May 24, 2024
The U.S. Army War College provides an outstanding strategic-level education to the military and civilian leaders of the DoD and other federal agencies. Each year, roughly 380 U.S. and international students attend the year-long resident course at Carlisle Barracks, PA. But what many people don’t realize is that at any given time there are nearly twice that many students enrolled in the distance education program receiving a similar quality education as those in the resident course and ultimately the same degree. Today we have COL Heather Smigowski, Chair of the Department of Distance Education, in the studio to describe the creation of the program and the changes it has undergone to become the present-day effort. Created in 1967 the distance program has evolved over the last five decades into a two-year program that is delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, online and for two weeks each year in-person in Carlisle. All of this is accomplished by board-selected students who navigate the courseware from their present duty (or deployed) location while performing their “day job,” often while serving in command positions. It’s a great conversation with podcast editor, Ron Granieri that looks at how the U.S. Army provides educational opportunities to the force around the world. Created in 1967 the distance program has evolved over the last five decades into a two-year program that is delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, online and for two weeks each year in-person in Carlisle. All of this is accomplished by board selected students who navigate the courseware from their present duty (or deployed) location while performing their “day job”, often in command positions. It’s a great conversation with podcast editor, Ron Granieri that looks at how the U.S. Army provides educational opportunities to the force around the world.

The U.S. Army War College provides an outstanding strategic-level education to the military and civilian leaders of the DoD and other federal agencies. Each year, roughly 380 U.S. and international students attend the year-long resident course at Carlisle Barracks, PA. But what many people don’t realize is that at any given time there are nearly twice that many students enrolled in the distance education program receiving a similar quality education as those in the resident course and ultimately the same degree. Today we have COL Heather Smigowski, Chair of the Department of Distance Education, in the studio to describe the creation of the program and the changes it has undergone to become the present-day effort.

Created in 1967 the distance program has evolved over the last five decades into a two-year program that is delivered both synchronously and asynchronously, online and for two weeks each year in-person in Carlisle. All of this is accomplished by board-selected students who navigate the courseware from their present duty (or deployed) location while performing their “day job,” often while serving in command positions. It’s a great conversation with podcast editor, Ron Granieri that looks at how the U.S. Army provides educational opportunities to the force around the world.

A lot of our students are in command while they’re doing the program. So they have their normal day job, they have their guard or reserve job, a lot of them are battalion commanders at the time, and then they’re doing the program on top of that.

Heather Smigowski is a colonel and an Army Strategist (FA59) and serves as the Chair for the Department of Distance Education, U.S. Army War College. Prior to assuming her current position, she was a Politico-Military Planner and the Executive Assistant for the Deputy Director for Africa, Joint Staff J-5. She holds Master’s Degrees from Clayton College of Natural Health, Regent University, and the U.S. Army War College. In 2015, she received her Doctorate in Organizational Psychology from Capella University.

Ron Granieri is Professor of History at the U.S. Army War College and the Editor of A BETTER PEACE.

The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.

Photo Credit: Image by Freepik

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3 thoughts on “LEARNING FROM AFAR: DISTANCE EDUCATION AT USAWC

  1. This is a great article! However, I would add that the Army War College is also responsible for training high-level Army officers in the strategic leadership of large organizations and preparing them for senior executive positions in the Federal government.

  2. I really enjoyed listening to COL Heather Smigowski, Chair of the Department of Distance Education. Indeed, we have come a long way with distance learning and the tools we use today make it easier for learners to obtain an education that otherwise they wouldn’t be able to do. Looking forward to other programs.

  3. This podcast provided me the history of DDE up to when I attended (2000-2002) as well as some key developments afterwards: very informative. During my course, DDE transitioned from a 100% box-of-books mode to some on-line pilots. Our primary campaign study was Korea 1950; however, I expect since then students are studying/will study the two Gulf Wars or even Russia-Ukraine — time marches on.

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