Army ILE: Intermediate Level Education for Army Majors

In today’s post, I would like to discuss the Army ILE Program also known as Intermediate Level Education. For the most part, I will focus on the course for USAR and ARNG Officers, but I will also provide an overview of the program and discuss the enrollment process, information covered, and course requirements.

Once you achieve the rank of Major, you must attend and graduate the Army ILE Course, before you will become eligible for promotion to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Most Majors spend four to seven years as a Major. Ultimately, you should complete the course within your first one to three years as a Major.

The sooner you can enroll and complete Army ILE the better. In fact, once you are promoted to the rank of Major, you should sit down and develop a game-plan covering what jobs you want to have and determine when you will enroll and attend the Army ILE Course. Don’t leave it to chance and hope your superiors will help you do this!

ILE is the Army’s formal education program for senior captains and majors. ILE consists of a common core of operational instruction offered to all officers, and additional education opportunities tied to the requirements of the officer’s branch or FA. ~ Army Modelling and Simulation Office

Army ILE Overview

Mission & Vision for Army ILE

Here’s a simplified mission and vision statement I found online about ILE.

Mission & Vision

The US Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) educates and develops leaders for full-spectrum joint, interagency, and multinational operations and advances the art and science of the profession of arms in support of Army operational requirements.


The CGSC is and will always strive to be an educational center of excellence. We must remain a renowned academic leader in the study of leadership, the conduct of joint and combined
land warfare, and the application of Joint, Interagency, and Multinational organizations to synchronize all elements of power to achieve national objectives. We will continue to support
field commanders with well-trained and well-educated leaders, in depth research in the professional body of knowledge, and reach back capability in support of on-going operations. We will
maintain our world-class dedication to learning and to advancing the professional body of knowledge.

History of the Army Intermediate Level Course

The Army ILE Program is fairly new. Prior to the creation of the course in 2002, the Army utilized the Command and General Staff College. In 2002, this program was launched and rolled out in full force in 2005. Back in the day, only half of all Army Majors from each year group were selected for the CGSC Program. Now, all Army Majors must attend and graduate Army ILE before they can get promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

All Army Majors must attend and graduate.

Quick Facts about Army ILE

I’d like to take a moment and provide you a few quick facts about the course. These are just a few things you should know up front.

  • The U.S. Army Command and General Staff College is a subordinate organization of Army University, within which CGSC is one of three regionally accredited institutions. Army University spans education and training institutions across the Army, and is headquartered at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (source).
  • Active Duty Officers attend the resident training at Fort Leavenworth.
  • Reserve and ARNG Officers typically take the non-resident course.
  • It is the third tier of the Officer Education System.
  • You have 18-months to complete the course, from the time you first sign up.
  • Distance Learning (Internet) option consists of three phases, all of which are conducted online.
  • The Army School System (TASS) consists of online classes and classroom time.
  • The course is designed to prepare Majors for the next ten years of their career.
  • Most officers complete the course in about 14 months.
  • You must graduate this course to be eligible for promotion to LTC.

How to Sign Up for Army ILE?

You can learn more about the course in ATRRS. The course number is 701-1-250-ILE. I recommend you sit down with your Readiness NCO or unit S3 Training NCO to enroll. They will login to ATRRS and show you your options. You can pick the option that is best for you. In addition, you must complete your Captain’s Career Course or 2nd tier education requirements first. Once you are signed up for ILE, your unit can print your orders for the course. I recommend you take a few moments to determine which course (internet or classroom) works best for you.

For most Reserve and Army National Guard Officers, the classroom course is the best option. I’ve found that many officers drop out of the internet portion because they can’t stay focused. I’m not saying that to discourage you in any way. If you enjoy learning via internet instruction, this is your best course of action to take.

On the other hand, the major downside of the classroom ILE is that you will probably do two drill weekends each month for 9-12 months; one for your ILE and one with your unit. Most units won’t let you miss 9-12 months of drill weekend to attend a school, especially if you are in a leadership position.

In addition, it might be in your best interest to sit down with your chain of command ahead of time, so you can discuss your career goals and develop a game-plan that supports your unit goals, and still lets you attend Army ILE.

Of all the courses I’ve been to in my 12 years as an Army Officer, I couldn’t have picked a better group of 15 people than I had in my ILE phase 1 class. Such an awesome experience. ~ MAJ via Rally Point

What Will I Learn in the Intermediate Level Education Course?

You will learn how to be a Brigade level staff officer and higher. You will learn a lot about the strategic level in the Army. You will write papers, have discussion groups, take tests, and challenge yourself. You will get instruction in many aspects of strategic, operational, and tactical leadership.

You will also learn about Force Management, Military Leadership, and much more. One of the best things about the course is the “fellowship” with your peers. I consider this aspect of the course just as beneficial as the instruction. You will rub elbows with other successful Majors and form long-term, professional relationships with them.

