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Russian delegation visits CAC, CGSC

Dec 17, 2009

By Will King, Fort Leavenworth Lamp

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Dec. 17, 2009) - A delegation from the Russian Ministry of Defense and the Combined Arms Academy of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation is visiting the Combined Arms Center and the Command and General Staff College Dec. 13-18 to learn how CGSC educates its students and to explore opportunities for future cooperation between the two militaries and the two schools.

The delegation is scheduled to visit and receive briefings from CGSC and other CAC activities, tour the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, Mo., sample local culture and attend a dinner hosted by Brig. Gen Edward Cardon, acting commander of CAC and Fort Leavenworth, and acting commandant of CGSC.

Hosting the Russian delegation is Col. Jeffrey Springman, director of the Department of Joint, Interagency and Multinational Operations at CGSC. He said the purpose of the visit is to increase understanding between the two militaries.

"We would like a closer relationship where we can learn more about each other, and at the same time, potentially participate in conferences together to share knowledge, or even exercises," Springman said.

Springman was part of an American delegation of CGSC and Defense Department personnel who visited the Russian Combined Arms Academy last month. He said the two schools are different, with the Russian system focused on training, while CGSC is focused more on education and how to think.

"What we're trying to do is show them how we educate the officers as part of (Intermediate Level Education), and, of course, to build a stronger relationship between our military and their military," Springman said.

The Russian delegation visited ILE class 2010-01 students and faculty in staff groups 15A and 15B. They received a briefing about ILE and observed students as they conducted planning for a multi-phase, division-level exercise using the Command Post of the Future.

Maj. Dirk Steinfort, an ILE student, said the Russian military could benefit from U.S. concepts of small unit leadership, empowering subordinates and enabling leaders to think on a larger scale.

"As they are growing their military, being able to see how we work, and then conversely us being able to go see how they work, seems to me that it would help quite a bit in our understanding of each other and being able to move forward," he said.

One of the leaders of the Russian delegation was General-Major Alexey Samol'kin, acting chief of the Russian Combined Arms Academy in Moscow. He said the academy trains and educates officers up to the rank of one-star general.

"The same thing as here, we prepare officers for command, teaching people how to think, in accordance with our own doctrine," Samol'kin said through translator Mica Hall of the Defense Language Institute.

"We want to take part in this kind of training, we want to look at your methods, we want to look at how you do training and exercises like what we saw this morning in the classroom, because we have a little bit different methods," Samol'kin said.

He said he was most interested in the training methods at CGSC, the order in which materials are presented, and distance learning programs.

"The more we collaborate, the better we will understand each other," Samol'kin said.

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