PDA

View Full Version : Army needs more 1st lts. for Special Forces


BMT (RIP)
03-08-2014, 17:07
http://www.armytimes.com/article/20140308/CAREERS03/303080001/Army-needs-more-1st-lts-Special-Forces


BMT

The Reaper
03-08-2014, 18:28
Unusual.

Normally, we have a lot more applicants than we can take. We turn down a lot of quality applicants every year.

This is going to get worse, as the Army gets smaller.

TR

MtnGoat
03-08-2014, 18:43
I like to hear it from someone at SWC. I'm with you TR, we have a lot of officers dropping their packages "off."

PRB
03-08-2014, 18:46
Warrants can and will take up the slack on the ODA's but we need to grow Co/Bn/Gp Commanders from that young team experience.
Every Lt. position is just for seasoning whether in SF or a line Platoon...the only reason those slots exist is to grow Captains.

MR2
03-08-2014, 18:54
Warrants can and will take up the slack on the ODA's but we need to grow Co/Bn/Gp Commanders from that young team experience.
Every Lt. position is just for seasoning whether in SF or a line Platoon...the only reason those slots exist is to grow Captains.

Amen

The Reaper
03-08-2014, 19:21
Warrants can and will take up the slack on the ODA's but we need to grow Co/Bn/Gp Commanders from that young team experience.
Every Lt. position is just for seasoning whether in SF or a line Platoon...the only reason those slots exist is to grow Captains.

PB, just to clarify, they are recruiting 1LTs, and not CPTs, because by the time the officer completes the required training and is headed to a team, he will be a CPT.

They normally pick guys about 2.5 - 3 years into their career, and the promotion to O-3 is normally pretty soon after that.

The O's that make it through the screening process and get a slot to SFAS get one shot at Selection, and that is it. Not enough time to let them try again. The National Guard may be different on that.

Another possibility here is that they are actually short on CA and/or MISO officers, and are lumping all of the ARSOF requirements together.

TR

CSB
03-08-2014, 20:08
Since Special Forces is now a separate branch, when does the Army effect a branch transfer for the First Lieutenant? After SFAS selection? After graduation from the Q course and award of the Tab?
And if the 1LT does not complete the pipeline, I assume he reverts to his original branch (with or without ill effects on his career)?

PRB
03-08-2014, 20:13
Yeah, I get that....point still stands tho...in the line you need to grow Captains and there is no real other need for Lt.s at Platoon level except to grow them to assume that command.
Just like there is no real need for a Captain on an ODA...but we need to grow Co. Commanders and above.

the squid
03-11-2014, 16:03
Not SF, so I tread lightly.

This article seemed to be one of those "slow news day" articles written by the Army times. I'm a YG '10 AD officer and my year group window for SF closed around this time last year, so the YG 11 window for Officer applicants is rapidly approaching and Army Times decided to post an article about it.

Although I am no authority in your pipeline, gentlemen, with the current pin on for captain being YG+48, I would imagine that with SFAS, MCCC (if they still send them to the MCCC before the SFQC), and the SFQC, that would be more than enough time for any YG11 officer to pin Captain before he arrived at Group.

Back to my lane.

Astronomy
03-12-2014, 20:44
Back in the Pre-SF Branch days, there were advantages to having 1LT XOs on ODAs (no carry the generator jokes ;)). Take a guy who already had successful conventional Infantry PL time, send him to SFQC, slap him on a team for a year or so (as an LT), then (when he made Captain), minimum conventional Company CO time, then back to us as a Team Leader.

Well seasoned officers with troop time up to company level... and just enough previous experience as low man on an ODA to understand what they needed to do when they actually commanded one.

I wouldn't want to give up WOs as the XO, but it would be useful to have a very limited number of Combat Arms LTs assigned to a few ODAs per Bn. Perhaps as placeholders for teams temporarily without Warrants. A chance for a strong SF Captain and SF Master Sergeant to mentor that guy well.

Officer promotions are a carefully crafted grinding of sausage, but somehow, back in the late 70's and early 80's... we occasionally had Team Commanders who had managed to do all of the following before taking an ODA:

1. Conventional Platoon Command
2. Conventional Co XO
3. ODA XO
4. Conventional Co Command

Tango three
03-14-2014, 09:56
Yeah, I get that....point still stands tho...in the line you need to grow Captains and there is no real other need for Lt.s at Platoon level except to grow them to assume that command.
Just like there is no real need for a Captain on an ODA...but we need to grow Co. Commanders and above.

