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The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation's Command and General Staff Officer Course Class of 2014-2015 began its year of study with a Flag Ceremony at the Benning Club July 16.
Institute Assistant Commandant Col. Gustavo Nuñez Kocher of the Chilean Army welcomed the incoming class to WHINSEC and to the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
A student from each of the 13 countries represented in the class posted his or her national flag before an audience that included the families of students along with friends from Fort Benning and the community.
The class of 66 represents Belize, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and the U.S.
Students are from all military branches and law enforcement organizations, as well. WHINSEC also welcomed its second interagency student, an officer in the U.S. Marshals Service.
The course, based on the Command and General Staff College course taught at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with additional cultural and educational components, is taught entirely in Spanish.
The graduate-level course is a step in the careers of U.S. officers. All students in the course have the opportunity to earn the Master of Military Art and Science degree (with additional study and a thesis).
Students may also apply up to 18 semester hours of its academic offerings to graduate degree programs at civilian universities.
Since 2001, there have been 114 master's degrees conferred on graduates of the course by Troy University and others, and in the past four years, 21 students earned the MMAS.
The 47-week-long course will graduate in May 2015.