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Originally published in the July-September 2012 edition of Special Warfare
Army implements new career retention programs
The Army is implementing new programs to improve noncommissioned grade/military-occupational specialty readiness levels, retain NCOs with the greatest potential for future contributions and support viable career paths for all MOSs and grades. MILPER Message 12-089 announced the inclusion of the Qualitative Service Program into the FY12 Sergeant Major Training and Selection Board. The MILPER also expands the Qualitative Management Program applicability to all SFCs and above with a minimum of 19 years active federal service. This will also incorporate the enlisted Over-Strength Qualitative Service Program and the Promotion Stagnation Qualitative Service Program Board for consideration of possible DA involuntary separation from active duty.
Sergeant Major nominative and personnel coding
The Army G1 has recently approved a request initiated by the Office of the Sergeant Major of the Army to revise the Command Sergeant Major/Sergeant Major nominative position and personnel coding conventions, Revision of the Command Sergeant Major (CSM) and Staff Sergeant Major (SGM) Nominative Position and Personnel Coding Convention. The actions transfer all nominative SGM positions and personnel to MOS 00Z (retitled to sergeant major nominative) and revises the following:
A. Professional Development Proficiency Code to limit utilization/positions and personnel associated with the following;
1. ASI 8C/BG level CSM
B. PDPC to limit utilization/positions and personnel associated with principal NCO adviser/senior staff NCO with the following:
1. ASI 8S/BG level CSM
Implementation for these revisions will be FY13 for active component and FY15 for reserve component. Details will be announced and reflected in DA PAM 611-21, Smartbook.
Sergeants First Class board set
Sergeants first class need to ensure that supporting documents and enlisted records are up to date, reviewed and validated for the October 2012 DA Centralized Master Sergeant Promotion Board. The active component master sergeant/Qualitative Service Program is scheduled to convene on Oct. 18. All documents for consideration by the board must be received at Army Human Resources Command no later than Sept. 14. Specific information concerning eligibility, procedures for nomination, declination and requirements will be outlined in an upcoming MILPER message.
Advanced Civil Schooling for Special Forces warrant officers
There are myriad options for lifelong learning and obtaining an advanced degree while serving as an SF warrant officer. Several options worthy of your consideration include:
• Self study on your own time (tuition assistance/GI Bill)
• ILE/SAMS (Fully Funded)
• Naval Post Graduate School (Fully Funded)
• National Defense University FBNC (Fully Funded)
• National Intelligence College (Fully Funded)
• Norwich University (Fully Funded)
The primary requirements for these educational opportunities are: completion of a bachelor’s degree program, support from the first O6 in your chain of command and promotion potential.
These focused degree programs provide a win-win opportunity for the Soldier and the Army. At a time when the Army is downsizing, higher education will also keep Soldiers competitive for promotion when combined with superior performance. ACS opportunities come with a 3:1 ADSO that begins upon completion of the course. In most situations, returning to an affiliated SF group after graduation from a master’s program is very likely and some positions within the groups will count as a utilization tour.
For more information contact the USAJFKSWCS Special Warfare Education Group, or visit the AKO SF Branch Page at: https://www.us.army.mil/suite/page/666441
Broadening Opportunity Programs for officers
Every fiscal year, the Army offers the opportunity for the officer corps to apply for Broadening Opportunity Programs, formerly Non-MEL IV Fellowships, Scholarships and Internships. These programs offer a wide range of graduate degrees, some of which require utilization commencing upon graduation. They range in duration from 12-60 months. Majors through lieutenant colonels are encouraged to read the MILPER messages for each of the identified programs to determine their interest and eligibility. Officers should not exclude themselves from these opportunities for lack of knowledge or a belief that they are not competitive. ARSOF competes very well for all of these programs. The application window for this year is closed. Officers should consult their assignment’s officer to plan for the next cycle.
BOPs that offer graduate degrees:
• Arroyo Center Fellowship (MILPER 11-362)
• Congressional Fellowship (MILPER 11-363)
• General Wayne A. Downing Scholarship (MILPER 11-364)
• Joint Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army Staff Intern Program (MILPER 11-366)
• Olmsted Scholarship (MILPER 11-367)
• Strategic Education and Development Program (MILPER 11-369)
• Army Cyber Command Scholarship Program (MILPER 11-365)
BOPs that DO NOT offer graduate degrees:
• Regional Fellowship Program –LTC-level (MILPER 11-368)
• White House Fellowship (MILPER 11-295)
• Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA-SCFP)
BOP Website: https://www.hrc.army.mil/OFFICER/Broadening%20Opportunity%20Programs
School of Advanced Military Studies
The Advanced Military Studies Program at SAMS is a great professional opportunity for field-grade officers whether their next assignment is Intermediate Level Education, are enrolled in ILE or are coming out of a key and developmental assignment. The regiments have a priority on utilizing and building SAMS capability within the SOF community.