I am a little surprised to see this comment coming from a Command Sergeants Major nearly twenty years after the approval of the Officer SF Branch. Are we still thinking of Officers as visitors and intruders in the team rooms? Maybe I'm misinterpreting.
This is early in my posting time here, and I certainly have no desire to be contentious but this 60-70s way of thinking is disheartening and my comments are not meant disrespectfully.
However.....
When I showed up at my first platoon I realized I needed to prove myself to my PSG, Squad Leaders and Soldiers quickly. I did that by having jump wings and being wicked good with a map and compass and some good patrolling techniques. At the seven year mark, I showed up at our team (not my team) still wicked good with a map and compass but also with two overseas tours, a "technically and tactically proficient" Infantryman, all my schools and a bunch of leadership and staff time. What I also brought was a sense of urgency.
Officers, if they are lucky will be on team for 18 months, NCO's are there for decades. I think one of the best things Officers bring is the "lets do it NOW" to the NCO's "let's do it."

Last hard class
03-14-2014, 12:46
I am a little surprised to see this comment coming from a Command Sergeants Major nearly twenty years after the approval of the Officer SF Branch. Are we still thinking of Officers as visitors and intruders in the team rooms? Maybe I'm misinterpreting.
This is early in my posting time here, and I certainly have no desire to be contentious but this 60-70s way of thinking is disheartening and my comments are not meant disrespectfully.

Sir:
I understand many of the benefits of the Officer SF Branch. The benefits to the Officers careers and particularly to the command structure of the groups. I think it is fantastic that we are able to keep hard earned experience within the regiment. That experience positively filters back down to the ODA's in many forms.

That being said, I have two questions for you:

Why do you feel your ODA was better served with you rather than all the prior officers that served before there was an SF branch? Does the branch bring a better class of Officer? Remember, the O’s that went SF prior to the branch did so knowing it could seriously slow their career progression.

Do you think the TL job description changed dramatically with the advent of the SF branch?





LHC

exsquid
03-14-2014, 22:57
"Let's do it know." Guess what, you have 18-24 months to ride that pony as hard and as fast as you can, then you jump off and someone else jumps on and takes over. Well this pony has to go the long haul and has to set the pace because it is my ass you are riding.

x/S

ODoyle
03-15-2014, 07:30
Since Special Forces is now a separate branch, when does the Army effect a branch transfer for the First Lieutenant? After SFAS selection? After graduation from the Q course and award of the Tab?
And if the 1LT does not complete the pipeline, I assume he reverts to his original branch (with or without ill effects on his career)?

After SFAS before the Career Course officers are branch transferred, and yes failing the course reverts you back to your original branch (with or without ill effects.........).

Sinister
03-16-2014, 21:20
I and a few others I know very well are from Old School SF.

SF NCOs serve as a junior, then as a senior, and perhaps later as a Team Sergeant and maybe a Company Sergeant Major.

Warrants are assumed to be competent and have precisely what it takes to be an officer -- and unless there's malfeasance or deliberate misbehavior they're warrants forever.

Captain Detachment Commanders get one shot, then go on to other SF jobs, functional areas, or leave the service. They don't have the opportunity to develop and see both good and bad leadership examples on an ODA. They never serve as conventional company commanders to develop their leadership styles.

I spent my XO time as a company XO at SWC pushing Q-Course classes, then as the XO for the HALO Committee. One of my "Developmental" jobs while at the Committee was writing the 1988 edition of the HALO manual.

I commanded three SFODAs and an SF Company, was a forward SF battalion S3 and XO, then off to SMUs and joint SOF assignments and staffs. The pyramid narrows quickly and not every 18 with crossed arrows will command an SF battalion.

I commanded two separate non-SF battalions.

CDRODA396
03-17-2014, 04:46
"Let's do it know." Guess what, you have 18-24 months to ride that pony as hard and as fast as you can, then you jump off and someone else jumps on and takes over. Well this pony has to go the long haul and has to set the pace because it is my ass you are riding.

x/S

Current Team Sergeant Time = 24 months.

