FA officer manning SITREP.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
In light of the annual Fire Support Seminar, Field Artillery (FA) Branch at Human Resources The fancy word for "people." The human resources department within an organization, years ago known as the "personnel department," manages the administrative aspects of the employees. Command (HRC HRC Human Rights Campaign
HRC Human Rights Council (UN)
HRC Human Rights Commission
HRC Hard Rock Cafe
HRC Hillary Rodham Clinton (democratic senator/presidential candidate; former first lady) ), Alexandria, Virginia Alexandria is an independent city in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 128,284. Located along the Western bank of the Potomac River, Alexandria is approximately 6 miles (9.6 kilometers) south of downtown Washington, DC. , is providing this "situation report" (SITREP SITREP Situation Report ) from our "foxhole" on the state of our officer corps and a sense for the trends and perceptions from the field. In many ways, this has been a good year for FA. Exceptional accessions from US Military Academy (USMA USMA United States Military Academy
USMA United States Martial Arts Association
USMA U.S. Metric Association, Inc.
USMA United States Maritime Administration ), Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) and Officer Candidate School (OCS OCS - Object Compatibility Standard ) and a leveling off of attrition at all ranks increased our manning strength. Battalion command opportunities are strong, and selection rates remain extraordinarily high through colonel. Additionally, HRC has been successful in providing more opportunities for officers to serve in broadening assignments and more choices in assignments overall.
Despite these positive trends, challenges remain. Our inventory of officers, particularly at the captain and major grades, continues to be significantly less than our authorizations and requirements. This continues to strain our generating force; Training and Doctrine Command, combat training centers (CTCs), active Army, Reserve Component and other organizations across the Army that train and prepare our officers to serve.
These challenges are not unique to FA, nor are they fleeting; they will be with us for the foreseeable future. Upcoming changes and reorganizations in Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom will put additional strain on the force in the short term, but should provide some relief in the long run to help bring us back into balance.
During the past year, HRC informally kept track of trends and perceptions from the field to share with senior leaders and to help us improve our tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) as assignment officers. FA Branch managers' mission is to meet Army requirements and serve Redleg officers. We take that mission seriously and continuously adapt to demands of the Army's and officers' needs.
This article is an update from each HRC officer assignment desk to inform the Fire Support Seminar attendees and add to the dialogue.
Warrant Officer (WO) Assignments. FA WOs are the fastest growing and most diverse group of officers in the Field Artillery. They are the most frequently deployed FA officers, and they continually perform at an extremely high level of proficiency. There are roughly 400 WOs in FA, and the demands for their abilities are being solicited across all echelons of the Army and unconventional forces. Lately, HRC has received questions about the assignment process, unit strength, career progression and operational tempo (OPTEMPO OPTEMPO Operating/Operations Tempo ).
HRC looks at each officer's assignment request individually. It considers the needs of the Army, availability, career development and officer preference. No two requests are the same. The FA warrant assignment desk currently is faced with a difficult challenge.
The FA WO corps is under-strength. It is at 75 percent of its authorized strength, including deployed units. HRC has been directed to maintain this unit-fill percentage across the force. Therefore, when an officer is reassigned, we must ensure that the prospective unit does not drop below 75 percent.
Occasionally, units are above that percentage because of stop-loss/stop-move, life-cycle management, dwell time The time cargo remains in a terminal's in-transit storage area while awaiting shipment by clearance transportation. See also storage. , the exceptional family member program (EFMP EFMP Exceptional Family Member Program
EFMP Enlisted Force Management Plan
EFMP Ethernet in the First Mile - Passive ) and time-on-station. At times this becomes a one-for-one swap, trying to match ranks, experiences, professional development and time available to move. HRC continues to work with the officer to meet the Army requirement and the officer's needs.
