This is a question that someone asked me the other day and I figured it would be a good blog post. How long should Army Reserve and National Guard Company Commanders stay in command?
I’m not sure if there is a regulation that addresses this issue, but I can speak from personal experience and tell you what I recommend.
The bare bones minimum you want to do in Company Command is 12 months. You should strive for more than this, but don’t do less than a year in Company Command of the same unit.
I think a good time to strive for is 18 to 24 months in Company Command. 18 months will give you enough experience in the job to learn a lot, to perform at a high level, and not get burnt out. 18 months feels like the perfect amount to me and up to 24 months is good.
If you do more than 24 months in Company Command, I think it’s bad. Here’s why. First of all, you are holding someone else up from getting the opportunity to command. There are typically lots of officers waiting to take the guidon, so the longer you stay in command the fewer chances other officers get to take command.
More importantly, you won’t be a Captain forever. As a Captain, you want a variety of experiences, including Company Command. You want some staff time, too, so it’s important to manage your career wisely and know when to move on.
The final thing with staying in command too long is that you get burnt out and lose your motivation. Company Command is a very demanding job. You can only go full speed so long before you start to lose your effectiveness and motivation. Every individual has a different threshold, but it’s important to know yours (I hit mine at 18 to 20 months).
I hope my explanation answered the question about how long to stay in Company Command in the Army Reserves or Army National Guard. I’d love to hear what you think. Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.