Signals

Officer notes

Selection boards

Here are the Army’s officer central-selection boards scheduled for late first quarter and second quarter, fiscal year 2001:

Late first quarter

Reserve Officers Training Corps accessions Nov. 6-17
Captain Nov. 7-22
Defense Leadership and Management Program Nov. 28-Dec. 8
National Guard federal recognition and Army Reserve general officer promotion selection Dec. 5-6

Second quarter

Colonel CSS command Jan. 17-26, 2001
General officer Army Reserve assignment Jan. 17-26, 2001
Senior Service College civilian Jan. 23-26, 2001
Brigadier general Feb. 6-15, 2001
Lieutenant colonel/ major selective continuation Feb. 27-March 20, 2001

Eligible officers should ensure their files contain a current Army photo, their most recent officer-evaluation report and an accurate officer record brief. Outdated photos and inaccurate information on ORBs are negative indicators.

Officers with questions on their files should contact their assignment officers at Total Army Personnel Command:

Signal branch (Branch 25) DSN 221-0645
Systems automation (Functional Area 53) DSN 221-3114
Military Acquisition Management Branch DSN 221-3131
Civilian Acquisition Management Branch DSN 221-2769

Point of contact is Lindsey Phelps, DSN 780-8176.

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Professor-of-military-science boards

Cadet Command is looking for qualified field-grade officers for professor-of-military-science duty in Cadet Command. Serving as a PMS provides qualified officers an opportunity to influence the quality and direction of our junior officers while they are still cadets. While these cadets decided to serve in the Army for the next few years, it has become crucial that they be exposed to strong leaders who exemplify the values, ethics and professional standards of our military. Showcasing our best field-grade officers will help solidify these cadets’ initial perceptions of why they chose the Army as a career in the first place.

An annual selection board selects all PMSs. Applications are submitted to PERSCOM and must include:

Signed and completed PMS preference sheet, http://www.rotc.monroe.army.mil/documents/P&A/PMS/post%20prefsheet%20fy01.pdf;
Updated performance microfiche;
Updated photo;
Updated ORB;
Official undergraduate and postgraduate transcripts.

Minimum requirements for becoming a PMS are a Military Education Level 4 and a master’s degree or higher.

Officers selected for battalion command may do one of the following:

Accept PMS duty for one year only;
Decline PMS duty;
Decline battalion command.

More information may be found on these websites:

PMS board info – http://www.rotc.monroe.army.mil/pmsboard;
PMS board requirements – http://www-perscom.army.mil/opsig/3ltc.htm;
PMS school vacancies – http://www.rotc.monroe.army.mil/pa/ATCC-PM/vacancies.asp;
General information – lieutenant colonel assignments desk webpage, http://www-perscom.army.mil/OPsig/1sigcon.htm (or contact MAJ Bruce Crawford at DSN 221-5683, commercial (703) 325-5683, fax 221-7909 or electronic mail crawforb@hoffman.army.mil).

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Signal Regiment affiliation

As most of you know, the Army operates under a regimental system, where each officer is affiliated with a particular regiment. Normally an officer becomes affiliated with a regiment based on his or her basic branch. The concept and structure of the regimental system serves as a backdrop for the formulation of other principles and symbols of heraldry which contribute to a soldier’s identification with his or her regiment or corps. Also, opportunities to serve in recurring assignments within a regiment are increased through regimental affiliation.

Army Regulation 600-82 governs the Army regimental system.

As part of the Officer Personnel Management System XXI implementation, AR 600-82 was changed to allow officers who are career-field designated into a functional area to affiliate with the regiment associated with that functional area. For example, Functional Area 24, information-systems engineering, and FA 53, information-systems management, are aligned under the Signal Regiment. Therefore officers who are CFDd into FA 24 or FA 53 may request to affiliate with the Signal Regiment. This change to the regulation also applies to officers prior to OPMS XXI who chose to single-track in FA 53.

For those interested, there are two methods for requesting Signal Regiment affiliation. The first is to submit a Department of the Army Form 4187 through your chain of command to your branch. In the remarks block of the DA Form 4187 simply state, "I request to be affiliated with the Signal Regiment."

The second method for requesting regimental affiliation is to visit your local personnel-service center. See the officer-records clerk who is responsible for maintaining your file and ask the clerk to make the appropriate change to your ORB. Once the clerk checks your CFD or single-track status, the change can be input locally, and the clerk can print you a new ORB showing your Signal regimental affiliation.

Lastly, once you have affiliated with the Signal Regiment, let us know and the Signal Center will recognize you by mailing you a regimental-affiliation certificate. To notify us of your affiliation, e-mail makowska@gordon.army.mil and include your name as you wish it on the certificate, plus a good mailing address.

POC is MAJ Alan Makowsky, FA 24/53 proponent manager, Office Chief of Signal, DSN 780-2267.

