Soldiers that serve on our Transition Teams (TTs) and our Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) are developing exactly the type of knowledge, skills and abilities that are vital for our Army to be effective in an era of persistent conflict. These are tough, demanding positions and the members of these teams are required to influence indigenous or surrogate forces as they execute missions that are of vital interest to this Nation. The tasks associated with Transition Teams, from direct combat to stability operations, will be a major part of full spectrum engagement in theaters of interest now and for the foreseeable future. I want to ensure that the officers that lead these teams are recognized and given the credit they deserve.
I am directing that the Major’s positions on these teams be immediately designated and codified in DA PAM 600-3, for all branches, as Key and Developmental (KD). Any officer holding one of these positions will be considered “KD” for his or her branch as a Major. Additionally, these officers will be afforded the opportunity, should they desire, to hold an additional 12/24 months of a branch specific KD position (e.g. XO, S-3, etc). Our promotion board guidance already stresses the importance of these positions and this additional information will be added to all upcoming board instructions. Additionally, because the success of these teams requires our best leaders, I have directed HRC to award Centralized Selection List (CSL) Credit for LTCs serving specifically in the TT Commander positions that have direct leadership responsibility for a training/transition team.
The implications of this decision -making an embedded trainer billet equal to an S3 or XO- will be sweeping across the Army. Training host nation forces has never been a central tenet of Army doctrine –it has been traditionally reserved for SF. Recognizing that advising host nation forces is now a central mission of the Army is another step in re-aligning the force to fight the war we are actually embroiled in. This is a crucial step to carrying out the COIN doctrine, and (more importantly ingraining it into the Army bureaucracy).
This lets the Army captain and major that take training and advisory billets with host nation forces compete for promotion against the officers that get company command, or XO and S3 billets in line units. In the long term, this will mean that future LTCs and COLs with this invaluable host nation training experience will be in command of battalions and brigades. This is good news for the Army, and for America.