The Army Needs More Prime Power production specialists
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Dec. 29, 2015) — Some know how to replace a light
switch. They’re electricians. Others know how to wire up an entire base-camp. Those are
12P “Prime Power production specialists,” and the Army needs more of them in the
Soldiers trained in the Prime Power production specialty deploy, install, operate and
maintain power generation and distribution assets in support of theater commanders.
Inside the United States, they are also part of the National Response Framework to
provide power in places where the civilian power grid has gone down due to natural
The Army has authorizations for 288 12P Soldiers in fiscal year 2016. In fiscal year 2017,
the career field will grow to 297 authorizations, said Lt. Col. Scott L. Holland Jr., the
Engineer Enlisted Branch chief with U.S. Army Human Resources Command, or HRC.
Today, the Army has 293 Soldiers in the military occupational specialty, or MOS.
While the 12P career field appears to be sitting pretty for now, its small size makes it
susceptible to fluctuations in manning percentage, especially among sergeants.
“Based on natural attrition, we anticipate the MOS to have a shortage at the entry level for
sergeants,” Holland said.
By the end of FY16, he expects the career field to be short 12 sergeants. For FY17, that
shortage is expected to grow – to a projected shortage of 39 sergeants. By FY18, he said,
the career field expects a shortage of 45 sergeants.
“I anticipate the in call for 12P’s to remain through FY16,” Holland said.
Right now, the Army is accepting applications from both specialists and sergeants for
reclassification into the 12P MOS, said James Bragg, chief of HRC’s Retention and
“Currently, Soldiers approved for reclassification into MOS 12P may be entitled to a Tier 5
[$3,500 – $11,600] bonus upon successful completion of training,” Bragg said. “In addition,
Soldiers in the rank of specialist are eligible for promotion to sergeant upon graduation
under the Special MOS Alignment Promotion Program.”
The 12P program does not accept Soldiers out of initial entry training. Instead, Soldiers
who want to control all the power on a military installation must instead volunteer to
transfer from their current MOS into the 12P program.
Training for 12P lasts more than a year, and takes place at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
The Army needs Soldiers to apply now to the career field to ensure continuity of
noncommissioned officer, NCO, leadership in the future.
To apply for 12P, a Soldier must meet the minimum qualifications, including Armed
Services Vocational Aptitude Battery composite scores of 110 on GT, 107 on TECH, and
107 on ELEC. Soldiers must have also completed high school-level algebra and have a 70
percent on the Basic Math and Science Test.
The year-long Prime Power School is broken into three approximately four-month
segments. First is a four-month academic period. Second is an operations phase, where
every Soldier learns to operate a power plant safely.
For the final phase of Prime Power School, Soldiers are split up into different tracks,
where they will earn their additional skill identifier, or ASI, for 12P. Soldiers can earn the
S2 mechanical equipment maintenance (power station) ASI; the S3 electrical equipment
maintenance (power station) ASI; or the E5 instrument maintenance (power station) ASI.
William E. Montgomery, program manager for the Prime Power School, said Soldiers can
get up to 38 college credits for completing the school. A total of 32 of those credits come
from nearby Lincoln University, located in Jefferson City, Missouri. Lincoln University
adjunct professors teach the entire curriculum during the academic phase of Prime Power
School. That phase includes mathematics, applied physics concepts, mechanical system
engineering and electrical system engineering.
An additional six hours of college credit is offered through the Army Education System for
completing other portions of the Prime Power School. Additionally, the American Council
of Education recognizes successful completion of Prime Power School with their own 38
While there are small pockets of 12P Soldiers throughout the Army, about 39 percent of
those assigned to the career field will end up on Fort Belvoir, Virginia; 22 percent in
Hawaii; 22 percent on Fort Bragg, North Carolina; and seven percent on Fort Bliss, Texas.
Soldiers interested in applying to become a Prime Power production specialist should
contact their unit career counselor for details on how to make it happen.