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Flag officers complete warfighting course

MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Flag officers from four of the military services and a senior civilian recently gathered here to prepare for their future roles as senior warfighting planners.

The senior leaders took part in Air University's two-week Joint Flag Officer Warfighting Course, which is designed to prepare up-and-coming two-star generals to fill senior roles as joint task force, senior combatant command or major command positions.

Air University conducts the course twice a year. When attendees leave JFOWC, they have a general knowledge of joint warfare and the basic tools needed for their next level of command, said Lt. Col. Reagan Schaupp, the JFOWC director.

What makes JFOWC such a great course is that it allows flag officers from various services to interact, said Army Brig. Gen. John Seward, the Army's Space and Missile Command deputy commander and chief of operations for the Army's Strategic Command.

"This course helped give all of us an idea of what is ahead for the military in the war on terrorism," he said. "I look at joint force as a football game where each service brings assets to the field. When you take those assets and make use of them, the team succeeds. Each of us brings our own unique capabilities, and working together, we get a synergistic effect."

Discussions during the course were open and candid.  However, there were times of disagreement on topics, said Maj. Gen. Wiliam L. Holland, the 9th Air Force vice commander at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C.

Everyone brings their "service culture, biases and personal nuances" to the course; but that's OK, he said, "because we soon find out that we are never too old to learn."

The only Reserve officer to attend the course was Brig. Gen. Jeff Talley, the commander of the Army's 926th Engineering Brigade at the Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex. Referring to mentors as "graybeards," he said sharing their experiences added tremendously to the success of the course.

His brigade is preparing to deploy to Iraq again, and he said many of the course sidebars helped him "pin down loose areas" that are different from what they were when he was last in Southwest Asia.

JFOWC is very valuable from a "career-broadening" perspective and will help him in future assignments, said Rear Adm. Scott Hebner, the assistant commander of the Navy Personnel Command for Career Management.

"I tried to capture all the 'pearls of wisdom' available to attendees," Admiral Hebner said. "I feel like I have captured some pearls that I will be able to use down the road."

The great speakers are always the highlight of the course, but the opportunity to sit with joint flag officers was fantastic, said Maj. Gen. Allen G. Peck, the Air University vice commander. 

General Peck, also commander of the Air Force Doctrine Development and Education Center, said he found the course educational and useful from a different perspective.

"Attending JFOWC gave me an opportunity to see firsthand what an outstanding job my people do to run these courses," General Peck said. "I feel privileged to have attended JFOWC, and feel nobody does this type of training better than Air University."

Seven Army generals, six Air Force generals, a Navy admiral and a Marine Corps general attended the course.  They had the opportunity to talk with prominent military leaders including Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley and Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey.
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