Student Selection and Pre-Arrival Requirement
The selection criterion for military students is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 12-15. Civilian student criteria is contained in the Department of Defense (DOD) Security Assistance Management Manual (Part II) and AR 12-15.
Per paragraph 9-3, AR 12-15, foreign military trainees (FMTs) will receive a living allowance per Table 9-1. But, due to recent changes in the living allowance rates, it is advisable for Security Assistance Organizations (SAOs) to specify in Block 16 of Invitation Travel Orders (ITOs) the rate that the FMT is programmed to receive.
Per paragraph 10-4, AR 12-15, dated 1 October 1985, SAOs are required to furnish biographical data on each officer attending courses at WHINSEC no later than 10 days prior to the student’s reporting date. DD Form 13961, dated September 1980, is the designated document for this information.
Per paragraph 10-29, AR 12-15, foreign governments are responsible for issuing necessary passports and for obtaining visas for entry into the United States. The government should ensure that passports and visas of FMTs and their dependents are valid for the duration of the training period.
Per paragraph 10-46, AR 12-15, SAOs will require a signed statement from a medical and dental authority stating that the FMT has received, within the 3 preceding months, a thorough physical examination before issuing an ITO. A complete immunization record is also required before the FMT is authorized to travel. Of particular interest to the preventive medicine community at Fort Benning is verification of tuberculosis testing. Vaccinations for tetanus, typhoid, yellow fever, and polio are recommended. A complete physical examination with HIV testing, less immunizations, is given to all students who are enrolled in strenuous or lengthy courses. Examinations are charged to course costs.
During the in-country pre-departure briefing, SAOs should advise the FMTs on difficulties and restrictions involving non-authorized dependents.
While students report with enough time on their visas, dependents sometimes arrive with a visa expiring on or before the ending date of the course. Students should be advised that an extension of their dependents’ visas might be required.
Student Reporting Information
Report dates are indicated on the course program schedule. If a taxi or private automobile is used, students must report to the Directorate of Training, WHINSEC, Bldg. 35, Room 339 or 340, during duty hours (8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). After duty hours, students report to Headquarters Company in Bldg. 2816 for room assignment, and then report, in uniform, to the company of assignment the next working day at 9 a.m.
U.S. military group or equivalent representatives prepare necessary Invitational Travel Orders in accordance with the DOD Security Assistance Management Manual, and U.S. Army South (USARSO) guidance on Living Allowance for Foreign Military Trainees and Foreign Guest Instructors. Copies of orders should be given to each prospective student well in advance of their expected departure, to allow time for planning and preparation. Upon arrival, all students must have a passport and an international immunization record valid for the duration of training at WHINSEC.
In accordance with AR 12-15, if a student is airborne-qualified, he may be placed on jump status and allowed to participate in airborne operations. The ITO must indicate in Block 15h(1) “FMT is parachute-qualified and authorized to participate in airborne operations from U.S. aircraft.”
Student Arrival and Departure Information
WHINSEC is located on the U.S. Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia, and 100 miles south of the city of Atlanta on the southeast side of the city of Columbus. The local commercial airport is the Columbus Metropolitan Airport (CSG), located some fifteen miles from Fort Benning. Flights connecting to Columbus are available at the Hartsfield International Airport in Atlanta (ATL). Lawson Military Airport is located on Fort Benning and can be used for military flights transporting groups of international military students (IMS).
Upon arrival to the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, students will be met by a WHINSEC representative; if students are unable to locate this individual, they should contact the Airport Military Liaison for assistance in reaching the WHINSEC Staff Duty Officer (SDO) at telephone number 706-545-4343 or 1-877-736-3612, toll free (24 hours/7 days a week). If unable to make contact with the WHINSEC SDO, students should use a taxi (cash payment) service for transportation to WHINSEC; a signed receipt should be requested from the driver for reimbursement from the Institute if authorized by the ITO.
