1. Careers

Your suggestion is on its way!

An email with a link to:


was emailed to:

Thanks for sharing About.com with others!

Army Commissioned Officer Career Information
Lieutenant colonel development
 More of this Feature
• Officer Information
• Guard/Reserve Officer Info

 Join the Discussion
Visit Our Military Message Board
 Related Resources
• Officer Job Descriptions
• Joining the Military
• Army ROTC
• Army OCS
• West Point

a. This phase generally occurs between the 17th and 22d years of service. Those selected for promotion to lieutenant colonel now begin the senior field grade years, where they make the maximum contribution to the Army as commanders and senior staff officers. Attaining the grade of lieutenant colonel is considered to be the hallmark of a successful career. Officers in the grade of lieutenant colonel serve as senior leaders and managers throughout the Army providing wisdom, experience, vision and mentorship mastered over many years in uniform. It is an exceedingly proud accomplishment to wear the silver oak leafs of a lieutenant colonel.

b. The career development goals for a lieutenant colonel are to gain branch, functional area and skill proficiency at the senior levels through assignments and schooling. Most officers will serve in high visibility billets in either their branch or functional area, with a possible assignment to a branch/functional area generalist position.

(1) Branch assignments. Many officers can expect branch coded assignments within the TOE environment. These billets can range from positions within a battalion through echelons above corps (EAC). However, the TDA structure requires the greater portion (almost 70 percent) of the senior field grade expertise and experience. Here, the officer’s development over the years is used to fulfill the doctrinal, instructional, policy making and planning needs of the Army. Normally, lieutenant colonel branch qualification con­sists of at least 12 months in a branch coded position. About 40 percent of any cohort can expect selection for battalion command at lieutenant colonel, and approximately 30 to 35 percent will go to Senior Service College.

(2) Functional area assignments. OPMS XXI recognizes the need for increased specialization to meet the Army’s challenges in the 21st Century. The system design allows officers to serve in repetitive assignments within a functional area to gain a high degree of expertise. Functional area proponents have outlined qualification and other developmental standards in their respective chapters of this pamphlet.

(3) Joint duty assignments. The JDAL contains approximately 1350 lieutenant colonel authorizations and officers will continue to have the opportunity for assignment to joint duty positions as an integral part of their development. See paragraph 3-6 for additional details on the joint officer program.

(4) Branch/functional area generalist assignments. Some officers will serve outside their branch or functional area in billets coded as branch/functional area generalist. Such assignments are found throughout the Army in troop and staff organizations from the installation to Pentagon level.

(5) Centralized command selection. A centralized board a t HQDA selects a limited number of officers for command from the Operations Career Field. The lieutenant colonel Command Selection List (CSL), which contains both TOE and TDA commands, has three categories. The first consists of tactical units at divisional, corps and echelons above corps levels. This tactical category also includes MACOM assets directly involved in combat operations. The second category is training and strategic support, which consists of MACOM assets not directly involved in combat operations. The third category, institutional, is composed of garrison and USAREC commands. The Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) conducts a similar HQDA level board to select lieutenant colonel commanders and product managers (PM). Only certified AAC officers can compete for these positions. The command board meets annually to select commanders from the eligible cohort year groups. These officers usually assume command within the next fiscal year, and most serve in those command positions for two years. Approximately two in five eligible officers will command battalions. Majors in promotable status as well as lieutenant colonels are eligible for consideration until their 21st year of Active Federal Commissioned Service. Com­mand opportunity varies based on force structure and the command categories for which an officer competes. On average, lieutenant colonels serve in their command tours during their 18th through 20th years of service. Once the board makes its selections and conducts a preliminary slating for category , OPMD assignment branches conduct a slating process. PERSCOM coordinates this slating process with the major Army commands; and the Chief of Staff, Army, reviews and approves the slate.

(6) Senior Service College (SSC). The annual SSC (military edu­cation level 1 (MEL 1)) selection board reviews the files of lieuten­ant colonels after their 16th year of service. The SSC is the final major military educational program available to prepare officers for the positions of greatest responsibility in the Department of De­fense. There are about 350 resident seats available each academic year within the SSC network. These include attendance at the Army War College (AWC), the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), the National War College (NWC), other Service colleges and resident fellowships at governmental agencies and academic institutions. Approximately 30 to 35 percent of a cohort year group are selected to attend during their years of eligibility which runs between the 16th and 23d years of service. The SSC selection board examines the eligible population and produces an order of merit list containing 1,300 names. The top 350 officers are activated for resident attendance while the remainder are contacted by their branch or functional area managers and encouraged to apply for the 150 active duty annual seats in the U.S. Army War College Dis­tance Education Course. Only the resident SSC courses and nonresi­dent Army War College course award MEL 1 upon completion. SSC graduates are assigned to organizations based on guidance from the Chief of Staff, Army. Tours following graduation are to the Army Staff (ARSTAF), Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Secretary of Defense (SECDEF), the numbered armies in the continental United States (CONUSA), major Army command (MACOM), and com­mander-in-chief (CINC) staffs in branch, functional area, branch/ functional area generalist or joint coded positions.

c. Cohort year group officers are normally considered for promo­tion to colonel in the primary zone in their 21st year of service. Below-the-zone selection is possible, and officers will only be con­sidered once prior to their primary zone consideration. DOPMA objective selection rate for promotion to colonel is 50 percent.

Return to Officer Career Information Menu

Above information derived from Army Pamplet 600-3

Subscribe to the Newsletter

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.