You can’t and shouldn’t be a Company Commander forever.
Even though it’s a fun and rewarding job, you still need to actively manage your career.
Besides, the longer you stay in the job, the less effective you will be.
At some point, normally around 18-24 months, you will plateau, be burnt out, and gradually start to lose your effectiveness.
Company Command is a marathon. Although 12 to 24 months of command seems short, your decisions should be deliberate so that your impact is anchored into your company’s DNA. ~ Zippia
In the Army National Guard, Officers typically serve as Company Commanders for 18 to 36 months.
The minimum is typically 12 months.
In my opinion, the ideal amount of time in command is approximately 18-24 months.
Some people might disagree, but I think 18 months is the best.
The time period is not the most important thing though.
Instead, what you learn, who you become, and what you accomplish are much more important than HOW LONG you stay in command.
Never forget that.
More importantly, you will not be an Army Captain forever.
Most Army Captains stay at that rank for between five-seven years, with a minimum time in grade of four years.
If you want to be competitive for future promotions, it’s important to realize that you need to have a variety of experiences as an Army Captain.
If you know that you’re only going to be a Army Captain for five to seven years, you should at a minimum have the following jobs:
- 1-2 years as a Battalion Staff Officer
- 2-3 years in Company Command
- 1-2 years in either Assistant Brigade Staff, Instructor, Aide-de-Camp, etc.
In addition, you will have your military education requirements to complete; specifically, the Army Captain’s Career Course (typically four to six months).
This puts you on a restrictive schedule, so you must manage your time effectively.
If you want a successful career as a part-time Army Officer, and you want to be competitive for promotion to the rank of Major and above, you need a game-plan.
For instance, if you were an Army Captain for 18 months before you became a Company Commander, you know that you’ll have at least another 30-42 months in the rank of Captain.
In the example above, you know you could be a Company Commander for 18-24 months.
After that, you could start searching for a Major slot or find another Army Captain job to round out your experience.
Another thing to consider is that when you are a Company Commander for a long time (more than 24 months) you are holding up other Officers from moving into Company Command positions.
I’ve seen examples where some people were in command for 5-7 years.
Personally, I think that’s wrong.
It’s not good for the unit, the Company Commander, or for other Officers trying to advance their career.
If you know how long you should be in Company Command, you can communicate with your Rater (Battalion Commander) and come up with a game-plan.
He or she will respect the fact you have a game-plan and are actively managing your career.
In conclusion, leaving command is an important step in your career progression.
Although you will miss your Soldiers and responsibilities, it’s very important to round out your Company Grade Officer experience with several other job positions.
What are your thoughts about leaving Company Command?
Leave a comment and let us know.
We appreciate all comments and questions.
Other posts you may enjoy:
- U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command (INSCOM): 10 Cool Facts
- U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (ATEC): 11 Cool Facts
- U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC): 10 Cool Facts
- The Army Acquisition Officer Career Path: What You Should Know
- 10 Leadership and Career Lessons I Learned from my Army NCOs
Former Army Major (resigned)
Our Books & Training Courses
Recommended Reading List
Earn Extra Money
Lose Weight Today!
5 thoughts on “When to Leave Company Command”
There will be pressure on a new Company Commander to stay where he is by his superiors if he's running a top notch company. He has to be in charge of his career and take other posts to round out his military knowledge.
If you spend all your time in one unit or job you will begin to stagnate. On the other hand don't forget about your current duties as you plan out your career. Remember while your busy mapping out your career there are dozens of people under your command who also have careers and families.
Not everyone is good at command and the concept of rotating captains throug company command just to punch their ticket is idiotic…..and it shows……for those officers who are superb commanders they should remain in their posts for at least three years whereas some officers some leave ASAP or simply remain on staff where they can’t cause harm.
I agree with you that not everyone is prepared or a good fit to be a Company Commander!
But I also don’t think you should punish a good officer by keeping them in command an extended period of time simply because they are good at what they do.
They also need to round out their experience, and have other jobs, so they are prepared for positions of increased responsibility.
It’s kind of a double edged sword!
To me, when Company Commanders stay in the position for too long, it is similar to people staying in Congress or the Senate for long periods of time. They become useless and are just filling a position that another person could do more efficiently. I am in full agreement with you on this, and I believe that there should be time restraints put on these positions. Yes, maybe there are one or two that are still great at the job even years later, but for the most part, it is best that they move on after 2 years.
This article is very helpful for career path planning in a post-Company Commander position. Thinking ahead is the best way to pave a great path as a part-time Army Officer, or any career. I like that you stress military education and the role it has. Nothing like getting lined up for your next role and finding out you are missing a critical component, like military education.