Kentucky general sees interoperability on global scale

Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Staff Report

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Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter gathers with more than 50 U.S. general officers during the CAPSTONE General and Flag Officer Course in Washington, D.C., July, 2015. Kentucky’s Brig Gen. Scott Campbell was one of six National Guard officers selected to attend. (Courtesy photo)

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell, of the Kentucky National Guard, is the deputy commanding general of the 38th Infantry Division and was chosen to attend the Department of Defense’s CAPSTONE Program July 13 to Aug. 14, 2015.

The CAPSTONE General and Flag Officer Course was created in 1982. The Goldwater-Nichols DoD Reorganization Act of 1986 subsequently mandated that all newly selected active duty generals and flag officers attend CAPSTONE. The course is managed by the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. Course attendance is still competitive for National Guard and Reserve general officers.

According to NDU, the course objective is to make these individuals more effective in planning and employing U.S. forces in joint and combined operations. The CAPSTONE curriculum examines major issues affecting national security decision making, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine, interoperability, and key allied nation issues.

Campbell was one of only six National Guard general officers included in the class of 55 Fellows. Few Kentucky Guard general officers have been extended the privilege of attending this course since its inception.

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Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell tours the Great Wall of China during the overseas portion of the CAPSTONE General and Flag Officer Course, July, 2015. Campbell visited China, Japan and Korea as part of the course which examines major issues affecting national security decision making, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine, interoperability, and key allied nation issues.(Courtesy photo)

“This was by far the best educational experience of my 34-year career,” said Campbell. “It was an amazing experience that exposed me to senior decision makers, both domestic and international, and gave me a better understanding of the complexities in the world and the security challenges facing the U.S.”

The course began in Washington, D.C. with briefings from directors of the various federal agencies and combatant commanders. Day 3 began stateside travel with visits to various military command headquarters in Virginia, Florida, Nebraska, Colorado, and Illinois.

The class returned to Washington upon completion of the 10-day stateside trip and prepared for overseas travel. The class was broken into three groups traveling to Europe, South America or the Pacific region.

Campbell was selected for the Pacific trip which included stops in Japan, South Korea, and China with a visit to U.S. Pacific Command in Hawaii on the return trip. The overseas trip lasted approximately 13 days with the CAPSTONE Fellows visiting with U.S. and host nation military officials, U.S. Embassy officials to include ambassadors, host nation government officials and local think tanks.

Campbell said the focus of the overseas tour was to study U.S. policy as it relates to the visited nation and the region. The exchanges also included cultural stops which included The Forbidden City and The Great Wall of China, the Demilitarized Zone, Seoul Tower and Gyeongbok Presidential Palace in Korea, and Pearl Harbor in Hawaii.

The course ended back in Washington, D.C. and concluded with briefings from the Secretary of Defense and directors of federal agencies, to include the National Security Agency, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as the DoD Service Chiefs from each branch of the military.

“I feel very privileged for being selected to attend,” Campbell said. “The senior leader briefers and CAPSTONE staff told us that the most fundamental objective of this course is an understanding and appreciation of the other services and agencies and building relationships with the other Fellows that will stay with you throughout your life. I feel like that objective is being met. I’ve already met several of my Capstone classmates in other forums and we now share a common bond.”

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