ARLINGTON, Va. - Since 2010, Army National Guard officers have attended the Army Guard's Pre-Basic Strategic Art Program course as a preparation to attend the BSAP course at Carlisle Barracks, Pa.
"The Pre-BSAP course, which is run by the Army Guard Strategic Plans (and Policy Branch) prepares (officers) for BSAP through study of course objectives in an abbreviated but challenging atmosphere for the purpose of emphasizing the unique skills and attributes of successful Army strategists," said Army Lt. Col. Victor Parziale, of the Strategic Plans and Policy Branch and course author of the Pre-BSAP.
He added that declining graduation rates from the BSAP course within the Army Guard triggered the implementation of Pre-BSAP.
The course teaches the foundation in strategic and operational theory, consisting of introduction to classical and modern strategic theory, critical thinking and power theories based on the operating environment such as air, land and sea, Parziale said." In addition, the course assists in evaluating potential officers for the strategist field."
"The rigor of the preparatory course helps to reduce the shock of academic immersion while at the U.S. Army War College," said Parziale, adding that those who continue on to BSAP benefit from an informed experience for both the course and their tenure as an Army strategist.
In order to attend the course, Soldiers must hold the rank of captain through lieutenant colonel, have a master's degree, complete both the Defense Strategy Course and their professional military education and demonstrate the ability to serve at the operational and strategic level, Parziale said.
"Strategists lead multi-disciplinary groups and facilitate senior leader decision-making by assessing, developing, and articulating policy, strategy, and plans at the national and theater levels," said Parziale, adding that through education and experience, strategists integrate the instruments of power across the Army, Department of Defense, and throughout the joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment.
Leadership of the Army Reserve, after recognizing the benefits of Army Guard members attending Pre-BSAP, followed suit and began participating in the program.
Feedback from graduates continues to inform and shape the Pre-BSAP course, Parziale said. BSAP is expected to undergo transformations over the next two years by extending the course from 14 weeks to 18 weeks, which will allow for additional curriculum, and expand the course to joint and interagency communities.
"These two prospects alone instruct us to prepare our set of course offerings and accordingly accept reserve component members from the other services," Parziale said.
Those who complete the course move on to assignments that serve the needs of the Army staff, joint staff, and combatant commanders around the globe, said Parziale.