Vice Provost for Learning Systems (VPLS)

The Vice Provost for Learning Systems is responsible for Army University efforts toward Goal 3, Better Management. Functions include staff management of TRADOC core function Education (Governance, Policy, identity requirements and resource common educational requirements), synchronizing professional military education across officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer and civilian cohorts to ensure vertical and horizontal integration and alignment, approve new and emerging educational requirements within Professional Military Education, synchronizing the Army's credentialing efforts to align with Army requirements and Soldier-for-Life initiatives, coordination and execution of the Army Learning Coordination Council and support to other Army governance forums, and point of entry for Operational Force feedback.


Colonel Michael J. Harlan became the Vice Provost, Learning Systems in August 2017 for the second time. He was the first occupant of that office in 2015 before deploying to Iraq in 2016.

A native of Great Falls, Montana, he was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Armor Corps in 1988 from the University of Montana and entered active duty in 1989. In 1990, he was assigned to Fort Stewart, Georgia deploying that fall to Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm as a tank platoon leader in Charlie Company, 3rd Battalion, 69th Armor. In 1991, he was made the Executive Officer of the company and subsequently the logistics officer for the battalion in 1992.

In 1993, he returned to his control branch: Quartermaster. After serving as a Supply and Services officer with the 724th Main Support Battalion at Fort Stewart and completion of his Combined Logistics Officer Advance Course, COL Harlan was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina in 1994 and served a tour as the Plans Officer for the Readiness Operations Division of the 2nd Support Center (Corps Material Management Center), 1st Corps Support Command. In 1996, he assumed command of the 406th General Supply Company of the 530th Supply & Services Battalion at Fort Bragg.

From 1997-2000, he was an Assistant Professor of Military Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He then was assigned as the Brigade Logistics Officer for the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armor Division at Fort Riley, Kansas. In 2002, he attended the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was selected to participate as a member of the pilot course for the Army’s first run of Intermediate Level Education.

In 2003, COL Harlan left Fort Leavenworth and deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) as the Support Operations Officer for the 485th Corps Support Battalion, Hanau, Germany. After his first rotation, he redeployed with the unit and was then selected as the Support Operations Officer for the battalion’s higher headquarters the 16th Corps Support Group. In 2005, COL Harlan deployed to Iraq with the Group. Upon return to Germany, he was chosen as the Transformation officer-in-charge for the Group as it inactivated its units, transferred its colors, and became the 16th Sustainment Brigade.

In 2007, COL Harlan returned to the United States where he served as the Chief of the Leader Development, Education, and Collective Training Branch, Combined Arms Center, Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas.

From 2008-2010, he commanded the 194th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Camp Humphreys, Korea; subsequently he was selected for attendance at the United States Army War College in Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

In 2011, he was stationed at the Pentagon and assigned to the Joint Staff, J4 where he served as the Chief of the Capabilities and Analysis Division until 2014.

In 2014 he was nominated and selected as the Director of the Department of Logistics and Resource Operations at the Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth; he was subsequently chosen to lead the Army University Task Force.

In 2016, he deployed to the US Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq as a member of the Office of Security Cooperation-Iraq (OSC-I). In 2017 he returned to Ft. Leavenworth to resume his current duties as the Vice Provost for Learning Systems for the Army University.

COL Harlan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Montana and a Master of Strategic Studies Degree from the U.S. Army War College. His military education includes the Armor Officer Basic Course, the Combined Logistics Officer Advanced Course, the Combined Arms and Services Staff School, the Senior Officer Logistics Management Course, the Support Operations Course, United States Army Command and General Staff College, and the United States Army War College.