Battalion S1 Duties and Responsibilities and Job Description

What are the Battalion S1 Duties and Responsibilities?  Let me start by telling you that the Battalion S1 is the Human Resources Officer or Personnel Officer within a battalion (normally 300 to 500 Soldiers).  They typically handle all of the administrative issues within the battalion.

They have a very important job even though they don’t get much credit or glory.  Some of the primary Battalion S1 Duties and Responsibilities include:

  • Oversee Evaluation Reports to make sure they are accurate and turned in on time.  The S1 ensures that OERs and NCOERs are done, proofread for errors and processed in SIDPERS.
  • Manage the Battalion Awards Program.  They make sure that the unit has an awards program in place, that Soldiers are getting recognized, that the awards are in compliance with the pertinent regulations and that they are processed in a timely manner.
  • Advise the Battalion Commander on Personnel Issues.   A good S1 keeps the “old man” informed about personnel issues, specifically “personal” issues such as family issues, parenting issues, or anything else that the Battalion Commander might need to get involved in.
  • Establish policies and procedures concerning personnel issues. They write SOPs and policy letters about anything human resources related.
  • Plan and oversee Unit Social Events.  The S1 ensures that all events, such as the Hail and Fairwell, Dining In and Dining out are done correctly, in accordance with the Commander’s Intent and Army Regulations.
  • Oversee the MWR, ADAPC, Equal Opportunity and Safety Programs within the unit.  They make sure these programs are in place and they handle issues as they arise.
  • Work with the Brigade S1 to meet all suspenses. The S1 works closely with the Brigade S1 and makes sure that any suspsenses and open issues are dealt with in a timely manner.
  • Provide individual customer service to Soldiers and Army civilians in the areas of personnel and finance. The S1 works closely with the Company Readiness NCO or Training NCO to handle any issues that can’t be dealt with at the company level.
  • Coordinate for law enforcement, civil/military operational requirements, stress management, straggler information, and enemy prisoner-of-war (EPW) transportation and control.  This is pretty self explanatory.
  • Monitor the Battalion Command Climate and advise the Battalion Commander on relevant issues.  They make sure that the Command Climate Survey is conducted to standard and on time and they brief the commander on the results.
  • Coordinate all aspects of personnel services, finance services, chaplaincy activities, command information services, and legal services support within the battalion. They work closely with the Chaplain, Finance Office, and JAG to settle open issues, resource training, and do necessary coordination.
  • Prepare PSS input to combat service support (CSS) plans. During the MDMP they work with the S3 and S4 and write the Personnel Annex for the OPORD.
  • Oversee and manage Personnel Records. They ensure each company manages its records the right way and they manage some files at the battalion level.
  • Provide or coordinate for correspondence, classified document control, printing and reproduction files management, forms and publications management, official mail/distribution, and Privacy Act and Freedom of Information Act inquiries to battalion headquarters and subordinate units.  They manage all the forms, stores files, order correspondence, etc.
  • Direct the battalion’s functions within the critical personnel systems: personnel readiness management, personnel accounting and strength reporting, casualty operations management, replacement operations management, personnel information management, postal operations management, and MWR/community support.
  • Supervise all NCOs and soldiers within the S1 Section, normally 3-10 Soldiers.  The S1 normally has one NCOIC working directly for them, along with a few other NCOs and Soldiers.

Tips for Success as the Battalion S1 Officer

Here are a few tips for success that I can recommend if you want to do well in this job.

First and foremost, you have to put your ego aside.  In other words, you won’t get a lot of recognition or glory in this job, even though it is important.  Heck, you might even get teased by a few of your peers for being the S1. However, you have a critical role in handling all of the paperwork that effects promotions, job assignments, recognition, retirements, punishments and more. Take pride in what you do and pay attention to the details, but don’t worry about being the hero.

Next, you have to be trustworthy.  Not only do you have access to everyone sensitive information, but your boss (the Battalion XO) and the Battalion Commander have to be able to trust you with sensitive information.

I would also suggest that you come up with some type of organization system.  By nature, I’m not the most organized person in the world.  However, if I was chosen to be the S1, I would come up with a simple filing system, a to-do list, and a tracking sheet so that I could stay on top of all of the paperwork.

Finally, you want to familiarize yourself with the pertinent rules and regulations.  Do some research online and print out all of the HR related regulations and read them.  Familiarize yourself with the policies so you know what the rules of the game are.

Qualities to Succeed as the Battalion S1 Officer

Here are a few qualities that will help you succeed in this job.