Enlisted notes

Career workshop

This year during Regimental Week (mid-June), Office Chief of Signal’s Enlisted Division hosted a career-map and promotion-packet workshop. The objectives of this forum, composed of about 20 sergeants major and OCOS’ enlisted staff, were to meticulously critique these documents, verify their accuracy and provide guidance to support Signal soldiers in our current Signal structure.

Career-management field career maps are specific, sequential guidelines that depict operational and educational objectives and goals that enlisted soldiers may use to remain competitive throughout their career – from private to sergeant major. Promotion packets are groups of bullets that represent, by military-occupation specialty, the operational position – along with military and civilian education goals – soldiers should have obtained when competing for sergeant first class, master sergeant and sergeant major.

Promotion packets are reviewed and updated annually by OCOS career managers before board convention. These packets don’t determine the criteria for promotion, however; they are meant to enhance the knowledge of board members across all Signal MOSs relative to optimum operational assignments and self-development. This, for example, will allow a board member who progressed as a 31C to refamiliarize himself or herself with the progression opportunities or obstacles for a noncommissioned officer serving in MOS 74C or 31U (or other MOSs) and will foster equitable evaluation of all eligible NCOs regardless of MOS.

The workshop was a great success. Everyone agreed this is an area that requires particular attention. We gained invaluable input from the sergeants major who attended, and from those who were unable to attend, via email and telephone conversations.

It’s important to note that in the end, the career maps and promotion packets will support each other. Soldiers will be able to view the career maps for guidance, while board members will be able to use promotion packets as an attribute in ensuring the Signal Regiment and the Army is armed with the best-of-the-best leaders for the Army After Next.

We are evaluating all comments and suggestions to determine feasibility, and we will continue to communicate with participants to ensure that absolutely nothing is lost from this experience. We believe a clear representation of challenging opportunities and the resulting expectations are huge motivators for our fellow Signal soldiers, and we’re committed to providing user-friendly, current guidance for sustainment and progression to our initial-term and career-oriented soldiers.

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Signal training and MOS redesign

by SFC Mark Crandall

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, "All things must change to something new." As members of the Signal Regiment, we must understand the Army is changing to support its mission on the future battlefield. The Signal Regiment must also change to best support the "fight." As the Signal personnel proponent, the OCOS has taken the challenge to design future training strategies and future Signal MOS structure.

Our challenge grew out of conversations to consider Signal enlisted structure under the Warfighter Information Network-Tactical. The Enlisted Personnel Management System XXI study has also identified key issues that will become Army and Signal challenges. By proactively considering these challenges, we anticipate meeting future Signal Regiment needs within the context of Army guidelines. Although WIN-T provides us the Signal model, we will support other modernization/digitization initiatives and will maintain support for legacy systems.

The Reserve Component represents 49 percent of the Signal Regiment, making it necessary to ensure any action taken doesn’t adversely effect the RC. Ideally, any training and/or structure development should benefit both the Active Component and the RC.

We began by looking toward an objective year, and to allow time for reasonable change we chose the year 2020. Even as we were focusing our vision on this objective year, the Pentagon had recently been forced to expand its Joint Vision 2010 to JV 2020. The JV 2020 document attempts to define how information technology will "substantially change the conduct of military operations. (The Defense Department) foresees profound changes in the information environment occurring by 2020." JV 2020 places great emphasis on training and education. Our objective must support this and provide a solid base for the MOS training and structure redesign.

We also want to re-evaluate the required responsibilities, knowledge and skills associated with a soldier skill level. At the core of our recommendations is the assumption that technical training can be provided for each SL. This requires inserting a new technical-training course for our Signal sergeants (SL20), closely timed with the soldier’s promotion from specialist/corporal to sergeant. SL training, computer-based training, assignment-oriented training, distance learning, distributed training through exportable training packages and other training methodologies not yet fully developed are critical to the successful implementation of our objective restructure.

It has become apparent the Signal Regiment can’t jump to such an objective in one step. We will maintain our focus on the objective but transition there through an interim, then threshold, change. This allows us to make the necessary near-term changes to Signal training and MOS structure to meet near-term requirements and position ourselves for the objective.

More importantly, it’s apparent we must afford all Signaleers the opportunity for input into the future Signal training and MOS structure redesign. OCOS began this by briefing the sergeants-major panel during Regimental Week 2000. Beginning early in fiscal year 2001, OCOS plans to travel to the 10 division Signal battalions and Army Signal Command. The purpose of this is to give Signal soldiers in these units the opportunity to hear the latest version of the Signal training and MOS redesign briefs, interview soldiers for input to these changes and receive feedback on our vision.

Information technology’s growth drives us to adapt new visions to support and use these technologies to dominate the modern battlefield. This "vector check" will ensure we adapt the best vision. King Whitney Jr. said, "Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better."

