Intermediate Command and Staff Course

The Intermediate Command and Staff Course (ICSC) is a post-graduate course which equips officers of each Service, both British and international, with the knowledge, skills and attitudes required for the full range of junior command and staff appointments. It allows officers to step outside their professional specialisations, to broaden their leadership and management skills, and to analyse key defence issues at the higher tactical level and in joint force environments. 

Students complete a course delivered by one of the three divisions of the JSCSC; Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force, with each division delivering a course tailored to the needs and nature of that Service. This enables students to build their understanding of the specific skills and processes required in their Service whilst benefiting from the JSCSC’s unique environment to develop relationships across not just the UK military and Civil Service but also across the multi-national domain. 

Elements of the ICSC or its modules may be open to Civil Servants and students from the private sector at the discretion of the responsible division.

Army Division

Army Division delivers the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L)), a 26-week residential course aimed at newly promoted Majors from the Army and Royal Marines.  It is an intensive command and leadership course teaching the analytical skills and professional knowledge required of Majors and Lieutenant Colonels (and equivalent).  It comes with further opportunities for a Master’s degree from King’s College London and qualifications from Cranfield University. 


The programme allows students to participate in research studies, planning exercises, projects and senior leader engagements to enhance understanding, analysis and evaluation of:
  • Army Command and Staff Skills
  • Command, Leadership and Management 
  • British Army staff training in Land environment operations 
  • Brigade and Divisional levels of command
  • the planning of a Formation level operation in a joint and command context
  • UK Government Resilience operations 
  • Historical case studies from the Normandy Campaign 
  • Evaluation of the Global Effects of Defence on British Defence Policy 
  • Management of UK Defence and the Army operating model

Students have the opportunity to study for a Master’s in Military and Security Studies from King’s College London (KCL) as well as completion of a Critical and Creative Thinking package from Cranfield University.  Students will learn the British, NATO and US formal decision-making processes whilst understanding the British Army’s roles and responsibilities in maintaining the security of the UK and overseas interests.   

Students will also have the opportunity to visit: 

  • Normandy, France, to study the Land operations COBRA and GOODWOOD 
  • The Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, USA, to conduct collaborative planning exercises with the equivalent US course
  • The Ministry of Defence Operations Directorate

RAF Division 


The RAF Division (RAFD) educates RAF officers throughout their careers.  RAFD delivers 5 courses which form the Intermediate Officer Development Programme (IODP). These are:

IOD1, 2 & 3 – for younger officers, from junior flying officers to senior flight lieutenants.  Courses cover air power, principles of leadership, management, analysis and planning.  These courses are no more than 2 weeks long.

IOD4 & 5 – for squadron leaders. These courses cover air and space power, operational and strategic leadership, management and the Estimate.  Both courses are 4 weeks long.

Students can earn accreditation at various stages. They are expected to complete up to 40 hours of pre-residential study and to arrive at the Defence Academy ready to contribute to all courses. Students’ own experiences are used wherever feasible.  Selected Warrant Officers are also invited to some courses.