  • Attention to detail
  • Thoughtful and considerate
  • Genuine care for other Soldiers
  • Good organization skills
  • Trust
  • Knowledge in human resources
  • Hard working

Final Thoughts

Many people believe that the Battalion S1 job isn’t all that important. I disagree. While it might not be as prestigious as the S3 position, a good S1 Officer can have a huge impact in the readiness, welfare and morale of a battalion.  A good S1 Officer will help keep the Battalion Commander organized on personnel issues and records, so they can focus on their operational mission.

If you’ve served as a Battalion S1 before, I would love to hear from you.  Please tell us about any Battalion S1 Duties and Responsibilities that we missed.  Or, tell us about your experience.  What did you like about the job?  What did you dislike?  Just leave a comment to share your thoughts.

35 thoughts on “Battalion S1 Duties and Responsibilities and Job Description”

  1. I am the AS1 of my BN and because of this site, I have been better able to help the S1 as well as help my fellow soldiers.

  2. I came into the BN S1 position without much history into my position. The previous S1 was only in the seat for about 4 months, and he wasn’t 42B qualified. Same goes for the one before him, and he was at flight school for most of the time. The S1 before that wasn’t around very much either. So there had been about 1.5-2 years without a qualified BN S1…until I came. I came from a Strength Manager position, but I had never been an S1 before. Before I stepped into the role, the S1 shop was missing suspenses, constantly getting packets that were RWOA due to errors or missing documents and didn’t even have an SOP.

    One of the best pieces advice I can give to a new S1 is that one of the first things you should do, besides giving initial counselings to your staff, is to go over, in depth, with the most recent OIP for the Battalion and the subordinate companies. The OIP is your grade card. After you identify weaknesses, there, schedule a Staff Assisted Visit (SAV) with the companies, and begin to not only correct the deficiencies on the last OIP, but also make sure that they are able to pass with Commendable in each section. Then when you’re next OIP comes up, your staff will get a Commendable. Boom! OER bullet.

  3. Sir,

    Thanks for this information!! I’m getting back into the reserves as the S-1; switching from Finance Corps. I’ll make sure I read your info and brush up on tips and regulations as I prepare for my first drill.

  4. I am the new BN S1 in the Army Reserves, and after my first drill I see there are several issues that keep plaguing the S1 position. My question is, what is the best way have new Lieutenants in the Reserves to get many tasks accomplished since we only see our soldiers one weekend a month? My unit is ranked 23/23 which, is horrible. I want to make a difference and just would like any assistance in trying to make my unit shine and not be ranked at the bottom of the list.

  5. Hello. I was interesting about S-1 duties and responsibilities in US Army and glad to find it. I am chief of S-1 section in Air defence division in Republic of Georgia. As I see, we all S-1s have almost the same duties :) Wish you success in your future career. Thank you for posting this helpful job discription, I have to pass English test tomorrow and they will ask about my job. So, I have enough terms now to discribe it :)

  6. I am a retired Army AGR S-1 NCO. I retired as soon as I made 20 years. Being a S-1 in a reserve unit is a real challenge. You only see your Soldiers one weekend a month. Four of those months are spent getting promotion packets ready for Soldiers. OERs, NCOERs and birth month reviews are year around. Then you have to deal with payroll, travel vouchers, Line of Duty Investigations, AWOLs, bonuses, educational benefits, awards, Unit Status Reports, retirements and the constant suspense reports. Unlike every other section, the S-1 job is never done and you are never caught up. Being the S-1 is like being a mother. It’s the most thankless job you’ll ever love. Don’t get me wrong, I loved doing the job, but it was time to move on after 20.

    1. You’re right, the S1 job can be a thankless job, but it is vitally important. I appreciate your service. There is nothing wrong with doing 20 and then being done!

  7. It is great to see so many coming here to get information on the Battalion S1 duties. I also love seeing the many questions, as I know that is exactly why Chuck made this website.

    Please tell others about this site, because there are many leaders that could benefit from the information that is posted here.

    Thank you Chuck for all you are doing in helping current and future military leaders do their jobs efficiently.

  8. This has been one of the best resources I have found online in regards to finding information on this position. I will be commissioning this May as an AG reserves officer and am currently the company S1 at my ROTC program. Thank you for posting this and taking the time to answer questions.

  9. Theresa Williams

    This was so good in helping me to understand what exactly S1 does, since we’ve been saddled with a particularly frustrating group there at our current station. Ours loses paperwork all of the time and soldiers have regularly had to turn in forms 3 or 4 times before they are filed correctly. However, no matter how much it seems that S1 (ours in particular) is incompetent, there is really so much more going on than we can perceive and they deserve our respect, regardless.

