US Army War College
Basic Strategic Art Program (BSAP)
BSAP provides officers newly designated into Functional Area (FA) 59 (Strategist) an introduction to strategy and to the unique skills, knowledge, and behaviors that provide the foundation for their progressive development as Army strategists.
Incident to that purpose, BSAP also creates a shared common foundational experience for Army strategists, acculturates officers to the functional area, and assists graduates in the creation of their FA59 self-identity as part of a network of Army FA59 strategists.
Graduates of BSAP possess the basic knowledge and skills that will allow them to critically assess and creatively develop strategic plans and policy:
- Apply intellectual, theoretical, and professional foundations in policy, strategy, and operational art at the campaign, theater, and national level.
- Lead operational planning teams in conceptual and deliberate planning processes to solve difficult problems for military commanders.
- Produce strategies and plans for theater strategic and national strategic objectives in pursuit of national policy goals.
- Apply knowledge of the institutional Army, Joint Force, and interagency across futures, force generation, campaigning, crisis, contingency, and operations.
- Communicate effectively, whether written, spoken, or visual.
In January 2002, LTG David McKiernan, Deputy Chief of Staff, Army G-3, directed MG Robert R. Ivany, Commandant, U.S. Army War College to develop a basic qualification course for FA59s. After approval of concept on 22 July 2002, the program of instruction was validated in the pilot class, which ran from June to September 2003. The program expanded to two classes per year in 2006 and then added a third class in 2008.
Currently, BSAP instructs up to 16 students in 3 classes for an annual total of 48 graduates, which include opportunities for 6 Army National Guard and 6 Army Reserve officers a year. All FA59 officers must complete BSAP to achieve Military Education Level 4. BSAP instructors are all experienced strategists, with some 60 years of combined experience in the functional area.
As of 28 May 2022, the BSAP’s 50 classes of 667 qualified Army Strategists serve at every echelon from division to the National Security Council staff, and includes five allied officers from Australia and the United Kingdom.
The BSAP curriculum is divided into six learning modules: strategic theory, strategic art, national security decision-making, contemporary strategic challenges, institutional strategy and planning, and joint and Army planning. Instructors occurs at levels up to and including top secret, depending on student body composition.
Three staff rides and a combined/joint theater-strategic planning exercise integrate classroom instruction with practical application. The first staff ride is to Gettysburg to discuss the nature of war, operational leadership, and the American way of war. The second staff ride is to key government agencies in the National Capital Region (National Security Council, other entities to include the Office of Management and Budget, the Department of State, and Congress) and the Pentagon (Army Staff, Joint Staff, and Office of the Secretary of Defense) to observe U.S. policy and strategy development. The third staff ride covers Lieutenant General Grant’s 1864-1865 campaigns to assess strategic and operational lessons of war. The combined/joint planning exercise applies instruction of deliberate planning processes to develop military options and plans.
Accessed into Functional Area 59 and selected by career manager for attendance. Completion of the Defense Strategy Course or other skill identified 6Z-producing program
Prior to attendance, prospective students complete a Graduate Skills Diagnostic and a diagnostic essay to assess writing ability.
Students must hold at minimum a SECRET clearance, although a TOP SECRET clearance is preferred. FA59 officers must hold a TOP SECRET clearance with eligibility for SCI.
All students must be registered for a class slot in ATRRS. There are no walk-on attendees.
Administration and Logistics
Students attend BSAP in a TDY status and are billeted at the IHG privatized guest lodging on Carlisle Barracks. Class is conducted five days a week except on federal holidays and may include some evening events.
Attire is primarily business attire (coat and tie for men or female equivalent), although some events require the Class B uniform. There is no requirement for utility or combat uniforms at BSAP.
Classes are conducted primarily in Collins Hall, a secured facility. Personally owned electronic devices (personal computers, phones, wearable fitness devices, wireless headphones) that may transmit information are prohibited for entry into Collins Hall. Those officers with hard tokens for use on SIPRNET should bring them.
Class dates are listed in the ATRRS Course Catalog (CAC PKI login required):
Course Title: BASIC STRATEGIC ART PROGRAM
Administrative documents are located on the BSAP NIPRNET SharePoint Page (CAC PKI login required): https://armyeitaas.sharepoint-mil.us/teams/BSAP/Shared%20Documents/Public