The Army is the only service where individuals must enlist first, before attending Officer Candidate School (OCS).
Under the Army's Enlistment Program 9D, applicants enlist with a guarantee of attending OCS, after completion of enlisted basic training. The program is spelled out in the Army Recruiting Regulation, Army Regulation 601-210, paragraph 9-10.
This program is available to qualified non-prior service (NPS) and prior service (PS) applicants enlisting for the minimum term of enlistment authorized by the Army enlistment computer system, known as REQUEST (usually it's a three or four year minimum enlistment obligation, depending on the current recruiting "needs of the Army").
Applicant must have received a baccalaureate or higher degree. Applicants in their senior year of a 4-year college program may be enlisted into the Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) contingent upon successful completion of a BA/BS. Army Reserve (USAR) OCS candidates do not require a BA/BS degree, but must have at least 90 semester hours toward a BA/BS. USAR Officers commissioned prior to degree completion must complete their baccalaureate degree prior to their consideration for promotion to Captain (O-3).
OCS applicants must have an Army ASVAB GT score of 110 or greater.
Under the 9D OCS enlistment program, NPS applicants are guaranteed enrollment in OCS, upon completion of basic training. PS applicants go directly to OCS, skipping basic.
Prerequisites (Must be Met Before Enlistment)
1. Meet the basic eligibility criteria for enlistment.
2. Possess documentary proof of a baccalaureate or higher degree from accredited college or university (NOTE: USAR applicants require 90 or more semester hours toward a BA/BS). Foreign transcripts must be evaluated according to 2–7f of Army Regulation 601-210. Applicants in their senior year of a college program leading to the award of a baccalaureate degree may be enlisted in the DEP if a letter or transcript is provided indicating the expected graduation date.
3. Be a U. S. Citizen.
4. Not have 10 or more years of active military service, nor will have more than 10 years active military service at time of commission.
5. Be at least 19 years of age and not have passed their 29th birth date at time of selection (waivers considered).
6. Meet medical standards prescribed for officer candidates according to Army Regulation 40–501.
7. Meet the weight (body fat) standards.
8. Posses a favorable National Agency Check (NAC). (Note: This is a computerized check of criminal history)
9. Not have ever held a commission in any branch or component of the armed forces. Exception: Former Warrant Officers are eligible to apply.
Enlistment for OCS
Army enlistment counselors at MEPS enlist applicants under this option through REQUEST Option 11: United States Army Officer Candidate School. This has the effect of reserving the slot. OCS selection boards will be conducted by the Recruiting Battalion. Usually, the applicant is enlisted in the DEP at this time, to await the decision of the OCS selection board. If the board does not accept the applicant, then he/she has the option of requesting a DEP discharge, or selecting an enlisted MOS (job), and continuing with their enlistment process.
Army OCS is conducted at Fort Benning, GA, and is 14 weeks long. Branches in which officers are trained vary according to the needs of the Army. These needs are greater in Combat Arms than in other branches.
Applicants complete an OCS preference statement, listing Army officer branches they would like to be assigned to. However, applicants must fully understand that the OCS preference statement does not make or imply a guarantee of commissioning branch, or that they will graduate from OCS.
Graduates normally are commissioned in one of the following branches: Infantry, Armor, Medical Service Corps, Signal, Engineers, Field Artillery, Transportation, Quartermaster, Finance, Chemical, Ordnance, Military Intelligence, Adjutant General, Military Police, and Air Defense Artillery. This list is subject to change without notice.
Training for OCS is designed to place the Soldier in and under physical, mental, and emotional pressure to simulate the stress and fatigue of combat. From the date of entry into the Army, the Soldier will undergo extensive and intense training until graduating from OCS.
OCS candidates are administratively promoted to the rank of Sergeant (E-5) while attending OCS. OCS candidates that are administratively eliminated or medically disqualified from OCS will be reduced in grade as determined by the Commandant, OCS.
Candidates who are administratively eliminated or medically disqualified from OCS are either discharged from the Army, or retained for the remainder of their enlistment obligation in enlisted status. This decision is not up to the individual, but rather the Army, and depends -- in large part -- on the "needs of the Army" and reason for failing to complete OCS.