Lately, our officers have been faced with inhibited career progression due to modularity, having no senior FA leader oversight at division level and because brigades are deploying independently. Our officers are caught between changes-of-command and units with quick redeployment re·de·ploy
tr.v. re·de·ployed, re·de·ploy·ing, re·de·ploys
1. To move (military forces) from one combat zone to another.
2. timelines. To mitigate this, HRC continuously engages with brigade combat team The brigade combat team (BCT) is the basic deployable unit of maneuver in the US Army. A brigade combat team consists of one combat arms branched maneuver brigade, and its attached support and fire units. (BCT BCT Brigade Combat Team
BCT Basic Combat Training
BCT Best Conventional Pollutant Control Technology (EPA)
BCT Business Cards Tomorrow
BCT Banque Centrale de Tunisie (Central Bank of Tunisia) ) commanders to allow these officers to move up to divisions and corps to get the professional development they need. With constant communication, it is beginning to succeed.
OPTEMPO is on the minds of our officers. To minimize the stress of back-to-back deployments, HRC uses temporary duty assignments to allow officers to regain some stabilization and rebuild some solidity so·lid·i·ty
1. The condition or property of being solid.
2. Soundness of mind, moral character, or finances.
Noun 1. within their families.
Overall, the perception from the field is good. HRC keeps the lines of communication "Lines of Communication" is an episode from the fourth season of the science-fiction television series Babylon 5. Synopsis
Franklin and Marcus attempt to persuade the Mars resistance to assist Sheridan in opposing President Clark. open and receives effective feedback, while distributing relevant information in a timely matter. HRC strives to place the right officer into the right position at the right time.
Lieutenants. The newly accessed lieutenants are smart, energetic and very intelligent. Each one brings his unique ideas and experiences to the Branch and the Army to make a difference in the War on Terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act (WOT). HRC provides information to the lieutenant population concerning anything from, "when will assignment and orders be released" to "what classes will I attend?" to "where will I live while attending BOLC BOLC Basic Officer Leader Course ?" Feedback from the field continues to be positive from the officers and their leaders.
Lieutenants attend Basic Officer Leader Course (BOLC). BOLC consists of three phases. Phase I, conducted by the commissioning sources (USMA, ROTC and OCS), provides supporting skills--knowledge that gives the lieutenants a foundation. Phase II, is taught at Fort Sill Fort Sill, U.S. military reservation, Comanche co., SW Okla., 4 mi (6.4 km) N of Lawton; est. 1869 by Gen. Philip Sheridan. A 95,000-acre (38,445-hectare) field artillery and missile base, it is the home of the U.S. Army Artillery and Missile Center. , Oklahoma, and Fort Benning Fort Benning, U.S. army post, 189,000 acres (76,500 hectares), W Ga., S of Columbus; est. 1918. One of the largest army posts in the United States, it is the nation's largest infantry training center and the home of the Army Infantry School. , Georgia. All lieutenants attend this six-to-seven week course that teaches leadership development--much of this course is conducted in the field environment. Phase III Noun 1. phase III - a large clinical trial of a treatment or drug that in phase I and phase II has been shown to be efficacious with tolerable side effects; after successful conclusion of these clinical trials it will receive formal approval from the FDA is a 15-week training course that teaches the tactical and technical training at the branch schools (Infantry at Fort Benning, FA at Fort Sill). Some lieutenants attend a two-week Assignment Orientation Training (AOT AOT Agency of Transportation (Vermont, USA)
AOT Assisted Outpatient Treatment
AOT Aerosol Optical Thickness
AOT All of Them (band)
AOT As Opposed To
AOT Among Other Things ) Course focused on the type of their assigned unit.
Additionally, lieutenants have the opportunity to attend Airborne and Ranger schools en-route to their assignments. A Pre-Ranger Program at Fort Sill has helped improve the number of lieutenants who compete and graduate from the intensive eight-week Ranger course. OCS graduates also have the opportunity to attend a university to complete their bachelor's degrees under the Army Degree Completion Program (DCP DCP - definitional constraint programming ) for a period of 12 months to 18 months.
Lieutenants are accessed into the Army as regular Army officers for three to four years for ROTC and OCS graduates and five years for USMA graduates. Second lieutenants are promoted to first lieutenants at 18 months time-in-grade. Junior and senior lieutenants are eligible for the captain Army Competitive-Category Promotion Board based upon their first lieutenant dates of rank.
