When you join the U.S. Army you will work with other committed Soldiers as an Enlisted Soldier, Warrant Officer or Commissioned Officer. Together you will help protect America’s freedoms and preserve peace. Each category has its own specialized training, responsibilities and areas of expertise. They are all critical pieces to the Army’s ability to defend our country, freedoms and way of life.
Two Choices – One Army
In today’s changing global climate it takes a tiered force of highly trained, committed Soldiers to protect our freedoms and defend democracy. This force consists of Active Duty Soldiers and Soldiers in the Army Reserve. These two groups work in together to create the strongest fighting force in the world.
Active Duty – Serving Full Time
Active Duty is similar to working at a full-time, civilian job. There are hours when Soldiers are training or performing their jobs and then there are off-hours when Soldiers can do what they like. For an Active Duty Soldier, length of service can range from two to six years.
Army Reserve – Serving Part Time
The Army Reserve is like a part-time job that enables Soldiers to keep their civilian careers while continuing to train near home. In the Army Reserve one weekend a month is typically spent training, and there is a two-week Field Training Exercise (FTX) once a year. Army Reserve Soldiers may be called up to Active Duty (mobilization). Service durations will range from one to six years, depending on the soldier’s job in the Army and where their Army Reserve Center is located.
Enlisted Soldiers work with Officers to achieve mission success even in the harshest of conditions. While Officers give orders, Enlisted Soldiers are encouraged to show initiative in order to get the job done.
Warrant Officers are highly specialized experts and trainers in their career fields. By gaining progressive levels of expertise and leadership, these leaders provide valuable guidance to commanders and organizations in their specialty. Warrant Officers remain single-specialty Officers whose career track is oriented toward progressing within their career field rather than focusing on increased levels of command and staff duty positions, like their Commissioned-Officer counterparts.
Commissioned Officers are the leaders of the Army and direct Soldiers throughout missions. They make decisions quickly, always focusing on completing the mission successfully, and showing respect for their subordinates. To be a Commissioned Officer is to be respected as a Soldier, an inspiring leader and a servant of the nation.In addition to exhibiting self-discipline, initiative, confidence and intelligence, Commissioned Officers are physically fit and can perform under physical and mental pressures. They are judged by their ability to make decisions on their own and bear ultimate moral responsibility for those decisions.
ROTC provides college students the ability to train to become Army Officers. Cadets take a curriculum of elective leadership and military courses that allow them to be ahead when becoming enlisted soldiers. Among the many other benefits to planning ahead and joining ROTC you have the opportunity to compete for up to $80,000 in scholarships.
Officer Candidate School (OCS)
Another way to become an Officer in the Army is to attend Officer Candidate School (OCS). After completing Basic Combat Training, candidates participate in rigorous training for 14 weeks and then attend the Officer Basic Course.
United States Military Academy at West Point
West Point is one of the country’s top universities. It’s a competitive environment that produces some of the nation’s best leaders. Many graduates of West Point become leaders in the military, in government and in the civilian world.
Direct Commission Officer
Each professional branch of the Army including: Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, the Army Chaplain Corps, and the Army Medical Corps have their own officer training program. These programs allow civilians with professional degrees to apply to receive a direct commission in their career field. Training time for direct commission officers varies depending on the career field and generally includes courses in military history, Army leadership, and career-specific courses designed to adapt civilian skills to Army practices.
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