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NEWS | Aug. 8, 2020

Army Reserve command integrates Ukraine, Kosovo and North Macedonia officers into CGSOC in Europe

By Staff Sgt. Christopher Jackson 7th Intermediate Level Education Detachment

For the first time in history, the 7th Intermediate Level Education Detachment located in Grafenwoehr, Germany, is hosting international students for Command & General Staff Officers Course Common Core or CGSOC-CC.

Four field grade military officers from Ukraine, Kosovo and North Macedonia began the year-long course July 12 alongside U.S. Army officers to learn from each other and strengthen relationships. CGSOC-CC breaks down into three phases consisting of learning objectives, including intellectual development and growth, joint doctrine concepts useful to understanding and analyzing the international security environment, and strategic level military operations.

“This is a very good opportunity for me and my army,” said Lt. Col. Goran Sutevski, from North Macedonia. “It is an honor for me to study with the best military.”

The journey of adding international students to 7th ILE classrooms began in 2014 and required dedication and patience from many.

“It is historic with the enrollment of four international military students into the college's Department of Distance Education,” said Lt. Col. Michael Hiller, 7th ILE commander. “There are many who have touched the venture over the years. Some of the key drivers from 2019 and 2020 are Kevin M. Sanders (Col., USA Retired), Security Assistance Training Field Activity, Randy Cook, Security Assistance Training Field Activity, Yalonda Folks, 7th Army Training Command, and James Otto, 7th Mission Support Command.”

The 7th ILE Detachment is subordinate to the 7th Mission Support Command, the only U.S. Army Reserve command stationed in Europe, and the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Kaiserslautern, Germany. There are 19 accredited USAR field grade officers serving as CGSC adjunct faculty members. Many of these officers serve on Geographic Combatant Command (GCC) and Army Service Component Command (ASCC) staffs based in Europe as Department of the Army Civilians or on operational support active duty assignments.

“Our instructors are the cornerstone for the Department of Distance Education,” said LTC Christopher Mackin, CGSOC-ILE instructor. “The team is comprised of U.S. Army Reserve officers who serve by mentoring and educating our future leaders to prepare them to conduct Unified Land Operations as members of a Division or above staff.”

Mackin added that instructing field grade officers builds intellectual capital across the Total Army to deter and defeat adversaries.

“International student presence directly supports the Army Strategy, the Army Security Cooperation Strategy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Professional Military Education Vision, and the USAREUR Line of Effort 4: Enhance Relationships and Interoperability with Allies and Partners,” said Mackin. “International students provide a valuable broadening experience for U.S. students. The exchange of knowledge and different perspectives is a key aspect of the holistic learning environment.”

Phase one of the course was conducted virtually from 12-25 July, providing a safe environment for students during the Coronavirus pandemic. For some, the distance learning proved to be a unique opportunity.

“Learning CGSC in the virtual environment provides an additional experience in adapting to different learning circumstances,” said Maj. Jaser Mulla from Pristina, Kosovo. “I would like to commend the instructors for their competence and professionalism shown throughout this phase."

Hiller noted the 7th ILE DET’s course model allows for students to rapidly learn U.S. Army and Joint doctrine, while applying knowledge to their formations during phase intermissions. Phase two begins in November and the course culminates in July 2021.

“I would like to thank my classmates and instructors for being excellent allies and providing us with this opportunity,” said Maj. Vegim Krelani, from Kosovo. “Together, we will be stronger as people and as nations.”