View Full Version : New US Army Officer training

11-28-2005, 10:22 PM
Wasn't sure this belonged here, but it's about Education, so...


Two Posts to Support BOLC II
Army News Service | November 25, 2005
WASHINGTON - The Army will transition from the pilot phase of the Basic Officer Leader Course to full implementation in June 2006, senior officials said recently.

BOLC is part of a comprehensive initiative to transform the Officer Education System, which includes officers in the active and reserve components, along with selected special branch officers. Officers will attend BOLC as their initial-entry training.

Sounds like the Army has decided that what works for the troops, is a good idea for the officers...

BOLC has three phases and is designed to ensure a tough, standardized, small-unit leadership experience that flows progressively from each phase. BOLC’s Phase I is the pre-commissioning phase. BOLC I includes training conducted at the U.S. Military Academy, Reserve Officer Training Corps and officer candidate schools. USMA, ROTC and the OCSs are revising their curricula to train basic Soldier and leader tasks performed by all lieutenants regardless of the commissioning source.

After lieutenants are commissioned, they go to BOLC II, the initial-entry field-leadership phase. BOLC II is a rigorous seven-week, branch-immaterial course in small-unit leadership and tactics designed to challenge officers physically and mentally. Fort Benning and Fort Sill will host this phase.

Immediately following BOLC II, officers will go to BOLC III, the branch technical phase, to learn the specialized skills, doctrine, tactics and techniques of their assigned branch. Since BOLC III is branch-specific, these courses are taught at the appropriate TRADOC schoolhouse or training center and range from six to 15 weeks. The old style of training at the schools/centers is being revamped to make greater use of experimental training to enhance the quality and effectiveness of the branch-specific course.

12-02-2005, 06:32 PM

The big debate among Army officers is not whether we should implement the BOLC system, but who should be involved with it. Infantry officers for instance already spend three months at IOBC and the majority of them go straight from there to Ranger school. That is five months of training already(that is if they make it through Ranger school as a first time go it could easily turn into 6 or 7 months) At what point do we say that experience is as important as good training. As a former infantry platoon leader I can say that I didn't know anything till after I went to Iraq with my platoon. For alot of combat arms officers BOLC can be repetitive and tedious. I think maybe a short BOLC phase before OBC would be good but at what point are you chnaging the career progression of that officer and making it so that captains and Majors have less experience as far as real line time than their predecessors. It is not what school you go to that counts it is how you perform in combat and no instructor is better than that platoon SGT that young officer will get when he takes over his first platoon. To deny that I think would be a mistake.
I would say that for non-combat arms officers a solid basis in small unit tactics would be beneficial and maybe that would be a good option for them. But we need our Jr combat arms officers in the field where their real training begins.


12-06-2005, 08:42 PM
You're closer to this than I, as a retired senior NCO. But I think the real goal here is to improve the training of non combat-arms officers--when you have Finance and QM officers leading patrols, it would seem like a good idea--and "they" have made the decision that adding a bit to the combat arms officers' training is worth it. "They" may also be assuming that most of the Combat Arms officers are either ROTC graduates who belonged to their home schools' elite unit ("Rangers", "raiders", etc.) or USMA graduates, who already have a "solid basis in small unit tactics", and are thus able to assist in training their comrades in arms.

There must be a "common core" curriculum in addition to small unit tactics that is taught at all OBCs--I know there was at all the NCOES schools--and BOLC II wold be an appropriate venue for this, as well.

I guess the question is, how much longer is BOLC III for an infantryman? Should Infantry BOLC III be Ranger School/Jump School/Air Assault School? I know I certainly don't have the answers, and I haven't been able to fill in the blanks, reading Military.com... :D And all my peers who stayed in when I retired are now SMGs or CSMs (so much for "this has become a deadend MOS"...), and I lost contact.