Junior Captains. This past winter, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army directed HRC to get more officers to Professional Military Education (PME PME Petites et Moyennes Entreprises
PME Professional Military Education
PME Pequenas e Médias Empresas (Portugal)
PME Petite et Moyenne Entreprise
PME Psychology of Mathematics Education
PME Pi Mu Epsilon ) and sooner, especially to the Captain's Career Course (CCC CCC
A very speculative grade assigned to a debt obligation by a rating agency. Such a rating indicates default or considerable doubt that interest will be paid or principal repaid. Also called Caa. ). During the past seven years, many officers' career progression has been disrupted due to the OPTEMPO associated with WOT. This policy change will reduce the back-log of officers who need to attend CCC and will balance the population of company-grade officers within units better. Additionally, it provides predictability to junior officers and their leaders.
HRC mandated FA Branch to slate junior captains and promotable first lieutenants for CCC attendance within 180 days of their redeployment dates. This affords officers a 90-day stabilization period stabilization period
The time elapsing between the offering of a security issue for sale and its final distribution, during which the underwriter enters the secondary market in order to stabilize the price of the security. before a permanent change of station (PCS (1) (Personal Communications Services) Refers to wireless services that emerged after the U.S. government auctioned commercial licenses in 1994 and 1995. This radio spectrum in the 1. ). Additionally, it allows officers to PCS during a unit's Reset period so that back-fills can arrive (in this case, CCC graduates) before the unit's next deployment.
Feedback from junior officers and their leader in the field reveals several concerns. FA battalion commanders are concerned that their young officers are not being afforded the opportunity to serve in multiple developmental assignments as lieutenants. This is a valid concern that units must mitigate by disciplined officer management at the battalion and brigade levels.
Holding officers in order to "keep them on the team" causes several problems. First, statistics show that junior officers who deploy more than once with the same unit before attending CCC have a higher attrition rate Noun 1. attrition rate - the rate of shrinkage in size or number
rate of attrition
rate - a magnitude or frequency relative to a time unit; "they traveled at a rate of 55 miles per hour"; "the rate of change was faster than expected"
. Secondly, these officers are promoted to captain, yet remain in traditional lieutenant billets (platoon leaders, company fire support officers [FSOs], etc.). Finally, a delay in CCC attendance limits the number of post-career course, key developmental jobs they can serve in, which directly affects their chances of being promoted below-the-zone to major.
The other concern stemming from early placement in FACCC FACCC Faculty Association of California Community Colleges
FACCC Field Artillery Captains Career Course (US Army)
FACCC Florida Association of Court Clerks and Comptrollers comes from junior captains, themselves. Many feel that they will be unprepared to command at the battery level or perform as battalion FSOs due to a lack of experience on the gun line or as company FSOs.
The Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill has developed several initiatives to mitigate these concerns. The FACCC has been expanded to six months and now includes a Reset phase that focuses on the weapon system that officers will serve on after graduation. Additionally, there are numerous schooling opportunities now available to FACCC graduates: Ranger, Airborne, Pathfinder, Joint Firepower Control, Joint Fires Fires produced during the employment of forces from two or more components in coordinated action toward a common objective. See also fires. Observer, Electronic Warfare Noun 1. electronic warfare - military action involving the use of electromagnetic energy to determine or exploit or reduce or prevent hostile use of the electromagnetic spectrum
military action, action - a military engagement; "he saw action in Korea" , Fire Support Coordinator, Survival/ Evasion/Resistance/Escape and Joint Fires and Effects courses.
These courses, when combined with the five-week gunnery program of instruction (POI), the two-week Reset POI and the four-month small group POI, effectively serve to "re-Red" FA officers on their core-competency tasks. Initial feedback from students and instructors at Fort Sill validated the effectiveness of this training. Competent officers are arriving at their follow-on duty stations confident that they will be able to serve successfully in any billet assigned.
Senior Captains. In the many emails HRC receives, the field's perception is that post-command FA captains want an assignment that provides an opportunity to get off of the line and reconnect with family and other personal goals--essentially their first chance in a career that is approaching the 10-year mark. Although it is clear that the pace of current operations is taxing, these professionals are overwhelmingly positive and show a mature understanding of the "big picture" and the challenges that the Army faces.
