Professor Gilmour and MGJW 2018 Cohort trip to Washington D.C. engaging with the House Budget Committee special staff.

Professor Gilmour and MGJW 2018 Cohort trip to Washington D.C. engaging with the House Budget Committee special staff.


Remember to register for classes, obtain a student ID, order your textbooks, purchase a parking pass, and pre-pay your diploma fee. This is an atypical, but refreshing way to enter the summer months following a PCS move cycle. The laundry list of tasks was just a small taste of transition from the everyday military rigmarole to full blown graduate student status at the prestigious College of William and Mary in historical Williamsburg, Virginia.  Upon arriving to our new “duty station,” the nine 2018 Cohort of Major General (R) James Wright (MGJW) Fellows were greeted with an amazing MBA Program Staff, 2017’s MGJW Cohort, two senior Executive Partners, and Dr. John Gilmour, Professor of Government and Public Policy.


The summer months entailed a crash course of getting back into the books, a time in broadening the cohort very much appreciated. The summer courses began with a broad look into the U.S. Federal Budget and American Politics with a minor concentration into the Department of Defense. These courses were instrumental in understanding the Department of Defense’s role in the National Defense Authorization Act and the overarching policies governing government powers to engage in conflict along with the associated political parties and personalities of the decision-makers. Additionally, we had the guidance and coaching of two retired General Officers, (LTG(R) Jerry Bates and MG(R) Bob Courter, who advised us to focus on our transition from the military to graduate student life for the next 15 months.


Our two courses culminated with a senior staff ride to our backyard of Washington, D.C., to see how the budget and politics really worked. Application of everything learned in the short four weeks was evident as we rubbed elbows with major organizations and the Chambers of Commerce. The Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) gave insight into federal funding accountability, allocation, and relationships among the myriad of organizations lining the streets of Capitol Hill. The House Budget Committee and Senate Appropriations Armed Services Sub-Committee brought to light the polarization existing between the two major political parties and a slew of items needing passage in legislature. The engagement was invaluable as we finally put all the terms and news we hear in everyday Army life to the D.C. process of government and fiscal policy.


Comprised of Armor, Aviation, Infantry, and Logistics Army Officers and our lone Engineering Naval Officer, we became accustomed to the rigors of returning to academia with a new passion for learning. Endowed with an amazing opportunity for broadening, we soaked up the knowledge in preparation for the main academic year beginning in August 2017.