U.S. Army Medical Department, Medical Service Corps
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Guidance and Initiatives

Leader Development > Guidance and Initiatives

As with any organization, the Medical Service Corps, leadership has inherent responsibilities. One of these responsibilities is to provide policy guidance and initiatives that support the success of our Corps, its officers and the value we bring to our Army. In support of my four priorities, we are pursuing practices that facilitate leader development and personal growth, however, there is still much to do. During this past year we have developed policies and practices that were instituted or will be implemented this coming year. We will continue to refine some of these initiatives over time.

Second Lieutenant Initial Assignment

The opportunity to learn as a lieutenant is limited. These are critical and formative years. The focus for these young officers should be the development of troop-leading skills and to gain exposure and experience in our Army's combat maneuver formations and field units. Therefore, our practice for administrative AOCs in FY01 was to assign our new 2LT's to TOE units. The expected outcome is to build a solid foundation for our young officers and our Army's future.

Allied Sciences Initial Assignment

Our allied science officers have special skills that contribute to our MSC and Army mission. Because many of these AOCs are of a low density (often only one deep) in multiple organizations, we often place them in difficult initial assignments without the level of support they deserve. Our intent is to place these officers in assignments with at least one other like AOC officer to ensure solid development and minimize risk to mission accomplishment and enhance officer success.

Long Term Health Education Training (LTHET)

LTHET is a significant program offered to develop MSC officers with the skill sets required now and in the future. As we examine educational opportunities we must ensure they meet the needs of Army missions and functions. Additionally, these programs must satisfy the academic and industry standards/ requirements for our clinicians, scientists and administrative officers.


Beginning in FY 02 all MSC officers selected for Army funded education programs will be assigned a MSC preceptor by their respective consultant. These preceptors will be familiar with the selected course of study and assist with curriculum, thesis selection, and resources. In some cases they may be alumni or sit on the faculty committee. The desire is to maintain contact with our officers and lend support as required.

Utilization Assignment

Providing officers the opportunity to gain academic credentials is significant. If we do not reinforce new academic knowledge with practical application then we are not serving the Army or the officer. Every officer will know the follow-on assignment associated with their graduate degree program. During the initial request for applicants, follow-on assignments will be listed with each program. The intent is to validate and reinforce the academic theory with the practical application to better support the Army and the AMEDD. MS Branch, PERSCOM in conjunction with each consultant will craft an assignment approximately one year before the completion of the graduate program.

Military Corresponding Studies and Degree Completion

Both these programs are critical to leader development and officer success. Our selection opportunity for both military and professional education is limited. We select about three per cent of our officers to attend Command and General Staff College and even a smaller percentage for Senior Service College. We also acknowledge that selection for a funded Masters Degree is limited. Therefore, a majority of our dedicated officers are committed to attaining these skills and credentials on their own. In the past we have taken this for granted. Our desire is to underwrite a new philosophy that supports our officers in attaining some of these professional education requirements during duty hours. In some instances work related projects can be the subject of classroom work. We must exploit these opportunities. We must understand and reinforce the value of these critical skills and MSC leaders must undertake the responsibility to ensure our officers who demonstrate the commitment to become better leader developed are supported.

Professional Postgraduate Short Courses Program (PPSCP)

Professional development is key to the continuing mission success of the MSC, AMEDD and Army. Our PPSCP affords us the opportunity to share timely and relevant information within the realm of an Area of Concentration (AOC), specialty or community. These courses often occur in a Tri-Service setting or in conjunction with a civilian professional body. In an effort to maximize our limited training funds, many of our AOC courses are only conducted bi-annually. This is particularly true of our larger AOCs. Therefore, it is imperative to maximize this opportunity for educating our officers on the latest information on an array of specific community-focused subjects. There are also other significant benefits to these courses. They become venues for mentoring and networking. Junior officers have access to senior officers in a non-threatening environment. It provides a forum to discuss opportunities, challenges and the possibilities for the future. Junior officers are also in a position to cultivate professional and personal relationships with their peers. The long-term benefits of these professional gatherings include some intangible gains, which demonstrate and reinforce the value of the PPSCP. We must continue to support the attendance of junior and senior officers to PPSCP.

