In commencement ceremonies Friday at the Lewis and Clark Center, Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commanding general of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, challenged 1,100 graduates of the Command and General Staff Officers Course to do three things – elevate team play, help commanders to reinvigorate mission command and coach junior officers.

Townsend told the graduating students they were leaving CGSC much better prepared than he was when he graduated from the course 25 years ago. He also said they leave with an excellent, professional network of peers and friends. 

“You can’t even imagine the situations where this network of friends and fellow students will come in handy in years ahead in your career but it will, mark my words,” said Townsend. “Your first responsibility as a professional officer is to master our trade. Your core competency is to fight and win our nation’s wars,” he said. 

Opening the graduation ceremony, Lt. Gen. Michael Lundy, commandant of the Command and General Staff College, said “Your watch starts again this afternoon when you leave this post. You’re now stewards of our profession and there’s more expected of you. I’m absolutely confident that you’re all ready to meet that challenge. Our nation and all the nations that are represented here by our international officers are in great hands.”

Graduation marks the completion of the 10-month Command and General Staff Officers Course that develops war-fighting and adaptive leadership skills necessary for military officers to be proficient in Unified Land Operations.

The graduating class includes mid-career officers from all American military services as well as 110 international officers representing 87 countries and 26 federal government civilian employees. The international graduates received the CGSC International Officer Graduate Badge during a ceremony Thursday. International military student participation in cooperative military studies in the United States originated at Fort Leavenworth in 1894. Since then, international military students have become an integral part of the Command and General Staff Officers Course. More than 8,200 international officers have studied alongside U.S. military and government civilian counterparts at Fort Leavenworth.