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.
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.
The Company XO also handles meetings, helps with suspenses from higher headquarters, and does 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.
For the purpose of this article, I would like to share what I consider to be the primary duties and responsibilities of the Company XO.
I consider these the “big 3” tasks of the Company XO.
# 1 Administration: One of your primary job responsibilities as the Company XO is to ensure the unit administration is squared away.
This means you need to work with the Training NCO and Readiness NCO to make sure pay is processed on time, to make sure OERs and NCOERs are completed on time and to standard, and to make sure the unit’s suspenses are met.
You also oversee that the unit’s award’s program, that Soldiers get submitted for the schools they need, and that all reports are completed on time.
You won’t be doing many of these things yourself, but you will work hands on to help the NCOs as needed. Your job is to identify priorities and make sure things gets done.
# 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 make things even better.
A good XO works with the Supply Sergeant, the Property Book Officer and the Company Commander to ensure that the required equipment is on hand and operational.
They also check to make sure that all inventories are done on time and to standard.
A good XO typically has an active role in the unit’s Command Supply Discipline Program, too.
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 in the readiness of the unit.
# 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.
A good XO will work with the Motor Sergeant and Maintenance Control Officer to make sure that (1) maintenance is getting 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 at all times, (4) jobs are prioritized, and (5) the unit has trained and sufficient mechanics on hand to do the work.
A good Motor Sergeant will do most of these things themselves, but a good XO is involved and has good situational awareness.
While these are probably the three biggest and most important duties for an Army Company Executive Officer, it’s also important to remember that every Command Team Relationship is different.
It would be in your best interest to sit down with your Company Commander and First Sergeant together to determine who is responsible for what.
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That way there are clear boundaries and everyone knows what they are accountable for.
After all, every leader has different strengths, weaknesses, talents, and priorities.
Even if you think you know what your job entails, it’s a wise idea to sit down with your supervisor and find out what they think you should be doing.
Ultimately, your job is to work behind the scenes with the First Sergeant and AGR Staff, so things are in order and ready for training.
You want to make the Company Commander look good and help the unit succeed.
And, you want to make sure that 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 a very important job.
Never forget that.
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!
Go out of your way to offer them your assistance, answer their questions and help them succeed.
They all report to the Company Commander, but do what you can to mentor them.
Leverage your experience and resources to help them succeed in their jobs.
When you do that the entire company benefits.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that the Company XO has an important job of supporting the Company Commander and taking care of the supply, administration and maintenance in the unit.
It’s a busy, challenging and demanding job unlike few others.
I highly encourage you to spend nine to eighteen months in this job, so you can be better prepared when you become a Company Commander.
On a side note, if you’ve ever worked as an Army Company Executive Officer, I would love to hear your thoughts about what a Company XO should do.
To share your thoughts, just leave a comment to this post.
I look forward to hearing from you.
P.S. If you are currently serving as a Company XO, I’ve created a resource to help you succeed.
I published my “Part-Time Army Company XO Training Course.”
This is a manual and audio CD designed to help you succeed in your job.
To the best of my knowledge it is the only resource available for Company XOs in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
I think the information would also benefit Active Duty XOs, or XOs in other service components. Learn more about the course.