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Feature Stories

NEWS | May 16, 2017

USARCENT Colonel striving to be the best and brightest of the Army

By Staff Sgt. Jared Crain U.S. Army Central

SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. – In December 2011, Gen. Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, directed the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's Combined Arms Center to look at different options for producing strategic planners and future senior leaders through a doctorate program. The School of Advanced Military Studies, or SAMS, developed the Advanced Strategic Planning and Policy Program, or ASP3, and began enrolling students in a pilot program in August 2012.
Col. Oscar Doward, Jr., commander, 2503rd Digital Liaison Detachment, U.S. Army Central, is just one of 60 officers currently participating in ASP3.
“Applying for the program was an opportunity for me to earn a Ph.D., a desire I’ve always had,” said Doward. “I also saw it as a great opportunity to have an effect on the strategic policy level.”
The program is designed to develop field-grade officers as strategic planners and future senior leaders through a combination of practical experience, professional military education, and a doctoral degree from a civilian university in a field of study related to strategy. Military officers will also attend professional military education at SAMS, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, studying history, strategic theory, and the practice of strategic planning.
Doward, prior to arriving at USARCENT, spent the last two years studying at the University of South Carolina, Columbia completing all the requirements for a doctorate except for his dissertation. He is writing his dissertation on African-American Army Officer development and evolution during the 20th Century, focusing on the timeframe between World War I and the Korean War.
Doward has been in command of the 2503rd DLD since October 2016. It is the first stateside all active-duty detachment of this type. The DLD is composed of functional cells which replicate warfighting functions, and each of the cells complements an Army battle command system.
Upon completion of his command, Doward will spend time working on his dissertation and submit a draft and defend his thesis to faculty and committee members in the same field who will read the dissertation and make suggestions for revisions and improvements.
“If I receive approval for my dissertation I plan on having it published into a book,” said Doward.
From start to finish, officers selected to participate in ASP3 may expect to spend as many as six years earning their degree and working in strategy-related developmental jobs. Graduates of the multi-year ASP3 can expect to serve in key planning positions with the Army, various Defense Department activities, the White House national security staff, the intelligence community, State Department, Congress, the combatant commands, civilian think tanks, and military schools.
The program is great for bright officers who are willing to excel to the next level and still have the opportunity to both command and pursue a Ph.D., Doward said.