Basic Officer Leaders Course

The Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC abbreviated) is a three-phased training course designed for newly commissioned Army Second Lieutenants.

It is a phased model designed to produce motivated and competent Army Officers, capable of leading Soldiers on the battlefield.

These new Second Lieutenants receive instruction on military leadership, small unit tactics and MOS related skills.

In addition, students at the Basic Officer Leaders Course receive instruction on physical fitness, drill and ceremonies, administration, maintenance, property accountability, Army customs and courtesies, and so much more.

Prior to the creation of the Basic Officer Leaders Course, newly commissioned Army Second Lieutenants attended the Officer Basic Course, also known as OBC.

The most significant difference between the old school Officer Basic Course and the new Basic Officer Leaders Course is the addition of small unit tactics and field training.

As of today, all Army Officers receive instruction on basic infantry tactics.

In my opinion, this is a major improvement.

As I mentioned earlier, BOLC consists of three phases.

They are:

BOLC Phase I

For most Army Officers, BOLC Phase I consists of pre-commissioning training, either through West Point, OCS or ROTC.

During this stage, the Officer Candidate learns basic military leadership skills and what is expected of new Army Officers.

For Direct Commissioned Army Officers (i.e. Dental, JAG, Chaplain, etc.), BOLC phase I consists of a 4-week Direct Commissioned Officer (DCO) Course at either Fort Benning or Fort Sill.

The primary purpose of this training is to allow these new Army Officers without any military experience the ability to acquire the skills necessary to continue on to BOLC phase II.

The DCO is not required for direct commissioned Army officers with prior enlisted experience.

BOLC Phase 2/BOLC Phase B

In December 2009, BOLC Phase II training ended.

Second Lieutenants now complete “BOLC B,” which consists of three weeks of basic Soldiering skills.

The purpose of BOLC Phase B is to develop competent and confident Officers who are prepared to lead small units in combat.

Students will receive instruction on:

  • Combatives
  • Basic Rifle Marksmanship
  • Classroom training on modern Army equipment
  • Convoy Operations to include a Convoy Live Fire Exercise
  • Dismounted Land Navigation
  • Advanced Rifle Marksmanship
  • U.S. Weapons
  • Urban Operations
  • Forward Operating Base (FOB) operations

To graduate, the Officer must:

  • Pass the Army Physical Fitness Test with a minimum score of 180, with at least 60 points per event
  • Pass the basic dismounted land navigation course with a minimum of five out of eight points during a night-into-day course
  • Qualify on the rifle range with assigned M4 Carbine
  • Perform satisfactorily on at least two leadership rotations
  • Complete all Field Training Exercises FTXs
  • Complete the 10-mile foot march.

BOLC Phase 3 – Officer Basic Course

Once the new Army Officer finishes his or her training at BOLC Phase B, they transition to their branch specific Officer Basic Course.

The purpose of OBC is to instruct Army Officers on branch specific topics.

Students will learn what the Soldiers from each MOS in their Army branch does.

For instance, a Quartermaster Officer would learn about fuel, supply, mortuary affairs, aerial delivery, subsistence, ammunition, repair parts, etc.

In addition to branch specific information, Army Officers learn about military customs and courtesies, Officer expectations, physical fitness, drill and ceremony, administrative issues, property accountability, maintenance and so much more.

Final Thoughts

In summary, the new phased Basic Officer Leaders Course (BOLC) is a significant improvement from the Officer’s Basic Course, also known as OBC.

Now, all new Second Lieutenants receive small unit tactics and combined arms training.

This helps produce better, more competent officers, capable of leading Soldiers on the battlefield.

We would love to hear your reflections on BOLC.

Do you feel it is better than the “old school” system?

Please post your comments below.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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4 thoughts on “Basic Officer Leaders Course”

  1. The addition of small unit tactics and combined arms training is an excellent improvement for this course. This course, like many courses, was leaving new troops unprepared for some of the realities they could possibly see.

    The more prepared you can be as a young lieutenant the better asset you will be to your unit on day one. Build a nice foundation for all the information that is to come later in practical work and follow on training.

  2. Candace Ginestar

    I had a lot of fun at BOLC. For me, it was a very easy course. I went after they merged phase II and III together, so it was just OCS and then QMBOLC. It was a great four months, and I liked going back to Fort Lee, where I went to AIT all those years ago.

  3. As a civilian I have been enjoying your posts about the various position and trainings for Army Officers to enhance their skills and leadership. Here in the civilian world, what goes on in the military is a bit of a secret, so it’s nice to learn a little bit about what goes on. I am impressed with the amount of training our military professionals receive at all levels.

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