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General officer support staff return for third course

National Guard Soldiers and civilians assigned to general officers' staffs attend a lecture Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

National Guard Soldiers and civilians assigned to general officers' staffs attend a lecture Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Brig. Gen. Tim Cathcart, director, National Guard Bureau Legislative Liaison office, speaks with National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilians during the General Officer Support Staff Course August 31, 2016, at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. The course aids personnel in their assignments with high-ranking leaders through informative lectures and subject expertise on the workings of general officers' roles and staffs. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

Brig. Gen. Tim Cathcart, director, National Guard Bureau Legislative Liaison office, speaks with National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilians during the General Officer Support Staff Course August 31, 2016, at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. The course aids personnel in their assignments with high-ranking leaders through informative lectures and subject expertise on the workings of general officers' roles and staffs. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

National Guard Soldiers and civilians assigned to general officers attend a networking breakout Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

National Guard Soldiers and civilians assigned to general officers attend a networking breakout Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilians assigned to general officers in the states, territories and the District of Columbia head to networking breakout sessions Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

National Guard Soldiers, Airmen and civilians assigned to general officers in the states, territories and the District of Columbia head to networking breakout sessions Aug. 30, 2016, during the General Officer Support Staff Course at the I.G. Brown Training and Education Center on McGhee Tyson Air National Guard Base in Louisville, Tenn. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Mike R. Smith)

MCGHEE TYSON AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Tenn. -- Sixty-nine National Guard executive officers, administrators, enlisted aids, executives and assistants situated themselves here Aug. 30 for three days of lectures and subject expertise on the workings of general officers' roles and staffs.

The I.G. Brown Training and Education Center facilitated the General Officer Support Staff Course to aid such personnel in their assignments with high-ranking officers.

"It's a specialized course that meets a need out there, in the field," said Col. Kevin Donovan, the TEC commander, who welcomed the incoming class. "[We] offer professional continuing education, and this course fits into that."

The course connects GO support staff with the National Guard Bureau joint staff and Department of Defense experts in public affairs, protocol, the judge advocate, ethics, the inspector general and other interests. The course also connects support staff with each other, through socializing - there's an added networking breakout, brought about from student reviews.

This was the course's third iteration, which began in 2013 from the advice of the 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.

A lot of decision-making happens at the staff level in support of a general officer's needs and requests, said Donovan. "So this is about training the force in order to give those support personnel the information that they need to help their offices make sound decisions."