    1. The S1 is really the Human Resources department leader. They have an important job. Some S1s do a great job and others don’t. It’s one of those jobs that it really helps to be organized.

  10. Hi, I’m a officer for a Expeditionary Sustainment Command and I notice that many actions such as PERSTAT, personel tracking and USR is tasked to the HHC. Should the G1 be handling these tasks for the unit? Also, what are the different roles of the HHC HR and the G1 staff? Thanks

  11. A question for S1 in general: is the removal of all permissions for CO and BN HR Specialists an Army wide thing, or just in my organization? Because currently the only folks able to upload anything to iPERMS or fix ERBs is one 1LT at BN and GP S-1 personnel. And consequently NOTHING gets uploaded or updated, absolutely nothing that is entered at the CO or BN letter IS entered, not for the last 18 months anyway.If this is Army wide then what moron thought that this could possibly be a good idea? If not do any of you have any idea what my recourse is? I had my records review done by them recently and they know what documents are missing and what is wrong with my ERB, I've given them all of the documentation 3-4 times, and still nothing. I have had the fortune to work with numerous highly competent HR Specialists in the past, so this blatant incompetence that I'm currently saddled with is extremely frustrating.

    1. Chris,

      I have not heard of this happening up until now. It doesn’t sound like a very good idea to me. Maybe someone else can chime in here and answer your question. I honestly don’t know what the new policy is.

  12. Thanks for the posting. I have been AG branch all my career, but I am looking at switching to Logistics. I have not made my decision yet, but this information will certainly assist in making an informed decision.

  13. I am currently deployed as the S1 for a Signal Battalion, and much like Christine, it is a very fast paced job with very little down time. It can be overwhelming at times, because of the numerous day to day operations that most (if any) understand when it comes to HR. The biggest reward in this job is the satisfaction that I get when I finally get to laid my head on my pillow at night, knowing that I did what I was supposed to do for the Troops in the BN. I was unsure when I first took this position over two years ago, but the experience that I have gained, no one will ever be able to take that away from me or my staff. I am proud to say, what my position is, what we as a team have accomplished, when it didn't seem possible!

  14. I’m an S1 in a Forward Support Battalion and I am also a Human Resources professional by trade. HR is a tough and demanding job. There are lots of behind the scenes things that most soldiers never even know happens. The paperwork is endless and you seldom get any respect. Despite that, I still love what I do. I think any officer would benefit from serving as an S1. The things you learn will really help you out as you move up through the ranks.

    1. Very true, Christine. The S1 Shop doesn’t get much respect and it’s considered an easy job, but speaking from personal experience I can tell you that it’s actually a pretty tough job. You are right, the paperwork is endless and there are lots of behind the scenes stuff that most Officers and NCOs know nothing about.

  15. I have a few questions, first. Human Resources Officer or Personnel Officer works with to 300 – 500 person battalion? What are the main social events these officers must oversee in the Army? I’ve been involved in telecommunications career for the last 14 years, so I naturally want to know in this job, what kind of network is used to transmit critical personnel information, typically? Cellular, Internet, PSTN or a combination? I am sure with such personal and critical information, the networks have to be secure.

    1. The HR (S1) and Personnel Officer are the same person. The Army calls it the S1 Officer, which is a personnel officer, which is really a Human Resources Officer. They oversee the social events such as the Dining In, Dining Out, Hail and Farewell, retirements and anything else you can think of. They use SIDPERS and IPERMS to transmit information to higher.

  16. Neil ODonnell

    I do not want to imagine the chaos that would ensue without the Battalion S1 Officer being on point. Accurate management of personnel files alone could mean the difference at to whether or not a unit is ready for a mission. With the addition of an S1 Officer being responsible for coordinating EPW and law enforcement-related activities, the Battalion S1 Officer sounds like one of the most critical components of a battle-ready unit.

  17. I’m an S1 NCO is the Army Reserves. I work at the Brigade S1 Shop. I am very fortunate to have a great staff and OIC. The S1 Office normally doesn’t get much credit, but we are always busy. Whether it’s a pay issue, promotion issue, retirement issue, or any other administrative issue, we are expected to fix it promptly. Most people don’t understand how important the S1 Shop is until they have an issue of their own that needs to be fixed.

  18. Thanks for adding this information. I didn’t realize Battalion S1 responsibilities were so comprehensive. It just goes to show how important strategic planning and solid leadership is, especially when dealing with military-related strategies.

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