Some of the negative feedback stems from officers not getting assignments of their choice. Competitive fellowships/ scholarships and other nominative nominative (nŏm`ĭnətĭv), [Lat.,=naming], in Latin grammar, the case usually employed for the noun that is the subject of the sentence. programs represent a multitude of ways for an officer to take ownership of their post-command assignment (beyond what HRC could normally offer). Opportunities such as Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS JCS
Joint Chiefs of Staff
JCS (US) n abbr (= Joint Chiefs of Staff) → Stabschefs pl ) Internship internship /in·tern·ship/ (in´tern-ship) the position or term of service of an intern in a hospital.
n the course work or practicum conducted in a professional dental clinic. , Congressional Fellow, Olmstead Scholar, Downing Scholar and USMA instructor/tactical officer assignments offer superb broadening experiences and are ways to expand upon the options that HRC has available.
The good news story continues to be the quality of senior FA captains across the Army. As evidence, FA had two captains selected as JCS Interns for fiscal year 2009 (FY09), one selected as a Congressional Fellow for FY10, two competing at the final level for the Olmstead scholarship and many selected as professors and tactical officers at USMA. In addition, FA has begun to fill battalion FSO (Free Space Optics) Transmitting optical signals through the air using infrared lasers. Also known as "wireless optics," FSO provides point-to-point and point-to-multipoint transmission at very high speeds without requiring a government license for use of the spectrum. positions at all 16 Special Forces battalions at the behest of US Army Special Operations Command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. commanders. In general, as HRC reassigns senior captains across the force, BCT (and higher) commanders routinely fight to retain Artillerymen for second commands--often commands traditionally reserved for maneuver branches. The quality of the 13-series senior captain is a well-known, rare commodity.
Majors. The current FA major population roughly consists of 750 Redlegs from across the force. Daily interaction with these officers provided HRC with candid feedback regarding past, current and future assignments. HRC also confirms or denies rumors about the assignment process and current trends and opportunities reference Intermediate Level Education (ILE Ile, river, Kazakhstan: see Ili.
See RPGLE. ) attendance and key developmental time.
Many officers are concerned about their career timelines and when they will attend ILE. Field Artillery Branch's goal is to have 100 percent of every year-group either ILE-complete or at least enrolled in the course before their primary zones of consideration for lieutenant colonel. ILE attendance is not determined by cohort year group, and there is no back-log for officers to attend ILE. The current OPTEMPO drives attendance to ILE.
For an officer to be "available," the officer must not be stop-move/stop-loss restricted, deployed or have less than 12 months time on station. If the officer is available, then he can be considered for attendance based on current manning guidance and the needs of the Army.
A typical class for FA consists of the entire spectrum of eligible year-groups. Officers have the option of attending ILE at Fort Leavenworth Fort Leavenworth (lĕv`ənwûrth'), U.S. military post, 6,000 acres (2,430 hectares), on the Missouri River, NE Kans., NW of Leavenworth; est. 1827 by Col. Henry Leavenworth to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The oldest U.S. , Kansas, a foreign or sister service ILE or the blended learning Blended Learning is the combination of multiple approaches to learning. Blended learning can be accomplished through the use of 'blended' virtual and physical resources. A typical example of this would be a combination of technology-based materials and face-to-face sessions used course at multiple satellite campuses. Fort Leavenworth conducts two separate courses for ILE, one with a start date of August and graduation in June and the second course starting in February and graduating in December.
A Military Personnel (MILPER MILPER Military Personnel ) message is released each year that addresses current policies and rules for competing for the foreign and sister service school opportunities. The blended learning course can be completed as a temporary duty (TDY TDY
temporary duty ) and return or a TDY en-route. The course allows the officer to complete the common core curriculum while TDY, and then the officer must complete the final phase (Army Operating Warfighting Course) via correspondence.
FA Branch will continue to slate officers based on current officer availability. Officers should contact their assignment officer approximately 10-12 months before their desired attendance dates to ensure proper coordination.
Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA-PAM DA-PAM Department of the Army Pamphlet ) 600-3 is the Army publication that governs key and developmental time for FA officers. Questions always exist about "hard" versus "soft" key developmental time; those terms are not used or identified in DA-PAM 600-3. Per the current DA-PAM for FA majors, key developmental assignments consist of brigade/battalion executive officer and S3 positions, and deputy or assistant fire support coordinator at the brigade level or higher headquarters.
