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More OCS Opportunities for Enlisted Soldiers

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — A recent change in eligibility now allows
enlisted personnel up to age 33 to apply to become officers. Also, there’s no longer
a requirement to serve in the Army for six years before going to Officer Candidate
School (OCS).

The current guidance, which was published in 2015, about 10 months prior to the
75th anniversary of OCS, is contained in MILPER Message 15-270 “FY16 U.S.
Army Federal OCS Program Announcement.”

“The resulting Army Readiness from OCS accessions is stronger today than it was
even a decade ago,” said Jon Banco, chief of Human Resource’s Command’s
Officer Accession Branch. “With a few adjustments to screening criteria and the
requirement to hold a Baccalaureate Degree, we ensure a competitive environment
for the new officer and a more diverse and stronger officer corps for our Army.”

Officers graduating this year will begin their commissioned careers on an equal
academic footing as their U.S. Military Academy and ROTC counterparts, without
the burden of having to enter a degree completion program before they become
captains, as was the case in previous years, Banco said. All second lieutenants
graduating from OCS entered training having already completed their
baccalaureate degree.

Three panels will meet next year in January, May and September, to select
candidates for OCS, said Cliff Preetorious, OCS program manager, Human
Resources Command, Officer Accession Branch. An upcoming MILPER will
provide eligibility requirements.

The MILPER is being reviewed at Army G-1 and should be published within the next
few weeks.

Capt. Jefferson Davis, assistant operations officer for OCS at Fort Benning, Georgia
said he believes many more Soldiers would apply to OCS if they learned more about
the program and knew they were eligible.

Lt. Col. Mark Andres, OCS battalion commander at Benning, added that some
Soldiers might not be aware of the changes in the MILPER guidance.

“Regardless of the size of the military, it is important to proportionally access new
officers every year to meet the needs for captains and majors three to five years in
the future,” said Denise Corley, chief, Officer Accessions Coordination Branch,
Army G-1.

The annual end state regarding volume to screen or select is influenced by Army
end strength and budget requirements or constraints, Corley explained. The 150
regular Army OCS mission was the right number for this year. Every person counts,
especially now in the Army’s smaller footprint. There are, and there will be continuing
opportunities to apply to be part of our future cohorts,” she said.

Andres said Soldiers who are 33 years old or less at the time the OCS accessions
board meets, are eligible to apply. Soldiers also need a General Technical score of
110 or higher and must have a baccalaureate degree.

Any enlisted member of any service, not just the Army, may apply, Davis added.

A complete list of requirements and instructions for applying can be found by reading
MILPER 15-270. Banco reiterated, however, to keep in mind that the new MILPER
that replaces it will soon be published.

The new MILPER will serve as guidance for in-service active-duty and Reserve
Soldiers only, Banco said. Civilians with college degrees interested in becoming
active or Reserve officers may use the forthcoming MILPER as a “guide.” Civilians
interested in Army National Guard service can see a Guard recruiter.