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Army Commissioned Officer Career Information
Colonel development
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Those officers selected for promotion to colonel continue their senior field grade phase which concludes with their separation or retirement from active duty or selection for promotion to brigadier general. Attaining the grade of colonel is realized by a select few and truly constitutes the elite of the officer corps. As colonels, their maximum contribution to the Army is made as commanders and senior staff officers.

The general career development goals for colonels are to further enhance branch or functional area skill proficiency through additional senior level assignments and schooling. Colonels in the Operations Career Field will serve in high level staff positions while alternating between branch and branch/functional area generalist billets. Colonels in the other three Career Fields will serve primarily in their functional area with limited opportunity to serve in branch/functional area generalist billets.

(1) Branch assignments. Many colonels can expect to receive assignments to branch coded positions at the brigade, division, corps and echelons above corps in the TOE environment. TDA organiza­tions throughout the Army also need the expertise of senior field grade officers. Almost 70 percent of the colonel authorizations are in the TDA structure.

(2) Functional area assignments. Under OPMS XXI, functional area officers work predominantly in their specialties after selection for promotion to major. Having risen above their peers at the grade of major and lieutenant colonel, those promoted to colonel are truly the world class specialists in their respective fields. These officers will serve primarily in senior managerial billets across the Army coded for their specialty.

(3) Branch/functional area generalist assignments. For those serving in the Operations Career Field these positions provide the opportunity for seasoned officers to serve in a wide variety of positions throughout the Department of Defense community. Al­though the majority of functional area colonels will serve in hard coded functional area positions based on the needs of the Army, officers from all Career Fields will fill these generalist assignment positions.

(4) Joint duty assignment. The Joint Duty Assignment List (JDAL) contains approximately 620 colonel billets in branch and functional area positions. Officers who did not serve as majors or lieutenant colonels in the JDAL should continue to seek joint development. Colonels who completed the requirements for JSO status, may serve second and third tours in positions coded joint critical.

(5) Senior Service College (SSC). The annual SSC selection board reviews the files of colonels until their 23d year of service. The majority of colonels will either attend the resident training or be awarded MEL 1 certification from the U.S. Army War College Distance Education Course during the latter three years of their eligibility window.

(6) Centralized command selection. Some officers in the Opera­tions Career Field are selected for command at the colonel level. The colonel level Command Selection List (CSL) includes four categories of TOE and TDA organizations for which officers are centrally selected by a HQDA board to command in a given fiscal year. Three of the categories are the same as those for lieutenant colonel; the fourth is TRADOC System Manager. Most positions are branch coded and branch officers compete within designated categories for these positions. AAC program managers are also selected by a HQDA level board. Officers are eligible for colonel command selection until their 26th year of service. HQDA com­mand boards meet annually to select promotable lieutenant colonels and serving colonels for assignment to command positions during the following fiscal year. The average tour length is 2 years and is based on the eligible cohort year groups and the number of com­mand vacancies. Garrison command tour lengths are 24 months but can be extended to 36 months. About one in three officers can reasonably expect to be selected for command. The opportunity varies by branch and ranges from 50 percent to 16 percent. The command board prepares a slate to category and an initial slate to units. The final slate to unit is prepared by OPMD. Slates are approved by the Chief of Staff, Army, and are coordinated with the MACOMs. The majority of officers in a cohort year group do not command; they make their maximum contribution to the Army in other important branch or functional area senior staff assignments.

(7) Former brigade commander assignments. Colonels complet­ing brigade command are assigned to positions designated by the Chief of Staff, Army, as requiring the skills of former commanders. These post-command assignments may be to branch, branch/func­tional area generalist assignments or joint coded positions. Emphasis is placed on joint duty assignments for those officers without a joint qualifying tour.

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Above information derived from Army Pamplet 600-3

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