News: 4960th MFTB tests new, experimental ILE
Story by Staff Sgt. Joseph Vine
HONOLULU - The 9th Mission Support Command’s accredited schoolhouse, run by the 4960th Multi-Functional Training Brigade (MFTB), held a new, experimental iteration of Intermediate Level Education (ILE), here.
ILE is part of the Command and General Staff Officer’s Course (CGSOC), which includes completion of the common-core curriculum and required career field, branch, and functional area training and education.
According to Lt. Col. Maria Ritter, the 4960th MFTB CGSOC director, the course is primarily for Army Reserve Soldiers, although National Guard and active duty Soldiers also attend.
In Hawaii, Phase I is two weeks of class, Phase II is class four hours every Tuesday night for eight months, and Phase III is two more weeks of class, Ritter said.
The traditional format did not allow off-island officers to continue the course with classmates during the second phase of the course. This test program allows them to do so.
The new format for Phase II includes two nine-day blocks of instruction. The first nine-day session concluded in January; the second nine-day session ended Friday.
“By doing this, we facilitate students who are coming from off-island who may not have a class nearby,” said Ritter. “It enables them to be able to participate in Phase II in a classroom environment where they may not have had that opportunity to do that otherwise.”
The pilot program is going over well with the current group of students.
“It’s easier for me and my job to just be able to focus all Army, all the time, for nine days, rather than every Tuesday night or to take a whole year out of my career,” said Maj. Charles Djou, Hawaii resident and a team chief with the 75th Legal Operations Detachment.
“It just would not work for my family and me,” he said. “This new setup adds flexibility that works better.”
The active component course is conducted over a four-month period at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In this Reserve component pilot course, students receive equivalent training in 48 days. The course is intense and fast-paced.
“By choosing to do it in this format, they’re getting a very heavy course load that was intended to be spread out,” said Ritter.
“You’ve got to weigh the cost and benefit of this,” said Maj. Manuel Robledo, state partnership program coordinator, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon National Guard. “The cost is ‘yes, you are taking time away from your family; yes it’s stressful,’ but the benefits far outweigh those things.”
For some students, the biggest benefit of more time in the classroom is face-to-face interaction with their classmates.
“This a perfect balance, allowing me to get the benefit of interacting with other students,” said Djou. “This new setup works better for me.”
“Being able to collaborate with other students rather than being in my office or house by myself, I’m able to bump ideas off others,” said Robledo. “To have support from the instructors first-hand is invaluable.”
An evaluator from Fort Leavenworth, Kan., visited during the recent nine-day session.
“This is just a trial to see if it works,” said Ritter. “The intent is to continue this format, but final approval comes from Fort Leavenworth. We have to instruct the class to the standards that they expect.”
“If we’re trying to build a force that’s interactive and works efficiently with each other, this helps that,” said Robeldo.
If all goes well, this pilot program could become the way of the future for Reserve Component ILE.