Army Company XO Duties & Responsibilities: What They Do

In today’s post, I’d like to educate you about the Army Company XO duties and responsibilities. This advice is geared toward Army Company XOs but could also apply to other branches of the service as well.

While the Company Commander leads the Company, the XO runs the company along with the First Sergeant. Think of it this way, the Company Commander is future operations, while the First Sergeant and XO are current operations.

The commander strategizes, plans, and develops policy. They set the vision and course for the organization. The First Sergeant and Company XO work closely together with the staff and platoons to make that happen.

In most cases, the Company XO takes care of the behind-the-scenes things such as supply, maintenance, and unit administration. Those are the big three and should consume 80 to 90 percent of your time. The remaining 10-20 percent of your time is spent putting out fires and managing odd-ball tasks as they arise. Of course, the XO isn’t the one doing everything. Instead, they have a supervisory or management role overseeing those tasks.

The Company XO works closely with the Supply Sergeant, Training NCO, Motor Sergeant, and First Sergeant to handle the issues the Company Commander doesn’t need to manage or have time to deal with.

They also manage meetings, help with suspense’s from higher headquarters, and do whatever else needs to be done. The tasks aren’t pretty or glamorous. In most cases, they are boring and mundane. But they are important.

army company xo duties and responsibilities

Company XO Duties & Responsibilities

In this section, I would like to share what I believe are the primary Army Company XO duties and responsibilities. I consider these the “big 3” tasks of the Company XO. This is based upon my own experience as a Company XO.

# 1: Administration

One of your primary responsibilities as the Company XO is to ensure the unit administration is squared away. This is the physical and digital “paperwork.” While administration is not sexy or intriguing, it is important!

The XO works closely with the Training NCO and Readiness NCO to ensure pay is processed on time, to ensure OERs and NCOERs are completed on time and to standard, and to make sure the unit’s suspense’s are met.

You will also oversee that the unit’s award’s program, ensure your Soldiers get submitted for the schools they need, and that all reports are completed on time.

You won’t be doing most of these things yourself, but you will work with the NCOs as needed. Your job is to identify priorities, make sure things gets done, and keep the Company Commander in the loop as needed.

# 2: Supply

Unit Supply is a critical activity in any unit. A good Supply Sergeant can make or break a unit. And a good Company XO, with a strong focus on supply, can significantly improve things.

A good Company XO works with the Supply Sergeant, the Property Book Officer, and the Company Commander to ensure the required equipment is on hand, safeguarded, maintained, and operational. They also ensure all inventories are done on time and to standard.

A good XO has an active role in the unit’s Command Supply Discipline Program. They ensure the unit is fiscally responsible, that a good Supply SOP is published and enforced, and that supply issues are dealt with quickly.

These countless hours slaving away in the supply room can pay huge dividends with the unit’s readiness.

# 3: Maintenance

Maintenance is a beast. Depending upon how much MTOE equipment your unit has assigned to it, this can be a full-time job in and of itself.

The Company XO will work with the Motor Sergeant and Maintenance Control Officer to ensure (1) maintenance is being conducted properly, (2) parts are being ordered and processed in a timely manner (3) pacing items are worked on first and kept in fully mission capable condition, (4) jobs are prioritized, and (5) the unit has trained and sufficient mechanics on hand to do the work. The XO will also keep a close eye on the 026 Report.

The Motor Sergeant will oversee most of these things, but the XO is involved as needed, mostly to answer questions, make decisions, and provide guidance.

Additional Duties

Here are some additional duties you could have as a Company XO:

  1. Physical Security Officer
  2. Soldier Readiness
  3. Inspections
  4. Inventories
  5. Unit Movement Officer
  6. Supply Officer
  7. Maintenance Officer
  8. EO Officer

Something to Consider

While supply, administration, and maintenance are the three biggest and most important Army Company XO duties, it’s also important to remember that every command team is different. Your mission, type of unit you are in, and Company Commander will dictate what you do.

It would be in your best interest to sit down with your Company Commander & First Sergeant together to determine who is responsible for what. That way there are clear boundaries, and everyone knows what they are accountable for, and can stay in their lane.

Even if you think you know what your job entails, it’s a wise idea to sit down with your boss (the Company Commander) and find out what they see your role as.

