Responsibilities of an Army Officer

What are the responsibilities of an Army Officer?  To be extremely specific, that would depend upon the duty position of the Army Officer.  In the Army, you have staff officers and commanders.  And you also have deployable (line) and non-deployable (TDA) units.  These units and duty positions vary significantly.  But, at the end of the day the primary responsibility of an Army Officer is to ensure his/her troops are trained and prepared for combat.  Additional responsibilities of an Army Officer include:

1. Collective Training: Army Officers are responsible for planning, resources, executing and assessing collective training in their unit.  Collective training is training conducted at the squad level and higher.  Whereas NCOs typically focus on individual training, Army Officers ensure their units can function as a unit, performing collective tasks cohesively.  An example of an individual task is qualifying with your assigned weapon.  An example of a collective task is defending your area of operations.  A collective task is normally a combination of individual tasks.

2. Mission Planning: Officers conduct the Military Decision Making Process and Troop Leading Procedures in order to conduct mission planning.  They draft, write and publish Operation Orders and Warning Orders.  They lead staffs through the mission planning process.  In essence, they develop the plan that their subordinates must execute.

3. Leader Development: Officers are responsible for training their subordinate Officers and NCOs.  They conduct classes, counseling and oversee the Officer Professional Development Program and NCO Professional Development Program.  They develop future Army leaders and prepare their people for positions of increased responsibility.

4. Property Accountability: Officers “sign for” and “account for” Army Property.  In most cases, they are the primary hand receipt holder.  They have the responsibility to maintain and account for their assigned equipment at all times.  This means they must conduct inventories, sub-hand receipt the property to subordinates and make sure it is stored properly and cared for.

5. Leadership & Management: Officers are leaders and mangers.  They command units and lead staffs.  They set the tone for their organization or section.  They get things done through others.

6. Unit Readiness: Officers handle unit readiness.  This includes equipment and personnel readiness.  Officers make sure their unit is trained.  They make sure their people and equipment are prepared to deploy anywhere in the world at moment’s notice.

7. Soldier Morale: Officers are ultimately responsible for soldier morale.  They track the health, welfare and morale of their unit to make sure their subordinates have proper food, clothing and shelter.  They deal with problems as they arise.  They monitor the morale in their units by talking with soldiers, walking around, giving Unit Climate Surveys, and seeking input from subordinate leaders.  They write and approve awards and establish recognition programs for good performing soldiers.

8. Enforce Army Standards: Officers enforce the Army standards in their unit.  They handle the administrative and UCMJ in their units.  They conduct/oversee court-martials and Article 15’s.  They provide counseling and formal/written reprimands.  They are the ones who decide what punishment someone gets for doing something wrong.

These are the primary Army Officer responsibilities I am aware of.  Ultimately, the Army Officer is responsible for everything that happens or fails to happen in their unit.  They are the folks who lead Army units, enforce Army standards, and ensure their units are prepared to accomplish their wartime mission.

Are there any more I may have missed? Please post your comments and questions below. Thank you.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Responsibilities of an Army Officer”

  1. I find it disappointing that officers are sometimes overlooked or under-regarded back home for what they do. I didn’t realize the level of responsibility and moreover dedication to the service and protection of our nation it takes to become an officer (and be good at it!). From leading troops, boosting morale, and being accountable to training and the rest of it, these men and women certainly deserve appreciation.

  2. This was a great list of responsibilities. One thing I must add to all of this is: as an officer, you must always be on your best behavior. Both other soldiers, and the general public are watching. Officers represent the Army and when one officer is out of line, it makes the whole Army look bad. This all falls into the leadership and management class that you posted. Great leaders are always aware of their words and actions.

  3. Candace Ginestar

    Soldier care is top in my book. If you take care of your Soldiers and develop your leaders, the mission WILL get done, they will train – because they want to work for you, hard. They will make sure of that!

  4. Amy Skalicky

    Seeing an officer’s responsibilities listed out like this makes me appreciate just how full an officer’s plate is. In my opinion, mission planning and unit readiness would rank as the top two in terms of importance, and the most time consuming. There is no readiness without a plan, and I think unit readiness speaks for itself. Unit readiness is very broad, when you think about it, and this alone is a lot to shoulder. Officers must be very competent to perform these tasks, as well as the other on the list.

  5. Katelyn Hensel

    I’m trying to rank which quality or skill would be the best and most important of the above eight. Soldier Morale is a pretty big one. I know that once home, PTSD is a terrible issue that soldiers have to deal with, and I feel like if their officer was skilled in keeping track of the health and welfare of their unit to the best of their ability that could be reduced significantly.

    1. I would say the biggest responsibility is making sure his or her troops are prepared for combat and then getting the job done in combat, when it counts. Of course, Soldier morale is right up there with those things.

  6. It’s easy to think of an Army Officer in the big picture, but not what it means day to day to have that title. The eight points you break down here are very helpful in getting people to see where their own strengths and areas for improvement might be with regard to their position as a future Army Officer.

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