Passports and Visas
Foreign governments are responsible for issuing the necessary passports and for obtaining visas for entry into the United States. It is recommended that governments verify the passports and visas of both students and family members included on the invitational travel orders (ITO) to confirm that they are valid for the full training period and do not expire before the end-of-course date.
Students and their authorized dependents are afforded full commissary, post-exchange, open-mess, postal, recreational, and banking/credit-union privileges, as well as all other benefits enjoyed by United States military personnel.
International military student (IMS) dependent family members without authorization appearing on travel orders are not authorized ID cards, commissary or post-exchange privileges, nor medical care at Department of Defense facilities.
Students may eat in the Fort Benning Dining Facility located in Bldg 200, Vibbert Avenue. All meals are cash only. Some quarters have microwave ovens for warming pre-prepared meals. Cooking in housing areas and barracks is strictly prohibited. There are several restaurants and fast-food establishments on Fort Benning, including Subway, Taco Bell, Burger King, etc.
All students should report with the following garments:
- One dress uniform for the closing ceremony and class photograph
- Two complete battle-dress uniforms (for classroom instruction)
- Two additional battle-dress uniforms (only for those attending courses thatinclude field exercises)
- Two pairs of boots
- Seven sets of underwear (t-shirt, briefs, and socks)
- One pair of tennis shoes and four pairs of white socks
- Appropriate casual and dress civilian attire (long pants and shirt)
- Formal civilian attire with coat and tie (only for the MCCC-W and CGSOC Courses)
- Two towels and personal-hygiene items
- One padlock
- Warm coats and gloves for the winter months, in accordance with the uniform requirements of each country
- The Institute will provide PT uniforms (except shoes)
- Business suit for students attending the CGSOC and MCCC-W Courses
Depending upon training requirements and the type of course, some students will be lodged free of charge at the Student Company facilities (military barracks), Building 2816, and others in hotel rooms at Abrams Hall, located on Fort Benning, which is available to house officers and non-commissioned officers at an average cost of $68.25 a night. Since the CGSOC course is 47 weeks in length and its students are authorized to travel with their dependent family members, their dependent family members will be housed in residences located on Fort Benning, and payment will be covered by the housing allowance.
All students should report in excellent physical condition. However, WHINSEC may coordinate any necessary medical consultation and treatment with Martin Army Community Hospital (MACH), which offers a limited range of medical services. Additionally, Troop Medical Clinic is available for routine sick call, and emergency dental care is provided by the Bernheim Dental Clinic for service members only. There are several full-service civilian hospitals and dental facilities in Columbus, Georgia.
The Student Company and Abrams Hall laundries are a free service offered to students. Fort Benning also has other public facilities including laundromats, tailors, shoe shops, barbershops, etc., to which students have access; cash payment is expected at time of service.
Military Identification Cards and Authorized Dependent Family Members
Students attending the Command & General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) are encouraged to bring their dependents. All dependents must be listed on the ITO. All other students are not authorized dependents, as they cannot be command-sponsored. Only the authorized dependents of the CGSOC students will receive ID cards and receive the rights associated with being command sponsored. CGSOC students’ authorized dependents will receive ID cards. Students who enroll their children in the local school system must bring immunization records for their children. Students who are authorized dependents should travel and arrive early to make necessary housing and transportation arrangements prior to dependents’ arrival. All other students are not authorized dependents and will not be command sponsored.
Authorize Dependent Travel & Finance
Students attending the Command and General Staff Officer Course (OPME-4) are authorized dependent travel and encouraged to bring their families. All other students should be discouraged from bringing dependents, as they cannot be command-sponsored.
Only the authorized dependents of Command and General Staff Officer Course students will receive identification cards and receive the rights associated with being command-sponsored. Students who enroll their children in the school must bring immunization records for their children.
Students authorized dependent travel should arrive early to make necessary housing and transportation arrangements prior to dependent arrival. Students electing to bring dependents at their own expense must make housing and transportation arrangements and have families completely settled prior to the reporting date for the course.