SAMS confers a master’s degree in military art and science upon graduation. It is a one-year program that focuses on military leadership, conceptual and detailed planning, critical thinking and staff support to decision making at the operational level. For more information about SAMS, visit the Special Forces Branch website (regardless of your branch) at https://www.hrc.army.mil/site/protect/branches/officer/MFE/SpecialForces/MAJs-Assignments-Officer.htm
1. Pre-ILE Selection - Selection for AMSP prior to attending ILE at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., is similar to the Post-KD Field Nomination, with the same application requirements. If accepted, officers will serve a two year tour at Fort Leavenworth (ILE and AMSP).
2. Apply while attending ILE (including sister-service ILE schools, Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and foreign staff colleges). Officers applying during ILE can do so in two windows, corresponding with the two AMSP classes: Applications to Class-01 occur in September-October each year, while applications to Class-02 occur in February-March each year. Announcement of application periods and requirements are made by MILPER message, posted to the SAMS website and disseminated through Command and General Staff College. Each officer must coordinate with his HRC branch before applying to AMSP.
3. Post-Key and Developmental (KD) Qualification Field Nomination. Officers applying from the field who are Post-KD-qualified, are eligible and must complete all AMSP selection requirements, including examination and submission of a supervisor assessment and recommendation from a lieutenant colonel or colonel-level supervisor, using the supervisor evaluation form from the SAMS website.
All officers who graduate from AMSP owe an AMSP utilization tour. ARSOF officers will be utilized in accordance with manning priorities and the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School’s AMSP Program Management Policy.
If you have any questions about SAMS and the AMSP program, contact LTC Eric Walker, the SOF adviser to SAMS, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 913-758-3289.
ARSOF Captain’s Career Course
Beginning in October, the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School, in conjunction with the School of Advanced Leadership and Tactics, will conduct a pilot course of the Captain’s Career Course Common Core. Upon successful completion and accreditation of the pilot, SWCS will conduct Phase 1 (common core) and Phase 2 (branch technical/tactical qualification course) for future Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces officers, with SWCS gaining recognition as a fully accredited institution for awarding Military Education Level F (MEL F) credit.
Notes from iPERMS on OMPF documents
1. iPERMS files all unit awards authorized for permanent wear in Soldiers commendatory section of their performance folder.
2. iPERMS does not restrict or mask enlisted courses that can be taken as an officer (Airborne, Air Assault, etc.).
3. Course completion certificates are authorized even if there is a DA Form 1059 in the Soldier’s record for that same course.
4. Certificates of achievement are authorized awards and won’t be moved to the restricted file, masked or deleted.
5. The correct procedure for handling erroneous orders is for the S1 or G1 to produce an amendment or revocation order so that it can be added to the Soldier’s performance folder. iPERMS cannot restrict or delete orders unless they are an exact duplicate or directed by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records.
Human Resources Command Points of Contact
|Branch Chief||(502) 613-5700|
|Branch SGM||(502) 613-5699|
|CMF 18 Senior Career Advisor||(502) 613-5691|
|CMF 18 PDNCO||(502) 613-5684|
|CMF 37F PDNCO||(502) 613-5693|
|CMF 38B PDNCO||(502) 613-5698|
|75th Ranger Rgmt LNO||(502) 613-5685|
|AGR Senior Career Manager CMF 18/37/38||(502) 613-5702|
|AGR Career Manager CMF 18/37/38||(502) 613-5694 and -5695|
Civil Affairs Officer Branch:
|CA Branch Chief||(502) 613-6184|
|CA Field Grade||(502) 613-6135|
|CA Captains||(502) 613-6143|
|USAR Assignments||(502) 613-6136|
|USAR Assignments||(502) 613-6013|
|HR Active Technician||(502) 613-6137|
|HR USAR Technician||(502) 613-6101|
Psychological Operations Officer Branch:
|PO Branch Chief|
|PO Field Grade||(502) 613-6133|
|PO Captains||(502) 613-6148|
|USAR Assignments||(502) 613-6136|
|USAR Assignments||(502) 613-6013|
|HR Active Technician||(502) 613-6137|
|HR USAR Technician||(502) 613-6101|
Special Forces Officer Branch:
|SF Branch Chief||(502) 613-6122|
|SF LTCs||(502) 613-6124|
|SF Majors||(502) 613-6123|
|SF Captains / Junior Majors||(502) 613-6126|
|SF Warrant Officers||(502) 613-6128|
|SF Accessions and Training||(502) 613-6127|
|Accession Tech||(502) 613-6131|
|Company Grade Tech||(502) 613-6132|
|Field Grade Tech||(502) 613-6125|
Each year, more than 800 officers from throughout the Army compete to join the Civil Affairs, Psychological Operations and Special Forces regiments, collectively known as Army Special Operations Forces. The first step for these officers is selection by the ARSOF Officer Accession Board, which is conducted by the Department of the Army Secretariat of the Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky. In spite of more than a decade of continual conflict, ARSOF remains extremely popular among junior officers, which makes the selections process very competitive. The Directorate of Human Resources at the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School oversees the selection process.
