Army Division are hosting 15 US Army Officers as part of the second pilot for the US Strategic Broadening Programme.
The programme looks to strengthen US and UK Defence understanding through a series of shared training opportunities focussing on strategic choices, British military culture, and decision making.
Lt Col Chris Henson, the UK lead, was emphatic in his assessment of the relevance of the programme: “strengthening and deepening our interoperability with the US sits high on our Defence Engagement priorities. This programme sits within this intent and allows us to build upon our recent operational experience together. We are taking selected US officers with a strong background in multi-national operations forged over the last decade and integrating them at the heart of Stage 2 training for our newly promoted Majors. We all stand to be broadened, and bettered, as a result.”
US Students have travelled across the western hemisphere, from as far as Alaska and Hawaii, to come to the Defence Academy at Shrivenham Station for six weeks.
They are participating in the core modules of ‘Global Effects on Defence’ and ‘Higher Management of Defence and the Army’ within the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L)).
The course also includes a number of additional staff rides to the Ministry of Defence, Permanent Joint HQ and the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps and ready access to US embedded officers to balance theory and practice in equal measure.
Capt Mick Gorman, a US student currently serving as a Mission Command Centre of Excellence Staff Officer, is particularly pleased to be in the UK: “Being selected to participate as only one of three US Army captains is a real result for me, both professionally and personally. I will attend our core course at Fort Leavenworth next year and the ability to see how the British approach staff and command training is a unique opportunity – particularly at a stage in the course when the focus is on global systems, with access to academics from King’s College London. Also, being able to be in the UK whilst the Rugby World Cup is ongoing has obvious benefits!”
Maj Rich Michel, a Space-Capability Officer with XVII Airborne Corps, is currently working on a critical analysis of the UK as part of a presentation to the wider course: “I’m pretty impressed by how open the British Army officers are with their opinions on their own place-in-the-world right now. Thankfully it means that I can draw on my own experiences and interpretation of UK politics, policy and military engagement without fear of offence. I think that this is what makes our recent shared experiences so important. We've (the US and UK) dealt with some really difficult problems together and all seem committed to making ourselves better as a result of learning from experience.”
The current programme runs until the end of October when US students return to their duty stations worldwide. The Defence Academy’s Army Division intends to run subsequent courses in 2016 at twice the scale, again aligned to the ICSC(L) programme.