communication skills, professional knowledge and understanding, and analytical and decision-making skills which will prepare majors for appointments in sub-unit command and on the staff up to and including lieutenant colonel.  The course report is used by boards to support consideration for employment in sub unit command and in staff appointments at OF3.

On completion of the course all students are enrolled onto the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L)) Alumni page on the Defence Learning Environment.  This website is designed to help alumni of ICSC(L) by providing information and links to support professional development throughout their careers.

Security and restrictions

  • The course is principally designed and resourced to take the SOTR of newly-promoted majors
  • Overseas military or civil servants must have a very good command of English (NATO 3333) and be comfortable with learning in English at post-graduate level
  • Foreign military personnel are to be nominated through their respective Defence Attaché and security checked by ITD(A)
  • The course is delivered at Official level only

Before you attend

You will be required to complete the Military Knowledge ICSC(L) package on the Defence Learning Environment prior to arrival.  This can be completed in approximately 18 hrs.  There is also a modest reading list, consisting largely of topical articles or links to recent military keynote addresses.  You will be required to conduct research and undertake essential reading in the evenings, outside the scheduled daily programme.  The course programme routinely runs from 0830 – 1730, Mon – Fri.

Service families accommodation can be provided on site for those officers who choose to bring their families, or single living accommodation for those who are not married or who wish to serve unaccompanied.  

Can I attend this course?

This course is suitable for the following type(s) of applicant.
  • Internationals
  • Military
  • MOD Civil Servants
  • Partners Across Government (PAG)
Although the course’s primary aim is to prepare newly-promoted majors for their future appointments, civil servants and other interested parties are welcome to join the course to learn alongside their military colleagues.

How will I learn?

Classroom, E-Learning, Blended Learning

How will you be assessed?

The course comprises both formative (course interaction) and summative (formal examination) assessments. There are 6 summative examinations which vary from a 4,000 word essay to a 4 hour exam, as well as formal presentations and vivas with academic staff from King’s College London.

Formative assessment includes:
  • professional knowledge
  • written communication
  • verbal communication 
  • emotional intelligence
  • leadership
All students receive a course report.  For UK students this takes for the form of an OJAR.

You may also be interested in...

Leadership Advanced Command, Leadership and Ethics
Command Managing the Defence Enterprise
Command Advanced Command and Staff Course
Command Advanced Command and Staff Course (Reserves)