Overseas Staff College

Discussion in 'Staff College and Staff Officers' started by Cynical-Subbie, Aug 8, 2008.

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  1. I am interested in going to an Overseas Staff College rather than ICSC(L). What is the common consensus on whether this is a good idea, how stiff the competition is, whether it is more worthwhile?
  2. I think it rather depends on which overseas staff college you are thinking about - they are not all viewed as equal imho. One advantage of ICSC(L) is that you will build a network of fellow SO2s; you won't get that abroad, but it rather depends what you are after. I suspect that a board find it easier to relate top quarter ICSC report to future jobs than they do an overseas report.
  3. My BIL went to the Indian Staff College. Since then he has had overseas dream postings, one after the other...however his career has not "advanced" as such but what a way to live out your hitch until retirement!
  4. I am aware that it is now only a choice between the US, Australia and Germany and that all are two years long. I have also read in a 2006 DIN that the US and GE options equate to ICSC(L) and ACSC combined. It states that the Australian Staff Course directly equates to ACSC rather than to both ICSC(L) and ACSC, however I see from the latest board that they are sending newly promoted Majors. I would be most interested in attending the Bundeswehr Academy in Hamburg (and the language training prior). This would involve 3 years out of the loop, but it is a psc(j) qualification and I get a language out of it. There is, however, only one space a year. Any more thoughts?
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Well punt for it and if you pick it up top-show. If you don't and you have to go to Shriv, well Wiltshire can be lovely and you'll be amongst friends.
  6. You could place yourself in a narrow group and to an extent conseuently narrow your employability. Equally there are cetain jobs that only Fluent german speakers can occupy. If you are likely to be a highly successful candidate and see yourself(realistically) as attaining General officer status - then the traditional route is more certain. However others (COMD UKSC(G)) have proven that GE staff college is no contrainst on such advancement,.

    What is more important is your arm/service (non teeth limited), you postings as a senior SO2 and subsequently early Command of a Regular Unit (properly recognised Regt/Bn).

    That followed again by a significant appointment (all of the aforementioned with strong reporting chains especially at 2nd and 3rd RO with consistently very strong recommendations) probably in a Divisional HQ or MOD/PJHQ again with substantial results.

    Do all the above, stay fit, sober and sane (not necessarily all at once), be lucky and affable (remain respected by your superiors) and hey presto you will be there. Get yourself a senior sponsor (you spot their potential).Getting pulled up is easier than being pushed and much better than standing on the heads of others.

    easy really?
  7. Tread carefully with OSCs. My peers who went to other staff colleges instead of ACSC all found that there were 2 major disadvantages. First is that your report is treated with a bit of caution. It might say that you were the best student, regardless of nationality, but those reading your report may think that is was just the overeas types being kind to you. Secondly, as was pointed out above, you will miss out on the vast network of mates and contacts that you would develop at ACSC/ICSC(L). These are invaluable in later staff jobs and at RD. From my own experience I can't think of a single mate who went to an OSC who hasn't been at least slightly (if not significantly) career disadvantaged by attending overseas. Just my two cents worth.
  8. Bowmore_Assassin

    Bowmore_Assassin LE Moderator Book Reviewer

    I know several officers who have attended Overseas Staff Colleges including German, Aussie, Canadian, US, Indian, Pakistan. At the time of attendance they all qualified for psc (j) or the equivalent psc 'chit' if they are of an older vintage. I do not know of any officers who went down this route who have been disadvantaged in the longer term career wise. Indeed many went on to command Regts and several have promoted beyond that. It has certainly not done me any harm either. I must admit my psc (j) report probably was not seen by the Black Bag selection process in the same light as perhaps it should have been and therefore did not let me have a shot at a Bde DCOS slot which is what I was after but I ended up with a great job anyway (and even if I had gone to Shriv, I might not have had a shot at the DCOS chit - who knows ?).

    There is a disadvantage, as has already been pointed out in this thread, that you do not gain the number of contacts or friends in the British Army that you would by attendance on ICSC (L) or ACSC (and of course contacts in RAF or RN on the latter). This sometime means downstream you need to work a little harder on building up a network of contacts when you get into the Staff world but this is not too onerous as far as I am concerned.

    Where you do gain ? You get to meet a large number of NATO and other countries military personel - my network is truly worldwide. You get to live in a country you otherwise might never get to except for short holidays (Germany excepted) so you get all the cultural benefits and generally can afford a very decent standard of living. The family like it if you have a spouse up for the travel part of life in green. Excellent holidays during leave without the downside of getting out of mainland UK. You get to see things from a very different perspective - the course I attended had a similar programme to Shrivenham but clearly was seen and studied in a slightly different manner - all very interesting.

    My advice would be as follows:

    1. Providing you are going to an OSC which qualifies you as psc (j), do not hesitate, go for it.

    2. Providing you play the game, volunteer for extra-curricular stuff and make a point of being a 'good bloke' and not a Brit 'know-it-all' (which, unfortunately does happen), you will get on well, get a good report and be a better and more capable officer downstream. You might need to take a slightly longer view in terms of career profile but a lot of this is personality based and depends on your overall profile anyway.

    3. If you get there, throw decent parties (making max use of tax free allowances) !

    4. Remain closely enagaged with MCM Div regarding your first post psc (j) assignment and do not be fobbed off with a cr*p job. Any psc (j) earning course would have earned a Black Bag post in the past so make sure you are offered decent choices.

    With hindsight I would do it again. I had a great year in a great country and made a lot of friends. It has not, in any way harmed my career or slowed me down.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  9. agree all, except last 3 comments below the line (one liners - which seem very American!)
  10. So that's what I have been doing wrong! :D

  11. Me too, took me over 25 years to get this advice, by which time I was older than most "sponsors".
    It went rather well I thought.
  12. CS,

    Don't forget Rome and Madrid. They don't 'count' - but you should be able to go on ICSC and then go to one of these two...

    You won't 'learn' that much - apart from a language - but you should get an SO2's post out of it in the country following the course, which adds up to 3 years of warm, sunny weather (not getting shot at) and great food and wine...

    Others have been known to get a very attractive (though generally high-maintenance) wife out of the deal, too.

    Career will grind to a halt of course - but you'll get paid the same as all of the other thrusting Majors who will leave at the 16 year point - and you'll probably be much happier than them!

    Worked for the Adjt!
  13. Go for it. I'm currently attending an OSC. In comparison with ICSC it is a doddle and thrown into the bag is a nice house, in an interesting part of the world and a break from the UK. Forget about MCM Div and career progression for a year - if you make selection for an OSC you will more than likely end up with a reasonable job.
  14. Things have changed since the age of ICSC(L) and it's difficult to get good advice by anyone in the know. Easy solution is to look at the current COS of the type 'A' Brigades, at least 2 of which have come out of the US AOSC programme. I am currently at an AOSC, pm me and I will fill you in on the positive and negatives. In short, the positive way out way any percieved 'networking' shortfalls.
  15. Cynical_Subbie, my old mate!!!

    Top 1 or 2 from Corps or Arm will be offered most.

    How are things my friend? Still got the No 4 Socks? ICSC (L) isn't that bad - bit far from Frau though!