Posted on Aug 14, 2014
MAJ Deputy Director, Combat Casualty Care Research Program
12.8K
50
26
5
5
0
Anyone else dealt with this dilemma? I was appointed Deputy Director as an O-3, now I'm an O-4, but I have O-5s who are technically BELOW me within chain of command. It's quite the catch-22. It's difficult to function in your position that is above those who outrank you. How do you operate as a supposed senior to those who have higher rank than you?
Avatar feed
Responses: 20
COL Jean (John) F. B.
15
15
0
Edited 8 y ago
I assume your organizational structure dictates the "reporting chain" and, as such, I assume the 0-5s are not really subordinate to you, as the Deputy Director, but to your boss, the Director. While, in the performance of your duties, you work with them, on behalf of your boss, you are probably not actually above them in the chain of command.

Regardless, the arrangement you find yourself in should not be an issue, if all parties work together to get the mission accomplished. The only time it should be an issue is if you attempt to present yourself as their senior or if they refuse to acknowledge your duty responsibilities. If there is a problem, a few well-placed words from your boss should alleviate that.

I found myself in that situation a few times and, for the most part, all worked out OK. It really depends on the affected parties being more concerned about getting the job done than rank or position.

As the Military Police brigade commander in Korea, I was also the 8th Army Provost Marshal, as well as the US Forces Korea (USFK) Provost Marshal. Brigade commanders in the active Army are Colonels (0-6), whereas, brigade commanders in the Reserve Components are Brigadier Generals (0-7). It was not at all unusual, when we had a major exercise that involved Reserve Components, for me to have one of more BGs (fellow MP brigade commanders) report to me as the 8th Army and/or USFK Provost Marshal. Most had no issue with it, although there were a couple of instances where I had to get my boss, a 3-star, involved.
(15)
Comment
(0)
Avatar small
1SG Eoc Ops Coordinator / Ga Certified Emergency Manager
7
7
0
Edited 8 y ago
I spent 2 1/2 yrs as an HQs Co. 1SG as an E7 with 3 E8s on the battalion staff. Even though I was their 1SG, there were not technically underneath me as they all worked for a Staff Officer who was equal or higher rank then the Co. Cdr. However, for organizational missions, training, I was in charge. There were no issues as we all knew our rolls. If was a unit affair, formations, training, ranges, etc they fell in and supported.

I would think that in your position, it would be pretty much the same, they are not below you, however they are subordinate to your boss! If all understand their roll and work toward mission accomplishment, shouldn't be any problems. However if there are, take it to your boss (their boss) and let him handle it! I would think that neither you nor the O-5s would want him to feel he could not depend on all of you to focus on the mission and duty first.
(7)
Comment
(0)
Avatar small
LTC Paul Labrador
5
5
0
It the same dilemma that an HHC commander has. He is in command of the company that the BN/BDE commander and primary staff are assigned, yet they all outrank him. I think the key is determining exactly what your authority covers and stick to it. Obviously you cannot rate those individuals, but if you are supervising those O-5's, ensure you are meeting with their rater regularly for feedback.
(5)
Comment
(0)
COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
8 y
Just what I was thinking. I was CDR of a SPT BN HHC, Not only did the commander and primary staff outrank me, so did the OICs of each and every section. It's all about tact.

The biggest issue was getting the section OICs to understand that yes, "their" Soldiers were NOT exempt from the duty roster just because the OIC outranked the CO CDR.
(3)
Reply
(0)
CPT Logistics Chief
CPT (Join to see)
8 y
My "two cents" as junior officer:  Staff is there to assist Commanders (all), not to play the "whatever" game.  At the same time, the Company leadership must understand staff sections are BN assets, to which the "hurry up and wait" game, must be minimized.  Either or, I'm going to think we are all professionals an can co-exist and help each other out.  We already have enough battles to fight as it is, to start tearing each other apart for no reason.  I have seen BNs where supporting the CO is a must, and it is backed up by BN leadership.  In others the constant battle and "I can do that better" is the daily bread.   
(1)
Reply
(0)
Avatar small

Join nearly 2 million former and current members of the US military, just like you.

close