Today, I want to share five reasons to be an Army Battalion Commander in the USAR or ARNG. I’m sure these tips apply to active duty officers too. Although I was never personally a Battalion Commander myself (I resigned as a Major) I did interview some of my friends and peers that are former Battalion Commanders to get these insights. They are listed in no particular order.
# 1 Finish Your Career Strong
Only a small amount of Army Officers make Colonel and General. For most officers, Lieutenant Colonel is the end of the road. And if that is true, I cannot think of a better final duty assignment in the Army or ARNG than serving as a Battalion Commander. It’s like retiring in sports, right after you win the championship.
# 2 Lead Soldiers
As officers, we are taught to be leaders. Our primary mission is to lead soldiers and prepare them for combat. For most of your career, you will be in a staff position where you only lead a few NCOs and Soldiers. Now you have the opportunity to lead 300 to 800 Soldiers. For most leaders, it’s a dream come true.
# 3 Develop Future Leaders
One of the great reasons to be a Battalion Commander is that you get to personally develop tomorrow’s leaders. You work closely with the Battalion XO and Company Commanders to make sure they know their job and can take your job if necessary. You can also work closely with your staff and help mentor them. You can spend as much or as little time as you want mentoring these folks however you want to. It’s great to invest time in others and see them develop new skills.
# 4 Make a Difference
Let’s face it, when you are the man or woman in charge, you can make a real difference. Of course, you’ll still have a boss, but for the most part, you run the show in your battalion. That means that you can implement your idea, policies and way of doing things. You still have to follow Army rules, but you have a lot of flexibility. After all, it’s your battalion. You really have the power, ability and influence to make a difference in your unit.
# 5 Personal Development
Up until this point in your military career, you’ve had a good leadership and tactical foundation built at the company level, plus some of your staff experience at the battalion or brigade level. Now, you will learn new skills and face new challenges. You will become a better leader because of your experience as a Battalion Commander. You will be tested and probably have to do things you never knew you were capable of. I believe you will become a better leader, officer and man/woman because of the command experience. This experience will help prepare you for future assignments, such as Brigade Command, or for positions outside of the military.
These are my top five reasons to be an Army Battalion Commander. All of these tips/reasons were shared with me from former Battalion Commanders. I hope you find the information helpful. If you have any additional reasons to be an Army Battalion Commander or any questions, feel free to contact us. Thank you.
Former Army Major (resigned)
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4 thoughts on “Five Reasons to Be an Army Battalion Commander”
A year into BN Command and by far one of the hardest yet rewarding experiences in my career. With our current OP-TEMPO in the Guard, it is full of missions and future missions that are always on the horizon so preparation is key to success.
I think that a BTN Commander is the last “troop level” command that you can take and it should be sought by all leaders. I couldn’t think back and NOT come up with a BTN Commander I have had, both enlisted and as an Officer, that has not dramatically influenced my career (for better or worse). Once you leave that BTN Commander slot, you tend to lose touch with the Soldiers which, in my opinion, would be the end of my career. Our current BC is an Armor guy taking charge of a SBCT and is extremely intelligent, easy to talk to and always there for guidance. He demands the best from his Officers and I like that about him.
The higher up you go the further away you get from the troops. Even at the Battalion Command level you don’t get that much interaction with your troops. Sure, you get some, but most of your time is spent with Brigade and working on the big picture.
I think this would be the last position that I could truly enjoy. If I am able to be a BC, I would really love that. Who knows what will end up happening, I know I am years away from that!