Maj. Gabriel Zinni & Pfc. Robert England
2nd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, officers get chance to provide career advice
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — A team of Army officers from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., along with a civilian video crew, conducted interviews with selected officers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, April 20-21, at the 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, classroom, here.
The team’s goal was to capture on video different perspectives from BCT officers and gain their insight into ways the Army can update its strategy for managing its officer corps.
“Current policies, combined with the demands and operational tempo of warfare, don’t meet all the Army’s needs,” said Col. Jeffrey Peterson, director, Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis, or OEMA, in the Department of Social Sciences at the USMA.
OEMA’s mission is to analyze policies regarding personnel and devise strategies for improving them. Part of building a case for the need to update policies involves gathering information from units like 2BCT, on the eve of deployment, and identifying ways the policies have helped or hindered preparation for deployment.
“We wanted to get some feedback based on one brigade’s experience, get that message back to the senior leadership and let them know challenges brigades are facing as they prepare to deploy,” Peterson said.
The fact that the brigade is filling an advise and assist role, which requires special skills and talents to accomplish that mission, further highlights the need to update officer management policies.
“Our hypothesis is that current policies are not flexible enough to meet those demands of the brigade,” Peterson said.
Peterson and his team met with various commanders at battalion and company level within 2nd BCT as well as other staff officers of all ranks to get their perspective on how prepared they are for deployment, if they wish they had opportunities to develop their skills in a different way, and to uncover any other issues they may be facing with current manning policies.
“How selective is the Army being when placing officers in key developmental jobs?” asked Capt. Tony Smith, commander, Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment.
“The selection rate to major is around 95 percent, so it’s good the Army is evaluating its officer corps strategy,” Smith added.
A need exists to better balance and manage time for higher education, along with operational needs and being in positions of responsibility. Officers must have the ability to be critical thinkers, starting at the lowest ranks.
The research conducted will culminate in a conference, June 6-8, at the USMA where many of the Army’s senior leaders will discuss the framework for the new officer corps strategy.