Olmsted Scholarship--the greatest leaders are educated broadly.
Officers who have completed at least three, but no more than eleven, continuous years of active duty service are eligible to apply. Officers apply by seeking permission from MI Branch at the U.S. Army Total Personnel Command (PERSCOM). The officer submits a formal request letter and endorsements. MI Branch then decides whether to forward the officer's request, a decision based on the competitiveness of the officer's file and appropriateness of the Olmsted Scholarship for his or her career path. The branches forward their nominees' packets; PERSOOM reviews the officers' packets and selects seven Army candidates for the scholarship. These officers' files go before the Olmsted Foundation Board, which routinely meets at the end of April. The Olmsted Board then selects that year's class and the locations where they will study. Once selected, the officers commence language study at the earliest opportunity, either at the Defense Language Institute (DLI) or at another institution.
After completing the language training program, the students make permanent-change-of-station moves to their designated countries, where they will have the opportunity and funding to continue their language training. Scholars begin post-graduate studies with the commencement of their chosen academic program, spending two years studying, learning, traveling, and immersing themselves in the local culture to the greatest extent possible. By direction, Olmsted students have as little contact as possible with U.S. facilities and personnel. The scholarship includes funding for tuition, books, and cultural and educational travel. Officers continue on active duty and receive all regular pay and allowances from the Army. This is a rare opportunity.
A program focused on developing leaders that also affords officers the opportunity to learn a foreign language, conduct post-graduate study in the social sciences and international relations, and immerse themselves in foreign cultures has obvious application to MI leader development. The post-graduate studies focus on research and writing--good preparation and practice for senior MI officer-analysts. Learning a foreign language--besides opening one's mind and perspective--also offers Olmsted Scholars the opportunity to understand soldier-linguists better by sharing in the DLI experience and the rigors of the Defense Language Proficiency Test (DLPT). Foreign immersion, although not specifically oriented toward MI analysis, obviously enhances officers' abilities to understand those coming from different backgrounds. This, at a minimum, contributes to our understanding of current or potential alliance partners. It also helps MI officers develop their ability to 'Think Red."
In the 41 years of the Olmsted Scholar Program, the Olmsted Board has selected only nine Army MI officers as scholars. In recent years, the Olmsted Foundation, in concurrence with the Services, has expanded the number of candidates chosen annually. Thus, now is an opportune time for junior officers to apply to become Olmsted Scholars. We, as a Branch, should strive to identify and promote our young leaders to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity.
Additional information regarding the Olmsted Scholarship is available on the Olmsted Foundation's website at ] MI Branch at PERSOOM also has useful information on the program under Future Readiness Notes on its web page at http://www.perscom.army.mil/OPmi/minews.htm.
Readers may contact Major Tim Chafos via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.