Top 9 Army Officer Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description

What are the most common Army Officer Duties, responsibilities and job description?  Army Officers have tons of responsibilities.  The specific responsibilities vary based upon duty assignment, but typically speaking there are certain things Army Officers are responsible for regardless of their duty position.  In the paragraphs below, I want to share some helpful insights about what Army Officers do.  The tasks are listed in no particular order.

# 1 Mission Planning

Officers are Army’s planners.  They conduct the Troop Leading Procedures and Military Decision Making Process and write Operations Orders for Soldiers to follow.

# 2 Collective Training

Army Officers are responsible for collective training.  The NCOs handle the individual training, but the Officers handle the collective training for their units.  These are tasks performed by multiple Soldiers at once.  All units have mission essential tasks.  These are tasks that are critical to accomplish the unit’s wartime mission.  Officers are responsible to make sure their unit is trained properly as individuals and as a unit.

# 3 Leader Development

Officers are responsible for developing their subordinate officers and NCOs.  This is done through counseling, job shadowing, professional development programs such as OPD or NCODP and on the job training. Their job is to develop tomorrow’s leaders.

# 4 Develop Policies and Procedures

Officers write policies and procedures for their units.  This includes Standing Operating Procedures, Tactical SOPs and policy letters.

# 5 Enforce the Army Standards

Officers have a responsibility to enforce the Army Standards.  In most cases, the NCOs handle the common Soldier issues, but the Officers make sure their NCOs are doing their job and they take care of issues that get to their level.

# 6 Tacticians

Officers are tacticians.  The quickest way to know if you have a good Officers is in combat.  In garrison, the NCOs run the show, but in combat officers run the show.  Our ultimate job is to lead our troops in combat and fight and win our nation’s land wars.

# 7 Account for/Maintain Property and Equipment

Most officers sign for property and are responsible to safeguard it, account for it and maintain it properly.  We are normally the primary hand receipt holders.

# 8 Mission Accomplishment

At the end of the day, Army Officers are held responsible to make the sure the mission gets done, done right, and done on time.  This includes their personal job and the job of everyone working for them.

# 9 Supervisors

Most Army Officers are supervisors, leading anywhere from a few Soldiers to a few thousand Soldiers.  Most Officers personally supervise 2-10 people and oversee many others.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, Army Officers have a huge responsibility.  The nine things I mentioned above are the primary duties, responsibilities and job descriptions for today’s Army Officer. Ultimately, they are responsible to get the job done, whatever the job might be!

What are your thoughts?  Can you think of any other additional Army Officer Duties, responsibilities and job descriptions?  If so, please leave a comment to this post and let me know.  Thanks.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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7 thoughts on “Top 9 Army Officer Duties, Responsibilities and Job Description”

  1. There are too many officers that get to their units and really don’t know the role of what it means to be an officer. You have the kinds that micro manage everything to the point of making the NCO’s jobs almost entirely impossible. Most of these types of officers tend to be LT’s, mostly because they’re new. Over time, most officers I’ve found tend to realize that they need to take a bit more of a hands off approach when it comes to individual training. That’s the NCO’s job. Let them handle it.

    1. You are spot on Chad. One of the NCOs’ primary job is to teach their new Platoon Leader how to do things (and what to do). This comes with lots of hands on training and real world experience. As a new Lieutenant, I didn’t really know what my job was. Sometimes I got too involved with NCO business. Fortunately, I had experienced Platoon Sergeants who kept me in line and showed me what I was supposed to do.

      Chuck Holmes

  2. One of my former platoon leaders, who had spent several years as an active duty enlisted Soldier before joining the Guard and going through OCS, made what I thought to be a good point about much of the initial training officers receive. (He was referring primarily to OCS and the Officer Basic Course, which has now been replaced by BOLC.) He felt he was taught more about being an NCO than he was about being an officer because during training, the candidates or new lieutenants rotate through leadership positions–team leader, squad leader, platoon sergeant, platoon leader, and so forth. Since there are few officer positions at this level, trainees spend a lot more time doing NCO duties than officer duties. I realize that a lot of that development comes during the first couple of assignments, but as a first sergeant I’d be interested to hear some opinions from officers on this topic.

    1. You are spot on. In ROTC, OCS, and even BOLC, many new Candidates and Lieutenants are taught more about the Team Leader, Squad Leader, Platoon Sergeant and other NCO functions, than anything else. While those experiences are helpful, I think it would be better to do more “officer” type training.

      Chuck Holmes

    2. Candace Ginestar

      You are absolutely correct! I went through accelerated OCS and then Quartermaster BOLC. As a former NCO, I was actually never put into any ‘officer roles’ at OCS. I was told that I was being put as 1SG or PSG during crucial times in the field because they needed someone to keep the SLs in line – actually, I can only recall 2 times out of the 5+ that I got an actual evaluation card. I’m not sure if they were blowing smoke or not, but as I was going through the training, I realized that #1 some people were not meant to become officers (and did, anyway) and #2 the training was more focused on the NCO positions. Truth be told, in that setting, it is easier to evaluate someone. They would frequently rotate someone from SL to CO and then get in their face because the person was confused about the transition.

      I think that since it is necessary to have all the NCO and Officer positions evaluated in order to get the amount of people through their required number of evaluations, it needs to be explained better on what an officer’s duties actually are in comparison to an NCOs. Although the National Guard’s OCS program is for prior service Soldiers, only about 30% of my class were prior NCOs, and maybe 40% of us had deployed before.

      1. This is all true, but did you stop to think that the reason for putting officers in those positions during training was to help them develop an understanding for those they lead and the capabilities that should be expected or not expected of them. I think the system is very well designed from that perspective. The hard part is learning to step out of that role when you actually take on the officer roll, but that is a personal growth issue that I think everyone has to go through. You can tell the officers that do not have experience regarding the NCO duties because it takes them longer to understand what is a reasonable expectation and what isn’t.

        1. Scott,

          I think it’s good to know what your subordinates know. So putting cadets/candidates in those positions is good. But they should also get a significant amount of experience as an Officer too. That way when they get into the job they don’t have to figure everything out through trial and error. Thanks for the comment.


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