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Army Commissioned Officer Career Information
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Officer Basic Course (OBC). Upon commissioning, an officer is assigned a career branch in which the emphasis for training and development during the officer’s first 7 to 8 years of active duty occurs. Graduates of all commissioning sources receive training in their assigned or detailed branch at an OBC immediately after com­missioning. The OBC prepares newly commissioned officers for their first duty assignments with instruction on methods for training individuals, teams, squads and platoons. In addition, the course includes sufficient instruction to provide officers with an under-standing of the environment of the company, battery or troop in­cluding tactics, organization and administration. Officers receive training on most lieutenant common and branch tasks in the OBC. There is no active duty service obligation for OBC attendance.

Branch detail program. Upon commissioning, selected lieuten­ants branched Signal, Quartermaster, Ordnance, Transportation and Finance are detailed to a combat arms branch for 2 years. Selected Military Intelligence and Adjutant General officers are detailed for 4 years. Lieutenants under the branch detail program attend the OBC and participate in branch specific training for the branch to which they are detailed. On completing the 2-year detail, officers attend a 4-week branch transition course before they return to their designated branch. Officers in the 4-year program receive transition branch training in conjunction with their enrollment in the Captains Career Course. All officers continue to participate in branch specific training once they are reassigned back to their designated branches.

Captains Career Course. The branch Captains Career Course prepares company grade officers to command and train at the com­pany, battery or troop level and to serve as staff officers at battalion and brigade levels. There is a 1-year active duty service obligation for attendance at a branch Captains Career Course. The course is divided into two phases.

(1) The first phase provides advanced branch training and common core instruction. The branch specific courses provide selected company grade officers an opportunity to acquire the skills and attributes required to lead company-sized units and serve on battal­ion and brigade staffs. This instruction prepares students to:

(a) Establish and maintain a disciplined command climate.

(b) Execute the unit’s assigned missions.

(c) Command, control, lead, supervise, discipline, train, develop and mentor subordinate leaders and care for subordinates and their families.

(d) Develop the unit’s Mission Essential Task List (METL) and training plan.

(e) Schedule, resource, supervise, execute and evaluate unit and sub-unit individual and collective training.

(f) Plan, supervise and evaluate unit leader training and development, and personnel, administration, supply, maintenance, safety and security actions.

(g) Plan, supervise, and evaluate the safe use, maintenance, security, storage and accountability of unit material.

(h) Administer the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) at the company level.

(i) Advise the battalion commander and staff on the status of company, platoon and squad-level training, equipment, and person­nel readiness.

(2) The second phase provides staff process training. It uses battalion, brigade, division and installation scenarios to train officers to serve on battalion and brigade level staffs. It develops officers to function effectively as staff officers by improving their abilities to analyze and solve military problems, communicate, interact as staff members, and broaden their understanding of Army operations, organizations and procedures. This course is unique in that it provides an officer’s first integrated instruction with officers from different branches of the Army. The phase provides the skills necessary for success in Army, joint and multinational environments.

Command and Staff College (CSC).

(1) The mission of the Command and General Staff Officer Course (CGSOC) at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (CGSC) is to educate selected officers in the conduct of military operations during war and conditions other than war in accordance with established doctrine and with emphasis at the corps and division levels. Graduates of this course:

(a) Display tactical and technical combined arms proficiency.

(b) Understand joint and multinational operations.

(c) Prepare, fight and sustain forces across the spectrum of conflict.

(d) Apply the perspectives of military history.

(e) Embody the principles, attitudes and values of military leadership.

(f) Solve complex problems systematically and under pressure.

(g) Understand the role of the military in a free society.

(h) Communicate effectively in writing and orally and electronically.

(i) Confidently accept higher levels of responsibility.

(2) To be eligible for selection to attend a Command and Staff College (CSC), officers must be promotable captains or higher and have less than 14 years of Active Federal Commissioned Service (AFCS) as of the date the selection board convenes. Additionally, officers must have graduated from or have credit for completing a branch Captains Career Course.

(3) The majority of officers selected for CSC attend the CGSOC at the US. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. However, some officers attend the Navy, Marine, or Air Command and Staff Colleges, the U.S. Army School of the Americas, or a foreign school that has been granted MEL 4 equiv­alency. School selections result from a comparative appraisal of all eligible officers, including a careful review of these elements: the scope and variety of tasks performed and how well performed, the degree or level of responsibility, the trend of efficiency up or down, intelligence and independent judgment in implementing decisions, and an estimate of potential. All selections are made by a HQDA Selection Board, based on a determination of who is best qualified. Branch, functional area and year group requirements are met during the selection process. The selection board determines only those who may attend a CSC in residence at U.S. or foreign schools; OPMD determines the college of attendance. The selection board selects and slates officers for attendance at foreign schools. Attend­ance at resident CSC-level schooling incurs a 2-year active duty service obligation.

