Best Jobs and Duty Assignments for Army Captains

Today, I want to talk about the best jobs and duty assignments for Army Captains.  While this list might vary slightly by officer branch and career field, most of these jobs apply to every Army Captain.  It’s true, the jobs you have, and your performance in those jobs, will make or break your Army Officer career.  Certain jobs are much more important and relevant, especially if you want to rise through the ranks quickly.

You won’t be a Captain forever.  In most cases, you will spend somewhere between five and seven years as a Captain, with four years as the minimum.  Therefore, it’s your responsibility to position yourself for future success and take the jobs that give you the biggest bang for the buck.  Ultimately, you want to be proactive and choose your own jobs and duty assignments, rather than just take what is given to you.

Listed below, I want to share four duty assignments that would benefit any Army Captain.  Your odds of getting all these jobs during your time as a Captain is pretty slim, but any of these jobs would be good to have.

1. Primary Battalion Staff Officer – As a new Captain, you should try to get a job as a PRIMARY Battalion Staff Officer.  You want to serve as an S1, S2, S3 or S4.  While most of the S3 jobs are typically reserved for Majors, in some units a Captain is the S3.  Please keep in mind that it’s much better to be a Primary Battalion Staff Officer than an assistant.  If you have to be an assistant Battalion Staff Officer, try to work in the S3 shop.  Ideally, you want to spend nine to eighteen months as a Battalion Staff Officer, BEFORE you take Company Command.

2. Company Commander – This position will be the culmination of your Captain experience.  Don’t be in a rush to take command.  The best time to get Company Command is after you’ve spent one to two years as a Captain and have some staff experience.  You should strive to be a Company Commander for somewhere between 18 and 24 months, with 12 months as a minimum and 36 months as a maximum.  If possible, try to get a line unit, not a TDA or HHC unit. Any command is good, but line units are the best, especially if you want to be a Battalion Commander or Brigade Commander one day.

3. Assistant Brigade Staff Officer – After you’ve spent some time in Company Command, and on Battalion Staff, you might want to consider working on the Brigade or Division Staff as an Assistant Staff Officer.  This is common work for many Captains waiting to get promoted to Major.  Try to get some time in the S1, S3 or S4 shop if possible.  Experience at the Brigade level will be a huge benefit and make you a better Field Grade Officer later on down the road.

4. Aide de Camp – Working as an Aide de Camp is a very prestigious job.  You get to work closely with a General Officer.  You get to build connections.  You get to see what life is like at the top ranks in the Army.  It really is a great assignment.  If you get selected as an Aide de Camp, consider yourself fortunate.

Final Thoughts

During your time as a Captain, try to stay at the operational level as much as possible, in a MTOE unit.  If possible, you want to be at the battalion level or lower.  By securing any of the jobs mentioned above, you will position yourself for future success.

What are your thoughts?  What do you think are the best jobs for Army Captains?  Leave a comment and let us know.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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2 thoughts on “Best Jobs and Duty Assignments for Army Captains”

  1. As a career enlisted Soldier I’m not qualified to comment on officer career paths, but over the years I’ve heard about and/or noticed some trends, at least in the units where I’ve served. Promising lieutenants tend to serve as the PL for one of the specialty platoons (scouts or mortars) in infantry battalions after their tour as a line platoon leader and before taking an XO billet, so if you can align yourself for one of those rotations, so much the better. The same is often true of HHC/HHT command, which is frequently offered to a capable captain who has already completed a tour as commander of a line company. I can state with confidence that the first sergeant billet in a headquarters company normally goes to an experienced 1SG, and the brigade HHC first sergeant position is normally given to someone who is going to be tapped for the Sergeant Major Academy.

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