FlagDayNCO
03-17-2014, 11:03
When I was in, we had a couple of Green to Gold types. NCOs that became Officers and found themselves out of a job. There were no LT slots in the ODA or ODB, plus they had to go back and do the 18Alpha section of the Course.

One remained in limbo for an extended period of time, with the State creating a Detachment of Medical types to retain him. He was previously an 18D. When I ETS'd, he was still in with no date for going back to SWC.

The other wound up leaving and joining another State ARNG as an Infantry Officer.

I have been told that the Guard has had some serious house cleaning and life is much better, but I have others who tell me it is SSDD. Real Army is dying for Officers and NG can't make up it's mind what to do with what they have.

I think the NG not wanting to shove on the sacred cow has prevented some outstanding potential Officers to rethinkn their NG career.

Tango three
03-20-2014, 19:20
...That being said, I have two questions for you:

Why do you feel your ODA was better served with you rather than all the prior officers that served before there was an SF branch? Does the branch bring a better class of Officer? Remember, the O’s that went SF prior to the branch did so knowing it could seriously slow their career progression.

Do you think the TL job description changed dramatically with the advent of the SF branch?

LHC
As I mentioned in my post, I have no desire to appear contentious, however...
Question 1. I did not state that the teams I commander were better served by me then any of my predecessors.
Question 2. This is my opinion only, I think that Special Forces has always brought a better class of Soldier whether they be Officer or Non-Commissioned Office, so today the Officer candidates are probably neither better nor worse then the historic average.
Question 3. If the branch brings a better class of Officer NOW my opinion is that there are probably some outstanding Officers who are NOT applying because the smallness of the branch and the limited opportunities for future command opportunities; and that is probably causing some fine men to "stay home". I disagree that under the secondary system that SF was poorly served. For the individual -- he could return if he wanted (and was asked back) so the experience factor was preserved. In the event that his performance was not as good as we would like, he didn't have to be asked back. Now, well, he's not going anywhere. For the branch, we had at least nearly the same or greater a reserve of future commanders who continued to grow in their home branches (there is only so much an SF Captain or Major can do outside the Group or SWC when awaiting the hoped for command. Short answer? I liked the old system better.
Question 4. I don't know, I'd have to see the new job description.

Tango three
03-21-2014, 09:06
"Let's do it know." Guess what, you have 18-24 months to ride that pony as hard and as fast as you can, then you jump off and someone else jumps on and takes over. Well this pony has to go the long haul and has to set the pace because it is my ass you are riding.

x/SNot interpreted as I intended. And there was a considerable difference in the optempo now as the late 80's. Back then the demands were considerably different. An MTT was a blessing an out of state training exercise was a treat and heading out to the ranges and training areas (when you could get them) was a treat. Focus was making sure the 350-1 tasks for the quarter or year were completed, that the annual ammunition was expended by 30 SEP (31 AUG if you were smart) and doing the cross training and proficiency training (like land Nav). APFT and weight control. Yeah, there were times when the horse didn't want to leave the barn (and frankly the 'rider' didn't really want to saddle up).

So Team SGT and I did what we could to make it fun, rewarding, and interesting.

I hope that those days are not returning in the future. You might actually miss the hard runs your used to. Good luck.

Last hard class
03-22-2014, 19:01
Tango Three:

I appreciate the reply and the clarification. I will try for a little more clarity myself. My question has more to do with your perceived slight.

If, as an officer, you are not bringing more to the table than your predecessors, you don't stay on the team any longer than they did and the job description hasn't dramatically changed, then why would you expect a team of NCO'S to view your stay differently than they would before?

In other words, what has changed that makes an officer more critical at the team level now ( or when you served ) than in prior times? It was pointed out earlier that a TS time on team is now 24 months. But that is usually the culmination of many years team time. Not apples to apples in my opinion.

BTW: It is an open question. You just happened to be the one who pointed out the issue.



LHC

The Reaper
03-22-2014, 20:41
How can a Captain also command an Infantry Company of 150 men, most with more experience than him?

Should military leadership be based on tenure? Or by an election? By popularity?

What prevents an NCO from going to school to become an officer, if he really wants to be a commander?

