Blended Seminar Accelerates Military Education Completion

3 Nov 2015 | Cpl. Danielle Rodrigues I Marine Expeditionary Force

Throughout history, the Marine Corps' standard of professionalism has stressed self-improvement.

Professional military education in the Corps is designed to further a Marine’s educational growth and to make them more competitive for promotion.

In order to expand opportunities for intermediate level PME across the Corps, the commandant of the Marine Corps initiated the Command and Staff College Blended Seminar Program.

This new blended program offers a combination of in classroom and distance learning courses at larger Marine Corps bases that cater to the busy schedules of today’s Marine Corps officers.

For years, evening and weekend distance seminar programs were completed on an officer’s own time with weekly classes taking two years to complete. This program increases face-to-face learning time while also reducing the time it takes to complete the training.

“The course is unique in that it is completed in less than half the time of other distance programs,” said Lt. Col. Eddy Hansen, the director of CSCBSP, Camp Pendleton, California. “However, it still provides the same amount of information to students.”

He added that there are many benefits afforded to students, not otherwise available through other programs. These include guest speakers in leadership roles from across I Marine Expeditionary Force, Marine Corps Institute west and the joint community.

Students also conduct sight visits to locations like Naval Base San Diego and Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego.

The program is broken into three stages.
Stage one is a four-week long resident period which focuses on the theory and nature of war and national and international security studies.

During stage two, students participate in a 28-week long online period which focuses on operational art, joint war fighting and small wars.

The third and final stage is a six-week long resident period which focuses on Marine Air Ground Task Force Expeditionary operations, amphibious operations and operation planning and a final culminating exercise.
This means officers can now complete Command and staff schooling in only 38 weeks with the additional advantages of not moving their families and staying in the fleet.

Students completing the program are assigned to the nearest College of Distance Education and Training that is closest to their current duty station during resident periods and attend classes Monday through Friday. The online period is conducted during the students’ off duty hours.

After successful completion of the course, officers receive phase one joint PME credit within one and are considered PME complete for intermediate level schooling.

“This program is important because it provides a greater number of Marine officers the opportunity to attend a resident PME,” said Hansen. “It’s great for the individual officer and provides the Corps more highly educated future leaders.”

Having the opportunity to build relationships across functional areas while still being attached to regular job field duties, the CSCBSP offers officers the best of both worlds.

For more information about applying for a student seat with the CSCBSP West, please email Linda Vaynshteyn, the Administrative Support Training Specialist, College of Distance Education and Training, Camp Pendleton Campus at