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The Instruction Groups A and B are planning and organisational units that are responsible for developing and conducting the Basic Staff Officer Course at our College. For all line officers in the rank of Captain (German Army/Air Force) or Lieutenant (German Navy), this course is the first step in their senior officer training. Senior military officers are comparable with civil servants in the higher level of public service.
Each Instruction Group is headed by a director who is supported by five tutors and by lecturers of the College. Tutors, as in the Anglo-Saxon educational system, not only offer their professional experience but are also the primary and personal points of contact for all students.
Both our BSOC Instruction Groups are located at the Generalleutnant-Graf-von-Baudissin Barracks in Hamburg (Osdorf).
Basic Staff Officer Course Fact Sheet
Following the last major adaptation in 2004, the education and training of prospective senior officers underwent a thorough review process during which it was fundamentally reorganised. Building on the existing knowledge of the participating officers, the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College prepares almost 600 officers — Army and Air Force Captains and Navy Lieutenants — for their first assignments as Bundeswehr senior officers every year. Once officers have completed the Basic Staff Officer Course (BSOC), they meet the requirements stipulated in the career law for promotion to the ranks of Major or Lieutenant Commander. In its revised version, the course again contributes to determining the subsequent individual advancement of the participating officers.
Besides transmitting basic and methodological knowledge, the objective of the course is to impart a deeper understanding of national and international as well as civil-military relations and dependencies within 56 course days. This includes not only specialist military topics, but also modern leadership and management methods, which are based on proven civil standards. Another integral part of the course is the addressing of social developments. The course follows a comprehensive approach and is interdisciplinary in nature, covering issues from, inter alia, a political, social, historical, economic, ethical and technological point of view.
The BSOC (Basic Staff Officer Course) has recently been extended by almost ten days. As far as content is concerned, there is now an increased focus on topics that are of national interest, such as information activities and personnel management. In its current form, the course also provides an initial basis for possible assignments at the operational level, something that, until recently, was limited to students on more advanced courses. The amount of staff work has been increased and a more practice-oriented approach has been applied. Management methods such as process management, change management and the fundamentals of Bundeswehr-wide thinking in the field of personnel management have become integral elements of the course.
Didactic-Methodological Concept: Focusing on Competences
The BSOC takes into account not only the aforementioned adaptations to the content, but also the College’s new didactic-methodological concept. Apart from transmitting basic theoretical knowledge, a greater emphasis is placed on both action orientation and methodological knowledge. During the BSOC, particular focus is given to enabling the students to take action and to nurturing their motivation and skills. This encourages their active participation, paving the way for the prospective senior officers to develop existing competences and acquire new ones.
A Course without Examinations
No formal examinations take place during the Basic Staff Officer Course. Completion of the course itself provides insights into personnel development and thus contributes to staffing decisions based on the needs of the respective personnel management organisation. The decisions are underpinned by performance evaluations of the completed course elements, e.g. from the fields of ‘Security Policy and Strategy’, ‘Human and Social Sciences’ or ‘Joint Operations’.
The participating officers’ basic, advanced and follow-on education and training is clearly at the heart of the BSOC. The course is an essential part in the context of lifelong learning and marks an entry point into the more advanced training opportunities offered at the Bundeswehr Command and Staff College.