TR

Tango three
03-24-2014, 12:10
(1)
If, as an officer, you are not bringing more to the table than your predecessors, you don't stay on the team any longer than they did and the job description hasn't dramatically changed, then why would you expect a team of NCO'S to view your stay differently than they would before?
(2)
In other words, what has changed that makes an officer more critical at the team level now ( or when you served ) than in prior times? It was pointed out earlier that a TS time on team is now 24 months. But that is usually the culmination of many years team time. Not apples to apples in my opinion.

BTW: It is an open question. You just happened to be the one who pointed out the issue.

LHC
(1) it appears from your question that Officers (often straight from the Q) are expected to pick up where their predesessor just completing 12-18 months of command left off. That is asking a lot, we certainly don't ask that of an NCO just coming out of the Course.
I do think Officers bring all that they learn and experience in the pipeline, most of which is what prepares the NCO's. The Officer track during MOS training has been tested and vetted to provide the skills he is expected to bring to the Team. Those skills were developed in house drawing on many sources to include the Groups and NCO's. And, unless things have changed dramatically, the Officers are still taught by NCO's.
Officers bring a different sense of responsibility. To continue your 'horse and rider' anology, the rider sometimes aplies the spur, more often there is the judicious application of bit and rein, curry comb and stable and just turning lose in a field.
Why should NCO's treat a new Commander with courtesy and respect? Well because they are NCO's first and first impressions are lasting impressions -- 12-18 months can be a successful time for everyone or it can be difficult.

(2) Can't say as I don't know what the new job description is, I'm a FOG.
But, no matter what the changes are the Team Commander is first and formost the direct representative of the Commander and has direct line of responsibility from the President. And when it all turns to shit, the Commander and the Commander alone "is personally responsible for everything the ODA accomplishes or fails to accomplishes. Period."
Try herding cats with that thought running through your mind:)

Last hard class
03-24-2014, 19:35
Tango Three:

I do not believe we are communicating on the same page. I suspect that is because I have misinterpreted your initial post on this thread. As I withdraw from the conversation I would like to add one thing so as not to be misconstrued:

I have the utmost respect for SF Officers in general and particularly the ones I had the privilege to work for directly. I certainly was not implying that they should be treated in any other way.


LHC

scooter
03-27-2014, 23:47
Current Team Sergeant Time = 24 months.

Not always. We have quite a few guys with more than 24 months right now. I got 46 before moving on.

Joker
03-28-2014, 06:03
Not always. We have quite a few guys with more than 24 months right now. I got 46 before moving on.

HOMESTEADER, you were hiding behind the rucksack before they caught you!:D
Great job. The teams always needs good leadership that is consistent and sticks around as long as they can.:lifter

Max_Tab
03-28-2014, 10:45
Lets be honest, CPT's are and always have been considered summer help. I've had good ones I'd follow anywhere, and ones you try to limit the damage they do.

I think it is bad that every officer with a tab only has 2 years team time. I've known a few who got lucky and went to a CIF after their team time so got about 48 months but that is the exception not the rule. There needs to be a way to give the good ones more team time. Use rater and sr rater comments with input from the guys on the team also.

You could only move on to command if you were on a tm for 4 years. If an officer didn't get selected to do the extra 2 yrs they would know their track would not lead to command so they can guide their careers how they need.

I don't know if that's the answer, but it just sits wrong that the people who shape our future, only have 18-24 months on what is supposed to be the tip of the spear.

Basenshukai
03-28-2014, 10:57
Yeah, I get that....point still stands tho...in the line you need to grow Captains and there is no real other need for Lt.s at Platoon level except to grow them to assume that command.
Just like there is no real need for a Captain on an ODA...but we need to grow Co. Commanders and above.

We get out what we put in.

If the professional culture of our units maintain, as a core belief, that there is no real need for commissioned officers in an ODA, then it is likely that the idea that they are a) part of the team, b) need proper upbringing, c) must be trained to a razor's edge in special operations, is also not heavily supported, or deemed important. This leads to not letting officers to attend specialized schools, for example, when they are young, and relatively new to SF, or not worrying to ensure that he is actually trained by his team. Then we complain when the battalion commander does not understand how to implement advanced special operations, snipers, etc.

