Army Officer Assignments

BY ANDREW KELLY In April’s President’s Views column “Building the Deep Bench,” Ambassador Barbara Stephenson brought up the challenge that surging demand for consular adjudicators poses to the career development of entry-level officers.With increasing frequency, non-consular coned officers are being called on to serve consecutive assignments out of cone.The important role a consular tour plays in the last two points is of particular importance given our Service’s dearth of lengthy professional training.However, in the same way that some Army officers think the branch detail program exists because infantrymen make better intelligence officers, some in the Foreign Service consider the consular requirement a policy that was adopted because it makes for better officers in the other cones.However, different branches have different entry-level staffing requirements.For example, the infantry requires a high proportion of lieutenants to more senior officers, a situation that is reversed in the military intelligence branch.There is an obvious parallel between the view that the combat arms are central to the Army’s mission and that consular work lies at the heart of ours.

More importantly, a new mid-level officer ought to be able to perform at the mid-level.This may often prove true, but the underlying thinking is specious.Both programs were developed to address a staffing challenge and not primarily as a professional development tool.It is important to note that branch details almost always involve detailing an officer from a combat support branch into one of the three combat arms (infantry, armor, field artillery) and almost never the reverse.This system manages to address structural staffing imbalances without negatively affecting the career prospects of Army officers who spend their first three years “out-of-cone.” That it is able to do so is primarily due to the Army’s more regimented training and assignments process.Every year the Army commissions more than 5,000 second lieutenants.As in our own Service, those officers are assigned to a specific “branch” in which most will spend their entire career.My first impression of the way the Foreign Service assigns entry-level officers (ELOs) to vice-consul positions was that it was similar to the Army program of branch detailing junior officers.I have since learned that while there are many similarities, there are also important differences..pass_color_to_child_links a.u-inline.u-margin-left--xs.u-margin-right--sm.u-padding-left--xs.u-padding-right--xs.u-relative.u-absolute.u-absolute--center.u-width--100.u-flex-inline.u-flex-align-self--center.u-flex-justify--between.u-serif-font-main--regular.js-wf-loaded .u-serif-font-main--regular.amp-page .u-serif-font-main--regular.u-border-radius--ellipse.u-hover-bg--black-transparent.web_page .u-hover-bg--black-transparent:hover. Content Header .feed_item_answer_user.js-wf-loaded .

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