Your job is to work behind-the-scenes with the First Sergeant and staff, so things are in order and ready for training. Your job is to make the Company Commander look good and help the unit succeed. You ensure the unit has the resources it needs to conduct its scheduled training.

You might not get much credit, or any of the glory, but you have an important job. Never forget that. Your time as an XO will help prepare you to be a successful Company Commander.

I should also chime in and mention that another important part of your job is to mentor and assist the Platoon Leaders. Don’t act like they work for you! They don’t! They work for the Company Commander, just like you do. Go out of your way to offer them your assistance, answer their questions, and help them succeed. When they succeed, you succeed, and the entire company benefits!

Here’s one last consideration. One day you will be a Company Commander yourself. Don’t forget that! What type of relationship would you want with your Company XO if you were the commander? What things would you want your XO to do if you were the commander? Answer those questions and then do your part!

xo and 1SG run the company

Qualities of a Good Company XO

Here are a few qualities of a good Company XO:

Humility: As a Company XO, you must be humble. Swallow your pride and put the commander, mission, and unit before yourself. Remember, it’s not about you!

Hustle: This job requires a lot of work. Put in the extra hours. Show up early and stay late. Outwork everyone who works with/for you.

Good Organization Skills: Get organized. Have priorities and a detailed daily “to-do” list. Use tracking sheets to manage your suspense’s and workload.

Delegate & Empower: Learn to delegate tasks and empower your NCOs. They are the backbone of the Army and know what they are doing. Work closely with them, do not micro-manage them, and learn everything you can from them.

Things You Will Learn in the Job

The Company XO is a great developmental job. You will learn how to:

  • Write OPORDs
  • Review & Update SOPS
  • Submit Soldiers for Awards
  • Run a Meeting
  • Maintenance Procedures
  • Supply Procedures
  • Convoy Management
  • Write NCOERs & OERs
  • Mission Planning
  • Establish Policy & Procedures
  • Risk Management
  • Command Climate
  • And hundreds of other things!

Best Tips for Success

Here are a few of my best success tips for Company XOs:

  • Be humble.
  • Don’t micro-manage your NCOs.
  • Support and encourage the Platoon Leaders.
  • Strive to make your Company Commander look good.
  • Listen and learn from your NCOs, they know what they are doing.
  • Counsel your subordinates in writing.
  • Be a sponge and learn everything you can.
  • Always, and I mean always, support your Company Commander and their intent!
Conclusion

The bottom line is that the Company XO has an important job of supporting the Company Commander and managing the supply, administration, and maintenance in the unit. They handle the day-to-day operations, put out fires, and run the company, so the commander can lead it! This enables the unit to successfully complete its mission. It’s a busy, challenging, and demanding job unlike few others.

What are your thoughts? Have you spent time as a Company XO before? If so, what were your primary duties and responsibilities while in the job? Leave a comment below to let me know what you think. Thanks.

Other Must Read Articles
Sincerely,
chuck holmes







Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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51 thoughts on “Army Company XO Duties & Responsibilities: What They Do”

  1. In the military, XO refers to a second-in-command officer, or more generally, an executive officer.The XO typically reports to the commanding officer, who also goes by the names “the first lieutenant” and “the number one”. Sometimes, XO is a way of calling “the commander” or a head of a department in the organization.

    1. That sounds like a fun and challenging job. Working as a deputy or person number 2 is always a difficult task. But usually, you’re the one doing most of the work. So you are always busy and have something to do.

  2. I am doing some research on why aviation flight companies do not have Company XOs. I believe we are the only combat arms branch that doesn’t have XOs, which increases the workload of our company commanders, 1SGs, and PLs. Do you have any insight as to why aviation may not have XOs? My initial thoughts is that it purely relates to the size of the organization but can’t find any hard evidence to support. Thanks.

      1. No. We do not. Our HQ consists of the CDR, 1SG, safety officer (CW3), TACOOPs officer, and standardizations officer (CW3), and then we have two platoon leaders. Each platoon only has 19 people which is why I thought it might be a numbers thing. Either way, the traditional XO duties are distributed to the CDR, 1SG, and PLs.

  3. Prioritize tasks or orders of work. As an XO you will be charged with the big three plus taskings, equipment missions, and training. You have to prioritize since there are only so many hours in a work day get used to working late most days. However the reward is worth it if you do a good job.