This may also lead to certain officers growing up with a distrust of NCOs whom kept them at arms reach in an ODA. I've seen that a lot, in fact. I've come to know a handful of LTCs, and above, who grew to be very distrustful of ODAs as a default. From finding out about their background, nearly all fit that pattern as young officers.

I've been lucky. As an officer, I not only stayed in the same GRP all of my SF career, thus far, but I served as a TM LDR, company XO, and company commander, of the same SF company, before serving as BN XO, as well as a tour as a S-3 in AFG, for the same battalion. So, I knew the place well and got a lot of continuity of exposure to what I needed to know about SF. Most officers are not as lucky.

If this is so, then, we will continue to "create" and promote officers who do not really understand SF to begin with, or only know a very limited aspect of SF. These officers will then decide on the funding, and operational priorities of the very ODAs that they never really understood to begin with.

MR2
03-28-2014, 11:21
I've always thought that officers should come from the ranks. And not just in Special Forces. I was thrilled to see the 180 Warrant program started. But also concerned that there was less opportunity to train up the 1LTs at the time. I think things worked out.

I really like the 2+2 idea. Would use a peer review system with 50% of votes coming from the NCOs in the company-sized unit and 50% from the officers in the battalion-sized unit to decide if the OIQ shall continue forward along the SF Command track. The Branch could also make it easier for 18 Officers to revert to 18 series Warrant/NCO (use a similar peer review).

BTW, in Phase I our class leader was an active duty SSG who also held a Reserve Commission as a Major. We called him the Screamer. It sucks to be the class leader. I heard he got peered out in his Phase III but eventually made it to 10th @ Devens.

Max_Tab
03-28-2014, 13:00
We get out what we put in.

If the professional culture of our units maintain, as a core belief, that there is no real need for commissioned officers in an ODA, then it is likely that the idea that they are a) part of the team, b) need proper upbringing, c) must be trained to a razor's edge in special operations, is also not heavily supported, or deemed important. This leads to not letting officers to attend specialized schools, for example, when they are young, and relatively new to SF, or not worrying to ensure that he is actually trained by his team. Then we complain when the battalion commander does not understand how to implement advanced special operations, snipers, etc.

This may also lead to certain officers growing up with a distrust of NCOs whom kept them at arms reach in an ODA. I've seen that a lot, in fact. I've come to know a handful of LTCs, and above, who grew to be very distrustful of ODAs as a default. From finding out about their background, nearly all fit that pattern as young officers.

I've been lucky. As an officer, I not only stayed in the same GRP all of my SF career, thus far, but I served as a TM LDR, company XO, and company commander, of the same SF company, before serving as BN XO, as well as a tour as a S-3 in AFG, for the same battalion. So, I knew the place well and got a lot of continuity of exposure to what I needed to know about SF. Most officers are not as lucky.

If this is so, then, we will continue to "create" and promote officers who do not really understand SF to begin with, or only know a very limited aspect of SF. These officers will then decide on the funding, and operational priorities of the very ODAs that they never really understood to begin with.

I used to think like that. Why waist a specialty school slot on "summer help"? But after being an instructor in the mountain course I have rethought my position. We need officers to go through those schools, because if they have no knowledge or experience with it, then why would they care about your training when they become CO and BN CDR's. We need to get the knowledge and experience in young O's preferable early in their tm time.

Basenshukai
03-29-2014, 15:35
I used to think like that. Why waist a specialty school slot on "summer help"? But after being an instructor in the mountain course I have rethought my position. We need officers to go through those schools, because if they have no knowledge or experience with it, then why would they care about your training when they become CO and BN CDR's. We need to get the knowledge and experience in young O's preferable early in their tm time.

Yep.

The SEALs do much better at this than we do, and they are kicking our behinds in the joint environment because their officers are well-rounded thoroughbreds by the time they get there. They may not understand UW, but, they know about being SEALs and they are fanatic about it.

They do have the advantage that they get to groom their young officers from the time they enter the service, which means that in SF, our NCOs have a harder task at hand. But, I do believe that our SF NCOs are much better trainers than any other SOF counterpart and are totally capable of imparting a tremendously valuable education to us officers as we come up in the ranks.

But, to take the easy way out and simply assume that it is not important, or it's too much trouble for the summer help, means that no SF NCO should ever then complain about having a sub-standard company, battalion, or group commander.

