Posted on Dec 6, 2013
LTC Instructor
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Are there any branch managers or career managers, past or present, out there who would share some insight into the way assignments work and how best to take control of one's own career? 

This is especially mysterious for junior officers, and I would assume also for many mid-grade NCOs. There is much more to this than simply pleading with or buttering-up your branch rep. Please share successful tips, and also pitfalls!
Posted in these groups: Images Military Career
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Responses: 3
MAJ Chief, Armed Services Blood Bank Center   Pacific Northwest
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Sir,

A career manager pointed me to DA PAM 600-4 once when I had
the same question.  It was also related
that one of the best tools I could develop for my own military career management
was going to be the “Life Cycle development map” also found in the above DA
PAM.



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SFC Rocky Gannon
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Assignments are based on manning guidance and unit needs. It goes into more depth that I want to post, but calling and talking to them about upcoming and maybe follow on assignments are the best avenue.
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LTC Instructor
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For sure, SFC Gannon. I had success bargaining with my branch to get into a Career Course, and then to go to Ranger School. Also, a lot has to do with building a good relationship with seniors and supervisors who can help clear the way for you to get where you're wanting to go.
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1SG Steven Stankovich
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Sir - I was the Schools Manager for Armor Branch back in 2001-2003 and I worked right next to the PDNCOs and Assignment Managers.  I learned a lot about the assignment process during that stint.


There are many different kinds of units...CONUS, OCONUS, Nominative, TRADOC, MTOE, BCTs, DIVs, Priority 1, and so on.  Each must be manned at a certain percentage by rank.


At the time I worked up there, our Branch PDNCOs assigned based on three criteria...needs of the Army, professional development and Soldier preference.  Based on the rank requirement of an assignment, the PDNCOs may query the CMF for the best qualified Soldier.  They would look at time in grade, time on station, dwell time, date last returned overseas, are they joint domicile, EFMP, MACP, etc.  Once they determined who the best qualified was, they would place that person on assignment instructions.


In a perfect world, the needs of the Army matched the professional development needs of the Soldier and the Soldiers preference.  That was not always the case.


Staying in contact with your PDNCO, Career Manager, etc is a great course of action.  Sometimes, the best opening line after pleasantries, is "what assignment are you having problems filling?"  This may be the opening into something that may help you either at that point or in your "next" assignment.  In EDAS, there is a page for PDNCOs, Career Managers and such to make notes.  Our folks used to track contact made with Soldiers in the event that an assignment was discussed or a HAAP was promised, etc.  That way there was a record of conversations and a record of who told what to who. 


Bottom line is it is a good idea to stay proactive in the assignment process, understand how it works, and to be informed when it comes to discussing what is next when it comes to your future. 

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