  4. Great post! However, I’ve noticed that this article is tailored primarily to line unit’s that typically have a normal task org structure. I was wondering if you, or anyone else, could provide any insight on the nuances for a Company XO who is in an HHC. I am currently an HHC XO for 260 personnel and my primary focus is still on the big 3: administration, supply, and and maintenance, but there are still big challenges that I face everyday. We have 2 LT’s, myself being one of them, and there are no MTOE’d Platoon Leader positions. It makes it very difficult when everything has to go through a “made up” PSG role and I do not want to overstep / cross into the 1SG’s lane. Also, I was hoping to receive some insight on how to deal with BN and BDE staff personnel, all who fall under my HHC, but outrank me significantly. It is a common theme for seemingly unnecessary taskings to be pushed down to HHC last minute. Due to the nature of the organization, HHC must turn around and task the BN and BDE personnel (who fall under the company) to execute said tasks, however dude to the shop OIC’s and NCOIC’s primarily being O-3s/4’s and E-8’s, there is frequently push-back and few personnel who actually comply.

  5. In my year+ plus as an XO I have discovered that if the CDR and 1SG are the company "mom and dad" then you are the company "big brother." You will spend a lot of time helping PLs and PSGs understand the "whats" and "whys" of the CDR/1SG's intent. i.e. What mom and dad are really saying. As well as serving a place for others to blow off a little steam that they can't aim other places.

  6. I am a XO now, during inventories always use TMs for all LINs and ensure the sub hand receipt holders check every COEI and BII item before the CO comes through. Update the shortages to reflect all non expendable, expendable and durable items. Also separate each type of item on a 2062(X, N, D), so when you sign the books with the new commander it will go smooth. Trust me property is everything as a XO!!

  7. Gabriella Allong

    Hello, I recently graduated from BOLC and was given the XO position. I am thrilled for the position, but I do know that it will be challenging. Do you have any tips you can offer?

  8. This is an excellent post with excellent points throughout.

    The main idea is that you sit down with your First Sergeant and every leader knows his role and his responsibilities, and the communications lines are kept open.

    The accountability has to be there. If something or someone is really not ready, or missing equipment, then that has to be communicated as quickly as possible.

    It takes a 24 hour commitment to stay ready.

    Leaders can’t micro manage each other, but they have to communicate in a timely manner. Communication is key from my experience.

    We have the best Armed Forces in the world. If men and women and equipment are in place and taken care of, there is nothing our Armed Forces can’t accomplish.

    That has been proven over and over. I will always be proud of our men in women in our Armed Forces.

  9. Theresa Williams

    This was a position I knew little about prior to reading this. Thank you! I think “support” people or “behind the scenes” people are really the bone structure of the military and the XO has such an important job. Sometimes it’s the most mundane and boring tasks that are really the most supportive and most influential– little things with a lot of care.

  10. I always thought of the XO as the go to person on any administration detail. I expected them to know the administrative side of command first and foremost. I also expected them to step in for the boss for short periods of time if it was necessary.
    This article gave me more insight into the other responsibilities that an XO has beyond the administrative.

  11. Future or current XOs read this page and help by sharing your experiences on this post. Pester and bug your commanders for their intent, guidance, and most importantly mentorship. Most important thing I cannot stress is communication with not only your CDRs but also your 1SG.

  12. Hello,
    I just took the reigns of my troop’s XO position a couple months back. Before that, I was the acting XO and a PL. For me there was no stress as I absolutely love multi-tasking. I get bored otherwise. One thing I have learned is to always ask questions, read the FMs, ATMs, and ask more questions. Be the guy people want to come to, to ask questions. This will drive you to learn more, which will only benefit you. I will never complain about any position ever given to me as an officer. I am always part of the team and the part I play will always benefit my men. Without them I am useless and without me, they have their platoon sergeants! Just joking. We all need each other, otherwise there is no idea such as the Army. Scouts out!

  13. I am working as a Armor Company XO now for about 4 months. I have a new 1SG coming in and this article is definitely a big help on defining boundaries. I am lucky enough to currently have an amazing CO and 1SG who sat down with me and gave me left and right limits. I do want to add that being the Senior LT in the company also has the implied task of mentoring the Platoon Leaders when it comes to tactics, effective reporting, forward and backward planning. Which is some of the advice I was surfing for initially.