The rigorous accession process begins with the submission of a comprehensive application packet to the Special Operations Recruiting Battalion by interested officers. The SORB stands ready to assist all interested officers with the process, which includes a thorough physical exam, the Defense Language Aptitude Battery, an Army Physical Fitness Test and security-clearance review. The SORB ensures each officer meets the prerequisites, including attendance at assessment and selection and attendance at requisite qualification courses within the approved officer-career timeline. Once the SORB has completed its work, the packet is sent to HRC for review and input into the Army Selection Board System.
Each April, the ARSOF Board convenes at HRC. The ARSOF board is conducted to the same high standards of all Army selection boards, ensuring the integrity and fairness of the process to each candidate. The center of gravity for the board is its membership. The board is comprised by senior leaders from throughout the Army special-operations community. For the FY12 board, membership consisted of a colonel, who served as president of the board, three lieutenant colonels (one from each of the ARSOF branches), a chief warrant officer 5 and a command sergeant major. This cross-section of leaders from within all three ARSOF branches provides the best possible review of an officer’s potential for service in special operations.
The board members review each applicant’s file, which consists of the DA photo, officer record brief, officer evaluation reports, college transcripts, Army physical-fitness test scorecard and a resume. The resume provides insight into the individual’s character and an initial view of the level of which they possess the ARSOF attributes. In the resume, the officer has an opportunity to indicate their preference in regards to which regiment they wish to serve. The resume also outlines the experiences and accomplishments the officers views as the most significant of their career. The resume also allows the officer to explain to the board, in their own words, why they want to serve in Army special operations.
At the close of each board, officers are rated on an order-of-merit list, from which the requirements for each branch are filled. Several officers will get their second or possibly even their third choice depending on their preferences and where they fall in the OML. Contrary to popular belief, the board does not force an officer into a branch in which they have not requested to serve.
Following the placement by OML, officers will either receive a letter of acceptance or rejection. The acceptance letter is only the first step in the journey to becoming an ARSOF officer.
The ARSOF community can take pride in knowing the next generation of SOF officers is identified by today’s SOF leaders, who use the highest standards of board conduct.
Accession to CA, PO or SF Branches
Officers interested in the Army Special Operations Forces branches often have little information about the ARSOF-board process, eligibility windows and what they can do before entering the application window. The following is a listing of some of the common questions:
I want to apply to CA, PO or SF, but my branch is fenced off from applying, what can I do?
No branch is fenced off from applying to the ARSOF board. Any officer from any branch in the eligibility window can submit a packet to the SORB.
I want to apply to CA, PO or SF, but my battalion commander told me to wait until after I have completed company/battery command because that is what his friend did when he was a captain.
There is only one window to apply for an ARSOF branch. Officers have to apply while they are first lieutenants.
Do I need a letter of recommendation for my application packet?
There is no requirement for officers to submit letters of recommendation. The application process is also anonymous to prevent a potential bias against officers desiring to become ARSOF. Once the board results are released, all officers, selected and non-selected, will be contacted via email from their branch of choice.
Can I make another deployment and apply to the ARSOF Board next year, as an out-of-year group officer?
How do I begin the process of becoming an ARSOF officer?
This is the most common question, and every assignment officer knows to direct the officer to the SORB. If the officer does not have a SORB recruiter at his location or on his base, the SORB website (www.bragg.army.mil/sorb) provides information needed for an application packet and will provide contact information to a recruiter in their region.
I saw the ARSOF Board Announcement MILPER, and I am not eligible for another year, what can I do to get ready?
Contact the SORB, they will begin the process with you. Officers should take the Defense Language Aptitude Battery and have the score updated on their ORB (the minimum score required is 85). Officers who fail to achieve the minimum of 85 must reschedule the test. Officers who already know a language and who have a proficiency of 1/1 or higher, should schedule a Defense Language Proficiency Test. The test must be taken within a year of the projected ARSOF Board.
Do I need a DA photo for the ARSOF Board?
Yes! Deployed officers can request a waiver for the DA photo, but they must submit a photo in lieu of the DA Photo to complete their packet.
Additional ARSOF recruiting information and local Special Operations Recruitng Battalion contact information can be found online at: www.bragg.army.mil/sorb