Let’s be confident and make things better.

SFC Crandall is MOS 31P/S/T career manager in OCOS’ Enlisted Division at the Signal Center.

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Reclassifying to 74B

MOS 74B, information-systems operator-analyst, is probably the most popular MOS in the Army today. With authorizations expected to grow more than 3,000 positions in the next few years, the future certainly looks good for soldiers holding this MOS.

There are two ways of requesting change to your primary MOS. If you’re within 12 months of your end-term-of-service, you may be eligible for the re-enlistment training option. If not within your re-enlistment window, you may eligible to request reclassification.

PERSCOM regularly publishes messages detailing what are known as re-enlistment/ reclassification "in" and "out" calls for enlisted MOSs. When an MOS is overstrength at a particular grade and there is little chance normal attrition will reduce the numbers, an out-call is issued. This means soldiers are eligible to leave for a shortage MOS. When an MOS is understrength at a particular grade, an in-call is issued. An in-call means the MOS is short and soldiers can request that particular MOS.

If there’s a "yes" out-call for your primary MOS and a "yes" in-call for the MOS you want (74B), you can submit a DA Form 4187 and request reclassification. It’s important that the in- and out-calls are for your current grade.

Reclassification normally requires that you attend advanced individual training to become MOS-qualified. In this case, the MOS-producing school is the School of Information Technology (formerly known as Signal Center Computer Science School) located at Fort Gordon, Ga. Approval of reclassification will depend on you meeting requirements and the availability of MOS training seats designated for in-service soldiers. Each year PERSCOM allocates training seats to the MOS-producing schools based on projected student loads. Most of these seats are for new recruits; a portion is set aside our sister services and allies. The remaining seats are reserved for soldiers who are reclassifying into a new MOS.

When you request reclassification based on the in- and out-calls, you must meet the eligibility requirements and there must be an available seat in an upcoming AIT class. If there isn’t a seat, the reclassification request will be denied. Because of its popularity, seats for MOS 74B go very quickly.

What if you don’t need the training? What if you have attended all sorts of training courses, taken college courses, or maybe even have a degree? If this is your case, you may apply as an exception to policy for a waiver of the resident MOS training by submitting a DA Form 4187 to OCOS at Fort Gordon. Ensure that your request includes copies of all the training you’ve received, evaluation reports detailing the work you’ve done with computer and networks, college transcripts showing the classes you’ve taken, and anything else that would help demonstrate your training and knowledge match what the Army would provide you in AIT. You can check out what is offered at the 74B AIT course by visiting SIT’s website at http://www.gordon.army.mil/sit/. The school’s course catalog outlines the training provided.

When your DA Form 4187 arrives at Fort Gordon, it’s reviewed by the career-management NCO for CMF 74. We check to determine if you meet the basic requirements of Paragraph 10-209 in DA Pamphlet 611-21. The most important of these requirements are the skill-technical score of 100 or higher and completion of high-school-level algebra. A copy of your enlisted-records brief and a high-school or college transcript showing you completed an algebra course must also be included with your 4187.

If your training and experience mirror what SIT trains at AIT, you’ll receive a memorandum signed by OCOS’ director granting a waiver of training. A copy of this waiver must be included with your request for reclassification, which is submitted to the soldier-actions section located at your PSC. The PSC will process your application, and if you’re eligible, forward it to PERSCOM for consideration.

What happens if you have all the training but don’t have an out-call for your MOS? If training is available, there still a way to reclassify; see Paragraph 4 of the in-and out-calls message, which contains exceptions. Remember these are exceptions to policy. When submitting your 4187 based on one of these exceptions, you must explicitly state why your request is based on an exception to policy.

Your career counselor or personnel-action center can provide valuable assistance in preparing the documents needed. To stay abreast on MOS 74B and other Signal MOSs, visit our website at http://www.gordon.army.mil/ocos/ediv/default.htm.

This "enlisted note" based on an article by MSG Laurence Essick, former CMF 74 career manager in OCOS’ Enlisted Division, published in Army Communicator’s Fall 1999 edition.

Acronym QuickScan
AIT – advanced individual training
AMSC – Army Management Staff College
AR – Army regulation
CFD – career-field designated
CMF – career-management field
CSS – combat service support
DA – Department of the Army
DSN – Defense Switched Network
FA – functional area
JV – Joint Vision (2010)
MOS – military-occupation specialty
NCO – noncommissioned officer
OCOS – Office Chief of Signal
OPMS XXI – Officer Personnel Management System XXI
ORB – officer record brief
PERSCOM – Personnel Command
PMS – professor of military science
POC – point of contact
PSC – personnel-service center
RC – Reserve Component
SIT – School of Information Technology
SL – skill level
WIN-T – Warfighter Information Network-Tactical

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04/04/12

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