Personnel specialists Armywide are changing more than 50 percent of the enlisted force's occupational codes. For most enlisted soldiers it will just be an alphanumeric change, for others it could mean a career change.
The Army has 230 military occupational specialties -- a number that changes everyday, said Randy Newman, chief of the Classification Structure Branch. By fiscal year 2009, about 150 of them will be renamed or deleted, he said.
The Engineer Career Management Field will be renaming 20 specialties. The Aviation CMF will be renaming 19 specialties. These two have the most soldiers to receive a new nomenclature. However, these soldiers will be among the least affected by the realignment of job designators.
Decreasing confusion on what jobs fall under the Engineer CMF will be the primary benefit, said Lt. Col. Jack Smith, the Enlisted Engineer Branch chief.
Engineers now have specialties ranging from diver, 00B; interior electrician, 51R; heavy construction equipment operator 62E to topographic analyst, 81T. It was quite confusing around the Army as what MOSs were engineering, Smith said. But with the CMFs 12, 51 and 81 converting to CMF 21, there won't be any doubt who's an engineer, he said.
"The only consternation will be for those senior NCOs [noncommissioned officers] whose goal is to become a Zulu and make the rank of sergeant major. Their quest will change slightly," Smith said.
Combat engineering senior sergeant, 12Z, will be converted to 21Z. However, general engineer supervisor, 51Z, will be reclassified to 21X and topographic engineering supervisor, 81Z, will be reclassified to 21Y. Bottom line, Smith said, they will be sergeants major responsible for leading troops.
The Aviation Branch is not consolidating any individual specialties, and the change will not affect promotion or assignment eligibility, said Master Sgt. David Wagner, the senior career adviser for the Aviation Branch.
"The most-asked question is whether the change means that aviation soldiers will become combat arms, and the answer is no," Wagner said. "Our pilots and the officers are considered combat arms, but enlisted soldiers will still be combat support."
Most of the realignment changes will take place fiscal year 2004 (which runs from 1 Oct 2003 to 30 Sep 2004), but the process will be staggered until FY09, said Randy Newman, chief of the Classification Structure Branch.
"The reason the reclassifications will take so long is because I only have a limited number of MOS codes to use," Newman said. "For example, medical specialists, CMF 91, will be moved to CMF 68. However, right now aviation is coded CMF 68."
Medical specialists will be among the last to get their new designators, but they were the first to announce how the realignment will "doctor" its field.
In October of 2001 combat medics, 91B, and licensed practical nurses, 91C, were combined and reclassified as health-care specialists, 91W. A six-year transformation began for the active-duty medic and an eight-year transition for the reservists.
The advanced individual training for health-care specialists located in San Antonio, Texas, was also extended to 16 weeks from the 12-week course.
"Our medics can now operate autonomously on diverse battlefields," said Lt. Col. Ron Hamilton, the chief of the Health Services Branch. "Based on a study that looked at how civilians in the medical field are trained and medics in Ranger battalions and in the Marine Corps and Air Force, we modified how our medics are trained and re-certified."
Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have said that the medics now have the right skill sets to sustain injured soldiers, Hamilton said. Training is now heavily focused on trauma, sustaining injuries and the use of digital diagnostic equipment, he added.