(4) Officers not selected for resident CSC attendance are encour­aged to complete their MEL 4 military education by enrolling in and completing the nonresident CGSOC administered by the Directorate of Nonresident Studies of the US. Army Command and General Staff College. Achieving a MEL 4 status (either resident or nonresi­dent) is essential in order to remain competitive for selection to lieutenant colonel.

(5) The Advanced Military Studies Program (AMSP) is a year-long resident course taught by the School of Advanced Military Studies (SAMS) at the US Army Command and General Staff College. The purpose of the AMSP is to provide the Army and the other Services with specially educated officers for command and general staff positions at tactical and operational echelons. Gradu­ates of AMSP possess a mature, professional character and are dedicated to continued service. The program provides its graduates an advanced education in the military arts and sciences focused at the operational level. Additionally, the program provides training in the practical skills needed to plan and conduct battles, major opera­tions and campaigns and in adapting doctrine and techniques to the changing realities of war. Applicants must be MEL 4 qualified or resident students in CGSOC or sister Service resident programs. There are 52 (45 Army, 7 other Service) students selected for attendance each year. Applications are accepted by the Director, SAMS, from August through October of each year.

Senior Service Colleges (SSCs).

(1) The Senior Service Colleges (SSCs) are at the apex of the military schools system and award MEL 1 credit. SSCs prepare officers for senior command and staff positions within the Army and DOD. These colleges include the Army War College, the National War College (NWC), the Industrial College of the Armed Forces (ICAF), the Naval War College, the Air War College, the Inter-American Defense College (IADC), other accredited international senior military service colleges, or any one of approximately 20 civilian and military fellowship programs.

(2) Each year the Army sends six or seven senior service college selectees to the Advanced Operational Art Studies Fellowship (AOASF) at the Army Command and General Staff College’s School for Advanced Military Studies to be trained for subsequent assignment as theater level planners. The Air Force and Navy De­partments send one officer each to provide a joint perspective to the student body. Allied officers are also enrolled to provide a multina­tional perspective. Army and Marine Corps officers stay at SAMS for two years; Air Force, Navy and allied officers only one. AOASF focuses on the skills and knowledge required for campaign planning in and between theaters of war across the entire spectrum of conflict.

(a) The focus of the first academic year is on planning and operations at the theater strategic level at unified, component and joint task force level headquarters. Students follow a rigorous set curriculum, with emphasis on national security strategy, military theory, strategic studies, military history and campaign planning.

(b) Second year Fellows serve as seminar leaders for the SAMS Advanced Military Studies Program (AMSP) seminars, coordinate operational level Exercise Prairie Warrior planning, and perform other duties such as the revision of FM 100-5. Upon completion of the fellowship, Fellows are normally assigned to multinational, joint and component staff positions associated with operational level planning.

(3) Officers who have completed 16 years AFCS, have credit for MEL 4 schooling, do not have more than 23 years AFCS as of 1 October of the year of entry into the college, and are serving as lieutenant colonels or colonels as of the board’s convening date are eligible to attend an SSC. Officers are selected by the annual Army SSC Selection Board on the basis of who is best qualified. Branch and functional area floors, based on Army requirements, are consid­ered during the SSC selection process. There is a 2-year active duty service obligation for attendance at resident MEL 1 schooling.

(4) The U.S. Army War College Distance Education Course provides an alternate means of attaining MEL 1 schooling. Eligible officers who apply are compared against the most current promotion list to colonel and most current SSC Selection Board Order of Merit List (approximately 1,300 names) to determine the final slate. AR 351-1 describes the details of the selection and application processes. The course is the only nonresident program that results in the awarding of MEL 1 upon completion. Once officers have en-rolled in the correspondence course, they are no longer eligible for resident SSC attendance.

(5) Only resident attendance at SSCs or completion of the US. Army War College Distance Education Course awards MEL 1 credit.

Joint Professional Military Education (JPME).

(1) The JPME program is a Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) approved body of principles and conditions that prescribe, at both the CSC and SSC levels, the educational requirements for Joint Specialty officer nomination. The Command and Staff Colleges and Senior Service Colleges encompass only one phase (Phase I) of JPME. The Armed Forces Staff College (AFSC) conducts the final phase (Phase II) of the JPME program for those officers who have attended resident CSC or SSC schooling. The NWC and the ICAF curricu­lums encompass the entire JPME program.

(2) The JPME program prepares field grade officers to work effectively with other members of the Armed Forces and other Federal agencies and s designed to accomplish the following objectives:

(a) Provide officers a broad base of joint professional knowledge.

(b) Develop officers whose professional backgrounds and military education improve the operational excellence of joint military forces throughout the spectrum of war.

(c) Improve the quality of military strategic thought.

(d) Develop officers skilled in attaining unity of effort across Service, agency and national lines.

(3) Eligibility requirements for attendance at NWC and ICAF are outlined in paragraph 4-6e.

(4) The majority of officers attending NWC and ICAF can expect to have follow-on joint assignments. (By law, at least 50 percent of officers graduating from these schools must receive a joint assignment as either their first or second assignment after graduation.)

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Above information derived from Army Pamplet 600-3

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