Most FA officers will have a mix of developmental assignments that will be different from their peers. Some officers may have multiple key developmental assignments and some, possibly, may have none. In either case, a hard working and dedicated officer will find career success and make a significant contribution to the success of FA. FA Branch will continue to assign officers to positions that afford them the opportunity to be assigned by the chain of command into key and developmental positions.
Lieutenant Colonels. Managing a little more than 420 FA lieutenant colonels, HRC routinely discusses assignments, promotion boards, school boards and numerous other topics. Lately, HRC has received both positive and negative feedback from FA lieutenant colonels, focusing on stability from the OPTEMPO and the assignment process.
Stability from the OPTEMPO. Numerous officers have been or are about to go on world-wide assignments that usually result in a deployment. After having deployed multiple times, many FA lieutenant colonels are ready to stabilize the family. The perception from the field is that lieutenant colonels cannot be stabilized in one location greater than 24 months. This is untrue.
Officers who have high school senior aged children, low dwell time and numerous other variables can submit a Department of the Army 4187 requesting to extend for 12 additional months. FA Branch decides on a case-by-case basis whether or not to approve the extension request. Most of the recent disapprovals were a result of surging requirements within FA Branch or the individual's lack of a world-wide assignment/deployment.
PCS Options and Locations. Most calls are from officers who are ready to move to their next assignment, but are frustrated with limited options/locations (division fire support positions, WOT requirements, Korea, etc.). Most of these officers have a "wish-list," and it does not sync with the assignments on the FA Branch Web site.
Unfortunately, FA Branch does not create the requirements on the Web site. We have an internal process for distributing assignments that is based on the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA (1) (Canadian Standards Association, Toronto, Ontario, www.csa.ca) A standards-defining organization founded in 1919. It is involved in many industries, including electronics, communications and information technology. ) guidance, driven by the HRC Distribution Division personnel. They prioritize all of the Army's needs and distribute them to each branch within HRC.
The officers who are less frustrated contacted FA Branch nine to 12 months out to work their follow-on assignment. This is important as it gives both the FA officer and assignment officer an opportunity to explore and plan all options realistically. Some of these officers planned early enough to compete for and get accepted to selection boards, such as professor of military science, fellowships and other nominative assignments.
The good news story continues to be the endurance of the senior lieutenant colonels within FA Branch. In times of multiple deployments and numerous PCS moves, our FA lieutenant colonels are finding ways to overcome adversity. Although we have seen high numbers of FA lieutenant colonels retiring at 20 years, we also are seeing a number withdraw their retirement packets to continue to serve in critical FA billets.
The Way Ahead. Communication, early and often, has been and remains the single best TTP TTP (thymidine triphosphate): see thymine. for managing Army requirements, officer educational and developmental needs, and officers' preferences for assignments. FA faces significant challenges in the short term, but we at FA Branch are encouraged by the overall morale, quality and professionalism of the Field Artillery officer corps.
CW4 Dorian K. Brunson; Mary Patrick; Majors Joshua R. Richardson, Julian T. Urquidez, John J. Montgomery, Kevin R. Taylor and Robert Wright Robert Wright is the name of:
Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Gould, Field Artillery (FA), is the Field Artillery Branch chief and leads the Officer Personnel Management Directorate-Field Artillery Branch team at Human Resources Command, Alexandria, Virginia. The team consists of Chief Warrant Officer Four Dorian K. Brunson, FA Branch Warrant Officer Assignment Manager; Mary Patrick, FA Branch Lieutenant Assignment Manager; Major Josh R. Richardson, FA Branch Senior Captain Assignment Manager; Major Julian t. Urquidez, FA Branch Future Readiness Officer; Major Kevin R. Taylor, FA Branch Junior Captain Post-Career Course Assignment Manager; Major John J. Montgomery FA Branch Junior Captain Pre-Career Course Assignment Manager; Major Robert Wright, FA Branch Major Assignment Manager; and Lieutenant Colonel Andrew C. Gainey, FA Branch Lieutenant Colonel Assignment Manager.