Like I stated earlier, we get out what we get in.

Of course, there is always the 10% that will not be trained. But, that's another thread. ;)

Max_Tab
03-29-2014, 15:54
Yep.

But, to take the easy way out and simply assume that it is not important, or it's too much trouble for the summer help, means that no SF NCO should ever then complain about having a sub-standard company, battalion, or group commander.

Like I stated earlier, we get out what we get in.

Of course, there is always the 10% that will not be trained. But, that's another thread. ;)

I agree, and sad that I learned this valuable lesson and insight so late in my career.

Hopefully it can be taught to the next generation, earlier than I learned it.

saab
03-29-2014, 21:27
SF branch was here at Bragg a couple of months ago and laid out the manning picture for all the year groups, to include the folks that were currently in the Q course. Branch is showing 150 to 220 % strengths in the younger (all Cpt) and middle (all Maj) year groups. They then when on to inform folks that had made SFAS (officers) that they would NOT be attending the Q Course because of the over-strength issues. These folks are going to be returned to their original branches (and what kind of assignments do you think they're going to be getting for being 'disloyal' to their old branches- and worse what do you think the effect will be on recruting).

As far as the comments about was SF Branch needed for officers. Before it was a branch alot of the 'O's that were coming over weren't cutting it in their branches. They were hopping to get a good OER and go back to where they came from and hopefully survive the next promotion board. We were getting some great officers back then but not many. By making it a branch good folks were able to come in stay and compete for promotions and we ended up with afew good GOs.

My question is why did we need a branch for enlisted? Before 11B3S's and the other MOSs competed with the entire Army for E-7 so promtions were rapid. A couple years after we got the branch you had to go out kill a dozen MF's to free up a few slots to get some promoted. And worse it was alot hard to get someone out of SF. Before you just called up Ms Palmer and told her to move the slug's file back to the conventional side of the house.

sustainthefight
03-31-2014, 17:34
I am not sure that I follow the logic in regards to your comment on SF Branch strength. (Over strength by 150 to 220 percent is not only high; but it is also a pretty large numerical spread) For Officers, the Special Forces Branch is able to control recruitment, selection, and retention in a way that no conventional branch is able to. Why would they allow year groups to swell up to that high of a level in the first place? Furthermore, why would they select that large a number of Officers only to cut them before the start of the Q-Course? Why not cut them during SFAS? I'm sure that is the more cost effective route because then there is no need to pay for non-airborne qualified O's to attend jump school, etc....

I'm not trying to say that what you are not relaying the correct information but, it just does not seem to make a whole lot of sense.

Astronomy
04-01-2014, 13:05
I suspect the previously authorized O-3/O-4 over strength represents a hell of a lot of wartime staff and liaison billets. Folks assigned to various CF HQs, Joint/Combined Task Forces, Advisory elements, FORSCOM/TRADOC shops, FORCEMOD efforts, etc.

As current events wind down, those slots (and some organizations) are evaporating.

We've all seen it. There are so many wartime demands for SOF LNOs and staff augmentees, that operational units can barely man MTOE leader positions on the ground.

Basenshukai
04-02-2014, 10:08
I suspect the previously authorized O-3/O-4 over strength represents a hell of a lot of wartime staff and liaison billets. Folks assigned to various CF HQs, Joint/Combined Task Forces, Advisory elements, FORSCOM/TRADOC shops, FORCEMOD efforts, etc.

As current events wind down, those slots (and some organizations) are evaporating.

We've all seen it. There are so many wartime demands for SOF LNOs and staff augmentees, that operational units can barely man MTOE leader positions on the ground.

This appears to be the case. HQs grew out over the place during the last 12 years.

Tango three
04-03-2014, 11:05
Does anyone have a nice recipe for roasted 18A, maybe a nice coq a vin?
Or do we still just eat our young raw?

Kasik
05-24-2014, 20:17
World goes 'round in circles.

When I came to Group the XOs were LTs.

Then the Warrant program kicked into gear replacing, as we were told, the XO LT with a Warrant.

Apparently it's come back full circle where LTs are wanted/needed.

IMHO, whether warrant or commissioned a good XO is worth his weight in gold as long as he's got the right mindset.