FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. – Cheers erupted across the auditorium as senior military officers attended their orientation for the first Command and General Staff College to be run by University of Phoenix, sources confirmed today.
Last year, University of Phoenix made headlines when it won the bid to take over management of the Army's graduate-level war college, a required step for majors as they continue progressing into the senior ranks. Under the new management, officers now have the opportunity to simultaneously earn any masters degree from the university's program offerings in addition to completing their required military studies, officials said.
"I used to be afraid employers wouldn't understand my background and education after I retire," said Maj. Ross Davidson, a field artillery officer now concurrently seeking a Phoenix M.A. in Medieval History. "I ain't just some hotshot firing the big guns no more. I'm gaining a quality education that businesses will recognize, hooah."
In an effort to cut costs, the Army had earlier announced that all officers attending CGSC would have to self-fund the mandatory career school with their entire GI Bill benefit. By partnering with a respected university that can offer a robust selection of degree programs, this is seen as the best way to ensure the DoD is still taking care of its aspiring leaders.
"Officers can expect our classroom instruction to be just as top notch as our online courses," said University of Phoenix President Peter Cohen, while addressing their ability to successfully manage a physical campus.
When asked about how they planned to handle selection for the prestigious School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS), Coehn wasn't worried.
"Sam? Sams?...Fuck it, we'll put whatever the hell you want on that diploma," he said.
Despite the overwhelmingly positive feedback from most officers, some weren't so optimistic.
"Wait, they're doing what?" asked Maj. Mo Deaver, a military intelligence officer who claimed he never heard the announcements due to "limited access" to his unclassified email.
He added: "That does it, dropping papers as soon as I get home. I've got a top secret security clearance. I'm done with this bullshit."
Despite some concerns, most attendees are excited about changes to come, including Maj. Davidson.
"There's nothing that makes me prouder than being an American," said a teary-eyed Davidson, "except maybe being a Phoenix!"