Billeting and Mess
The Bachelor Officer Quarters at Fort Benning is available to officers at $20.50 per day; maid service is mandatory. Officers may eat at the Follow Me Dining Facility in Henry Hall, or the Mini-Mall PX Complex. Cooking in rooms is strictly prohibited.
Enlisted personnel normally will be billeted in Building 2816. Field Intensive Course students also stay in the billets in Building 2816. International Military Education and Training (IMET) enlisted students will be issued a meal card by the company to which they are assigned. The card entitles them to 3 meals a day at no charge in a Dining Facility.
Married students accompanied by their families will reside off-post. The Guest House (30 days maximum stay) is available on a first-come basis. Suitable apartments rent from $350.00 to $650.00 a month. Security deposits are required and range from one-half to one month’s rent. Apartments normally require a six-month lease; with a military clause and a 30-day termination notification, the term may be shorter. Furnished apartments do not include cooking utensils or linens. The Army Community Service (ACS) Lending Closet loans such items, but only for a 30-day period.
Cost of Living
The following is a guideline for costs you may expect during the first month at Fort Benning:
Apartment – $350.00 to $650.00 (may be higher)
Security Deposit – $200.00
Utilities – $100.00
Telephone deposit – $250.00
Automobile – $2,500.00
Auto Insurance – $600.00 (annually)
TOTAL- $4,000.00 – $4,300.00
BOQ (with maid service) – $615.00
Telephone Deposit – $250.00
Automobile – $2,500.00
Auto Insurance – $600.00 (annually)
TOTAL – $3,765.00
(Note: Not all apartment complexes provide coin-operated laundry services.)
Please keep cash to a minimum while traveling. Travelers checks (U.S. denominations) can be readily converted to cash at any bank, but certified or cashier checks will not be paid until they have cleared through the International Banking System (15-20 days).
Students under the Security-Assistance Program will receive a monthly allowance for housing (BAH), food, and unforeseen expenses (per diem). The basic housing allowance will depend on where the students live; if they live on the Fort Benning Military Installation in the Student Company barracks, the housing allowance is not applicable. Financial assistance for food and unforeseen expenses will be granted to all students, inasmuch as the Department of Defense is the agency responsible for regulating the appropriate funding amounts in accordance with current laws.
Pay vouchers for students receiving living allowances from the Security Assistance Program must be sent to the Finance Division in Rome, New York, and dispersed by Indianapolis to WHINSEC via Fed-Ex mail with payday during the month. Advise students that their first payday will not be until the third or fourth week following their arrival to WHINSEC. Therefore, students should carry a minimal amount of cash when traveling. Students are recommended to have at least four (4) weeks of funds available to cover the cost of meals ($350.00). Students are encouraged to use banking services provided on post. The Student Company provides secure storage of funds for those not using banking services.
IMET Travel and Living Allowance
For IMET students receiving only travel allowance for the continental United States (CONUS), travel status starts at the time of departure from the CONUS port of entry, and terminates upon arrival at Fort Benning. SAOs should ensure the student has same-day connecting flights or overnight accommodations at the port of entry.
Pay vouchers for IMET students must be turned in to the Finance Office by the 15th of each month, with payday on the 30th. Students should be advised that arrival after the 15th of the month means that their first payday will not be until the end of the succeeding month.
During duty hours
(8 a.m.-5 p.m. (0800-1700) Mon – Fri)
International Student Division
Commercial: (706) 545-3754/8522
DSN: (835) 3754/8522
After duty hours:
WHINSEC Staff Duty NCO
Commercial: (706) 545-4343/4329
If a WHINSEC representative does not meet you at the Columbus Metropolitan Airport, contact the Military Liaison Desk there. If you take a commercial taxi from the airport, you must ask for a signed receipt for reimbursement. The cost is between $20.00 and $25.00.