Senior leaders, spouses new to Maneuver Center of Excellence gain footing with orientation course

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Aug. 25, 2017) — The Maneuver Senior Leader Orientation Course kicked off Monday with Maj. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, commanding general of the MCoE, talking about the impetus behind the center’s creation and its current lines of effort. (Still image from video by David Wright, MCoE Public Affairs)

Story by Bryan Gatchell, USAG Fort Benning Public Affairs

FORT BENNING, Ga. (Aug. 25, 2017) – The Maneuver Center of Excellence hosted its annual Maneuver Senior Leader Orientation Course here Monday and Tuesday to give commanders, deputies, executive officers, and their spouses a general grounding of the center, its efforts, and its intricacies.

The two-day course kicked off with Maj. Gen. Eric J. Wesley, commanding general of the MCoE, talking about the impetus behind the center’s creation and its current lines of effort.

Those lines of effort are future maneuvers; mastery of fundamentals and leader development; Soldier, civilian, and family readiness; and community. And when it comes to future maneuvers, which means preparing the Army for a type of warfare that the U.S. has yet to engage in, “the center of gravity of the maneuver world is right here in Fort Benning.”

“Immediate readiness and investment in the future force: So all of that comes back to Fort Benning,” said Wesley. “The vision here is that ultimately we would provide those Soldiers, and that they would be prepared to enter combat without any dysfunctional contribution to that organization. Our brigades do this every day, and it has to do with changing civilians into Soldiers, it includes functional training, and it includes leader training.

“We’re going to build the next-generation combat vehicle right here at Fort Benning, Georgia,” continued Wesley on specific ways Fort Benning is set to shape the future of the Army. “We’re completely relooking at the utility of the squad – the infantry squad – as a weapons system. And there’s all sorts of technologies that will come in on this, everything from the human dimension to improving our weapons systems.”

Speaking to the assembled senior leaders of the MCoE, Wesley outlined the dual role individual commanders had in both these lines of effort. Not only would they contribute to the Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate, which oversees the development of new concepts, doctrine, training and equipment for the MCoE,

“I depend on commanders who have independent latitude and independent autonomy to make decisions within this intent,” said Wesley. “In the meantime, I’m putting my effort into how we prepare for the next war in terms of weapons systems and capabilities, because we’re splitting efforts to get all this done.”

Wesley showed the audience a short video on the last 100 years of Army history and how it related to future maneuvers. After the video concluded, he talked about the prominent role community played in the creation of Fort Benning itself. The Army chose other posts – such as Fort Leavenworth on the Missouri River in Kansas and Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas – for their strategic locations. It was not locational strategy but the local chamber of commerce that spurred the Army to establish Fort Benning.

“The chamber of commerce goes to Washington, and they lobbied to open a post here at Fort Benning, for no need whatsoever except that the community wanted Fort Benning to be here,” said Wesley. “That’s a powerful origin for the community. They had some vision, and because they had that vision they’ve been able to influence, touch, and raise leaders and Soldiers here at Fort Benning for the last 100 years.”

Both the U.S. Army Armor School and U.S. Army Infantry School became co-located at Fort Benning. During his remarks, Wesley talked about how both schools have a hand in training everyone with only the 194th Armor Brigade delivering Armor-specific training and the 198th Infantry Brigade delivering Infantry-specific training. As examples, the 316th Cavalry Brigade under the Armor School teaches functional skills regardless of which school a Soldier belongs, and the Airborne School teaches volunteers irrespective of their military occupational specialty.

“We have, if you ask me, one school, and it’s called the Maneuver School,” said Wesley.

“I want you to know how important you are,” said Wesley toward the end of his opening segment. “Not one of you is just a small piece of this. If you’re training airborne students, if you’re training Ranger students, if you’re training captains who will soon become staff officers in a brigade or a company commander, if you’re changing civilians into Soldiers, every one of you has a really critical role, and only you can do it. So I’m depending on you, and I want you to know how much I appreciate you all and your commitment to doing this, I appreciate your commitment to coming today.”

Following Wesley’s remarks, Operations, Plans and Training made a presentation on the Maneuver Center of Excellence, its mission and vision, and the specifics of the organization, the lines of efforts, and some general information about the post.

That was followed by a segment from the Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, who informed the audience of local issues, especially as they had to do with claims: the possibility of falling tree branches, of squirrels chewing on the wiring beneath a vehicle, of basement flooding, and more.

These segments were followed by briefings on protocol and the Performance Triad.

FORT BENNING, Ga (Aug. 22, 2017) — Senior leaders and spouses tour three of the areas “Crown Jewels,” the Springer Opera House, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, and W.C Bradley Co. They also had lunch at the Chattahoochee River Club. (Photo by: Markeith Horace/MCoE PAO Photographer)

After these segments, the assembly broke into two groups, that of the incoming commanders and that of the spouses. Commanders received an overview of how U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command works, on range operations, operations reporting, and more.

The spouses received an overview of the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, on the Department of Defense Education Activity, Martin Army Community Hospital, TRICARE and more.

On Tuesday, the spouses group received a tour of the Columbus area, including tours of the Springer Opera House, the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, the W.C. Bradley Co., and the Chattahoochee River Club, where the group had lunch. In the afternoon, the group visited several locations on post, including the Battle Buddy Resource Center, Santa’s Castle, and the Fort Benning Army Wellness Center.

The commanders covered a host of other topics, including ammunition forecasting, personnel readiness, medical readiness, and more. The commanders received an overview of the Directorate of Training Sustainment Thursday and performed a terrain walk of several facilities throughout Fort Benning.

For more on the Maneuver Center of Excellence and Fort Benning, visit

For more photos from the spouses tour of downtown Columbus, visit

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