I am hoping to put out some pertinent information about ILE and dispel rumors regarding the course.  

I’m currently TDY to the Fort Belvoir Satellite ILE course.  

So far, ILE has been a great experience.  The mission of the course is to ensure officers attend schooling and subsequently receive assignments based on the needs of their respective career field, branch, and functional area. ILE is supposed to increase the quality of educational opportunities available to majors and better prepare them for their next 10 years of Army service, enhance the Army’s capability to conduct decisive actions, re-introduce the re-tooled Army warfighting doctrine, and provide lifelong learning opportunities aimed at developing self-aware and adaptive officers.

There are three ways to complete ILE:

– In-residence course which is in conjunction with the Advanced Officer Course (AOC) and takes a little over 10 months to complete (4 months ILE, 4 months AOC, 2 months electives). This is a PCS. 

– Non-residence course which takes 4 months to complete (4 months of ILE only). This is offered at several sites and is done in a TDY status.

– Distance Learning course which gives you 18 months to complete (ILE course only). 

The course is run much like any graduate level school with adult learning at the Master’s level. 
The focus is on training officers in how (versus what) to think, to solve problems critically, and to make decisive, thoughtful decisions. Classroom time is devoted to the application of learning through practical exercises and case studies.  There are  no “school solutions” to the problems that are presented and students must work in groups to solve and brief solutions. Instructors help students work through the problems and critique the solutions.  Generally speaking, answers are accepted as long as there are no flaws in the critical thinking process.
This course is tremendously helpful and a huge step forward in developing field-grade officers who are capable of thinking rather than just memorizing answers. The most interesting classes are leadership and military history, since case studies as opposed to textbooks are used.  The downside of ILE is that there is a ton of reading. When class ends at noon or 1500,
there is usually about 3-5 hours of reading to do.  The best thing about ILE are the small groups.  Each class has 16 officers in it; each representing a different career field. I feel like my classmates and my small group instructor will be lifelong associates.  If you’re interested in attending ILE in-residence or just to get started on your on the distance learning course, then contact your branch manager at HRC.

MAJ Gloria Walker
Command and General Staff College
U. S. Army Combined Arms Center
Fort Belvoir Satellite

The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.