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
- Knowledge in human resources
- Hard working
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.