Common Core

The Common Core has five primary “blocks” of instruction:
• C100 (Foundations)
• C200 (Strategic Context of Operational Art)
• C300 (Unified Action)
• C400 (Apply U.S. Army Doctrine)
• C500 (Joint Application of Operational Art)

Those primary blocks are supported by the Guest Speaker Program and three parallel blocks of instruction:
• F100 (Managing Army Change)
• H100 (Rise of the Western Way of War)
• L100 (Developing Organizations and Leaders)


Upon graduation, graduates of ILE possess a warrior ethos and warfighting focus that enable them to lead competently and confidently on Army, Joint, Interagency, and Multinational teams throughout the spectrum of operations. These are graduates who:

  • Are prepared to assume warfighting duties immediately upon graduation.
  • Possess the competencies and supporting skills and knowledge that enable them to perform duties effectively and help teams achieve organizational objectives.
  • Are attuned to the complexities of the operating environment and consider the impact of culture on military operations.
  • Take a disciplined approach to meeting organizational and strategic ­level leadership challenges.
  • Are critical and creative thinkers who can adapt and thrive in ambiguous and ever­changing environments.
  • Are self ­aware and motivated to continue learning and improving throughout their careers.

There is one ILE class per year; starting in August and ending in June. About 1,200 US military and international officers make up the class. In addition to the ILE curriculum, a graduate masters program exists for students who may qualify to complete a thesis-level research paper and receive a Master of Military Arts and Sciences (M.M.A.S.) degree from the Command and General Staff College. ~ Wikipedia

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the Army ILE Course is an important course for Army Majors. Currently, all Majors must graduate ILE in order to get promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The course itself is time consuming and quite challenging. It will probably be the most difficult military school you’ve had to complete during your part-time military career. However, the information you learn, and the friendships you build, will help you become a better, more proficient Army Officer.

What are your experiences with Army ILE? Do you have any questions? If so, please post them below. Hooah!

Suggested Reading
  1. Why I Resigned My Commission
  2. Major Charles Whittlesy
  3. Four Lessons I Learned as an Army Major
  4. Captain’s Career Course
  5. Battalion Commander Duties
chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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40 thoughts on “Army ILE: Intermediate Level Education for Army Majors”

  1. Just finished the course in 12 months time.
    1) Quizzes-just knock them out. They are easy. Only 10 questions per quiz. Take good notes before quiz.

    2) Brush up on essay writing. Essays aren’t long, but they want you to write at a graduate level standard.

    3) Set a schedule. It is easy to lose track of time, but if you stay focused you will eventually finish.

    4) Don’t rely on the Tutor lab to help. I forgot the lady’s name at the school, but she was as useless as a sack of potatoes if you had any questions on essay writing.

    1. These are great tips, Johnny. Here are some questions for you.

      1. Are the quizzes open book? In other words, can you refer to your notes?
      2. On average, how long are the essays you must write? 5,000 words? 10,000 words? Or something much shorter?
      3. What type of schedule worked best for you?
      4. What did you use, instead of the Tutor lab?

      I’d love to get the answers to those questions. Thanks.

      1. Patrick Dowd

        Thought I’d chime in with some answers in case anyone comes across this who can use them:

        1. Are the quizzes open book? In other words, can you refer to your notes?
        Yes, but TASS quizzes are timed and there isn’t much room to look up answers.
        2. On average, how long are the essays you must write? 5,000 words? 10,000 words? Or something much shorter? 2-3 pages, double-spaced.
        3. What type of schedule worked best for you?
        I hated DL. TASS was awesome. Also, don’t think you can “try” the DL option. They won’t let you out of it without a form from an O-6.
        4. What did you use, instead of the Tutor lab? DL was like a fortress of solitude. I wasn’t aware of any options for assistance.

        Less than 15 years time in service isn’t a requirement. I have 25 years in. I did start ILE at less than 15 years commissioned time though.

    1. I cannot answer that question, but if I was a guessing man, that sounds realistic. I doubt they’d want you to complete the school and then just retire a year or two later, after investing all of that money to train you. Hopefully, someone else can chime in here.

  2. I would like to start by mentioning that I am lucky to have stumbled on this forum. Thanks a lot Chuck for creating the forum. It has helped tremendously in answering some of my questions about the ILE course. However, I do have another question. Is it a requirement that someone must be already promoted to the rank of major before he or she can attend the course? I would like to attend the course, but I am still a captain .

      1. The Command and General Staff College and their information can be located at the CAC website:

        You will find specific information for Intermediate Level Education under the “Command and General Staff School (CGSS)” Tab located to the right of the screen.
        CGSC not only oversees CGSS but also oversees School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) and School for Command Preparation (SCP). More information can be found on the website located above.

        For more information on the Department of Distance Education (i.e. – Distributed Learning, TASS, or AOC (Advanced Operations Course)) please visit the website

        Chuck is correct to say – YOU MUST GET WITH YOUR unit ATRRS operator or HRC assignment officer or your branch manager when trying to get a reservation or decide if you need AOC or have credentialing credit from elsewhere. An A1 application would need to be submitted through ATRRS in order to receive a “seat” for DL or TASS (each phase) and/or AOC. Keep in mind things change, contacts change, information/policy can change. With that said it is always best to go to the SOURCE (in this instance – the Schoolhouse/POC’s of DDE) for the most current information.