  14. Great post. Company XO’s have a huge responsibility. Unfortunately, most Commanders never sit down with their XO and clearly explain what they are supposed to do. Doing so would have a significant impact.

    1. Very true, Sam. The CO should sit down with their XO and explain their intent and how they want things done. That normally does not happen, and that’s where the problems come from.

  15. My husband is a Company XO in the Army Reserves and he doesn’t really like it all that much. His boss is pretty bad and doesn’t have a game plan for the unit or give my husband any advice. He’s really just counting his time until his next assignment. I’m going to forward him this page so he can read more about what he is supposed to be doing. Hopefully, it will help him out.

    1. A lot of Company XOs don’t get much guidance from their boss and they have to figure things out on their own. This page is a great starting point. I also have a Company XO Training Course that is very popular and beneficial.

  16. I spent about a year as a Company XO and it was hands down the best assignment I’ve had so far in the Army. My commander was great. She let me pretty much run with it and didn’t micro-manage or dictate how I do my job. I really learned a lot about supply, maintenance and admin. Hopefully, all of those lessons will benefit me when I take command in the next few months.

  17. This sounds like a fun and challenging job. Working as the deputy, or # 2 person is always a tough assignment. But normally you are the one who does a brunt of the work. So you will always be busy and have something to do.

    1. Betsy,

      Being the # 2 person is great, especially if you have a good boss and clear expectations of what you are supposed to do. You will definitely be busy. The XO job never really stops.

      Chuck

  18. I spent 15 months as a Company XO and absolutely loved it. I had a great CO and 1SG. It was my best assignment I ever had.

  19. The Company XO is a great job. You get to run a 100+ person company. Handling all the behind the scenes stuff will keep you busy and give you purpose.

  20. Im not sure if anyone posted about the additional responsibility the XO has when the Commander is absent. If the Commander is absent for some reason or another, it is the XOs responsibility to be the acting OIC for the Company. Ive spent two years as a Company XO, my commander would be absent a day or two here and there for meetings and training. Of course the BC would pay a visit on those particular days or even community helpers. It was my responsibility as the XO to step up and take responsibility of the Company in the absence of my Commander. Of course your First Sergeant will be able to assist and cover down. He/she will still be the NCOIC of the Company and can still run the show in the absence of the CO.

  21. Taylor James Roach

    I’ve currently been allowed the opportunity to trial for the XO position at the military school I attend, but after being told I was oddly distressed. This was so because of our company’s lack of an XO, throughout this year. Having no example in witch to build upon, I went around, officer to officer, trying to get an idea of the new duties and responsibilities I’ve been bestowed. Their answers were appreciated, but scattered and unhelpful. I had a basic idea of what I was supposed to be doing, but no way to confirm those beliefs. Your article describes the exact information in which I’ve been seeking, and has confirmed all of my ideas about the my situation. Now all that’s left is for me to take my new knowledge of The Company Executive Officer, and use it to optimize the functionality and productivity of Bravo Company.
    Thank you Sir.

  22. As a civilian, I am enjoying reading your descriptions of the various ranks, duties and responsibilities. I am always surprised at the breadth of things each job covers. I am sure keeping up on maintenance has got to be a big challenge, particularly if there is a lot of equipment that is assigned to the unit. What tools are there for a Company XO to use to help keep track of everything?

    1. The maintenance piece is definitely a huge responsibility for the Company XO. The best tools a Company XO can use is a simple tracking sheet, a “to do” list and a day planner to manage their time effectively.

  23. A tip I learned from a stellar NCO and mentor, that applies to ANY leadership position but especially the XO, is to sit back and observe things for a few drills. Although you want to get to work right away, it is not always good to go in full steam changing things and implementing changes you think are appropriate. Sit back, talk with the old XO and CO. Look at how the Unit operates and THEN ultimately determine where the areas of friction are. Look for areas that NEED improvement and then act.

    1. Justin,

      I think your advice applies to EVERY military leader, not just the Company XO. All new leaders should observe and assess, especially before they make any major policy or leadership changes. You might just find out that your great idea isn’t so great after all. When you rush into things, you normally end up doing things you regret.

      Chuck

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