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Photo of 2019 International Staff Ride to France

Staff Rides

Staff rides are on-the-ground studies of military campaigns or larger conflicts. The staff ride is a practice developed by the Prussian General Staff in the 19th century as a means of educating military officers. The practice was brought to the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College in 1906, and has been used as an educational tool by the U.S. military and other organizations dedicated to the teaching of strategy ever since.

The Merrill Center supports two domestic staff rides and one international staff ride per year for Johns Hopkins SAIS students. Staff rides are excellent opportunities for students not only to learn about a campaign or conflict in-depth, but also to build leadership, decision-making, and public speaking skills.

Merrill Center staff rides are completely student-designed and student-run. They are led by student "Quartermasters" and supported by research, logistics, and public affairs teams. Participants are tasked with taking on the role of a historical figure and presenting on a series of research questions, taking a first-person perspective. 

For more information on staff rides, contact

Photo of International Staff Ride to France

Students, faculty, and distinguished guests visit the Mémorial de la France combattante at Fort Mont-Valérien during the the 2019 International Staff Ride.The memorial commemorates members of the French armed forces and the French resistance during World War II.

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