        1. I completed Phase 1 (50%) of CGSC back in 2004. I ahd a break in serice and now need ot take ILE. How do I found out about the credntialing credit for CGSC?

    1. Hello. I know that you can take the DL course as a Captain if you meet the prerequisites listed in ATTRS. I am a CPT in the National Guard and just got enrolled in phase 1.

  3. Can and how do you submit for pay and/or points if you are completing CGSC via Distance Learning? I relaize there are 1380s, but I am DIMA and it seems that no one knows the answer. How do you adjudicate the number of hours? Also, I had completed two phases of the my CCC as a TPU Reservist and want to submit for those long hours of coursework at night as well.


  4. Completed ILE in 2013 (3 Phases DL). Is the Advanced operation course they do at CGSC part of or a supplement to the DL program of instruction?

  5. Although I am not of a military background myself, nor do I know many who are (save one friend – just completed OCS in the Navy and is on the USS JPJ as I write this), I think a lot of the education the military offers is left in the background in discussions. There’s a lot to be learned, and the various schools encompass this notion.

  6. Ed Cunningham

    I started CGSC and did not complete it during the alloted time. I am currently on Retired Reserve. I would like to return to TPU status and just learned that I was up for LTC prior to retiring. What is the process for attending CGSC and is it required prior to returning to Reserve status?

  7. this is an old thread, but hopefully someone is still watching it. Anyone know where to find a list of ILE drill locations?

      1. You can find course dates by going through AKO into the My Training Self-service tab and bring up ATTRS. Search the upcoming FY list for each phase. You can see dates and available seats but your unit Training NCO will need to apply for the slot. Hope this helps. Good luck!

  8. I just completed ILE myself–great course! They also put out that it will no longer be called ILE but will revert back to CGSC. Effective, as we were told in class, immediately. Go figure!


  9. I graduated from the CGSC course more than 15 years ago and really enjoyed it. I thought it did a great job preparing me for staff jobs at the Brigade level and higher. We did lots of research, briefings, presentations and public speaking.

  10. Major Holmes,

    Are NG Major’s afforded the opportunity to attend the resident ILE often? (I’m thinking probably not). I have had the fortune to attend the resident CCC, and would like the opportunity to attend my next OES (ILE) as well. I realize it takes quite a bit of funding to do this for a Major, but it never hurts to ask (which is what I will be doing shortly – I’m newly promoted). On my last two OER’s, my senior rater even requested it! (although I realize that that’s just a recommendation). Thanks in advance!


    1. David,

      It can happen, but it is very, very rare. Normally, it would be one the AGR folks, not an M-Day/TPU Officer, who get to attend the resident ILE. Most states only send 1-2 people to the resident course per year (if they even do that much). It never hurts to ask, but it is highly unlikely. Congrats on your recent promotion and thanks for your service.


    2. I’ve been told that if you apply for a resident ILE course in the National Guard and get denied, you are almost certain to get it if you apply the next year. The reasoning is that by the time you are a Major you are probably in your 30s or 40s, likely have a family, likely own a home, and are in the middle of your career. All of those things make if difficult to pick up and go to a resident course for almost a year. Bottom line is that you will probably not face a lot of competition for those few slots.

  11. Katelyn Hensel

    Excellent post. I never knew the amount of extensive steps required in order to obtain the promotion to Lieutenant Colonel .

    Just a quick question…
    Do you know what prompted the change from the Command and General Staff College to the Army ILE Program? Was it just a matter of setting standards or was there a problem with the previous form of educating leaders?

    1. Katelyn,

      No, I’m not really sure why the Army change the Command and General Staff College to the Intermediate Level Education course. If I had to take a stab at it, I’d bet that it’s because of the way the Army changed it’s tactics and infrastructure with the Force XXI model. When we went to the modular brigades things changed a bit. That’s my best guess why I changed. Hopefully, someone else can chime in here and share their thoughts.


  12. Thanks for the information about Army ILE Chuck. I will be finishing Company Command in a few months and will be eligible for promotion to the rank of Major in about four months. I want to complete ILE as quickly as possible, once I make major. I prefer to do the one weekend a month class, rather than doing everything online. Do you know what I need to do to sign up for the course in ATRRS?


    1. Good for you, Dan. After you finish Company Command I would recommend taking six months off to relax and collect your thoughts. Yes, you’ll still have your drill weekend, but I wouldn’t recommend anything else. Take some family time and relax. After that, you can get back in the swing of things with your military education. Just my thoughts.


  13. I completed the Army ILE last year and have to tell you it was a great course. I did everything online. It was tough at times, managing my job, family life and military responsibilities, but I got it done. Fortunately, I won’t have another school to do for a few years.


    1. Good for you, Harold. How much time did you spend on your classes each week? Did you have a set time every night to work on your ILE Course? I would love to know what worked for you. Most people I talk to who take the Internet portion never finish it.


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