Deputy Commander Administration (DCA) Selection

During FY01, a new process was developed and implemented to select and slate qualified officers to serve as DCAs in our clinics and MEDDACs. This change was dictated because candidates and commands deemed the FY00 process unsatisfactory. As such, a review of the process produced changes addressing qualifications by MTF category, civilian and military education standards and notification of selected personnel and their prospective commands. The new process in its entirety may be found on the MSC web page.

Functional Area 90

MSC/FA90 officers are a valued contributor to our AMEDD and our Army. All MSC officers must be recognized as the warfighters' resource and respected authority on their healthcare system - the continuum from foxhole to medical center. To achieve this competency the FA90 MSC officers must have a strong and credible presence in the Army's Divisions or any future battle formations the Army employs. We know our Army's future holds legacy, interim and objective forces. Our commitment to FA90 will follow suite. We are committed to supporting MSC officers serving in FA90 positions. However, this does not represent the final discussion concerning FA90 because we do not know what form the interim and objective forces will take. We cannot always fill recognized MSC FA90 authorizations. However, MS Branch will base assignment decisions on many factors, including FA90 opportunities, availability, and needs of the service. We are committed to developing health services officers with depth therefore these officers must broaden their skills beyond the division to learn how our AMEDD and Army functions by serving in Echelons Above Division (EAD) EAD and TDA assignments.


Many of our officers aspire to "command" and there are many opportunities at the company grade level in both TOE and TDA organizations. Commands are available to all MFA 67, Administrative AOC officers. In some instances, commands are appropriately coded for allied science officers to command. It is also important to note that not all MS officers must have command to be promoted. Again, this is particularly true for most allied science specialties. However, for those who have this privilege Company/Detachment command is a critical element in officer development. Successful Company command is also the key to opening the doors to many other opportunities in an officer's career. It can lead to LTHET, TWI, joint assignments, officer exchange programs and other opportunities coveted by individual officers.

At the field grade level Command is offered primarily through a HQDA/PERSCOM central board process. We have commands in both the TOE and TDA communities- Area Support Medical Battalions, Evacuation Battalions, Medical Logistics Battalions, and Main Support and Forward Support Battalions and Recruiting Battalions. There are also opportunities in non-centrally selected commands, such as Troop Commands, Science and Technology organizations in CHPPM and MRMC. The array of command opportunities at the Colonel level is greater than it has ever been. MS officers are now eligible to compete for Medical Brigades, Science and Technology commands, Installations and Level 1 and Level 2 Medical Treatment Facilities. However, to be competitive, officers must prepare themselves through a combination of assignments and military and specialty education and training.

Recognition and Awards

The opportunity to recognize good officers and their contributions should never be missed. That process in well entrenched via the chain of command in that we can nominate officers for formal awards and should whenever an officer's performance warrants it- sustained performance or impact. This is particularly true of our officers who have served honorably and are retiring from our Army and those will separate from service upon completion of their obligation. We should allow people to depart the Service with the belief that their contributions and service are appreciated.

There are many other ways to recognize officers in our Medical Service Corps. For junior officers there is the MSC Award of Excellence, Junior Officer Week, the MacArthur Leadership Award, and civilian professional organizations awards- Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS) and American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) to name two. Civilian professional organizations also afford us an opportunity to recognize mid-grade and senior officers as well. Mid-grade and senior officers are eligible for the Order of Military Medical Merit (O2M3) and The Surgeon General "9A" Designator. This is not a comprehensive listing of ways to recognize people but is indicative of the ways to take care of your officer.

The evolution of policies and practices will continue in the coming year. We are committed to developing processes that are open and equitable. As we learn more of the Army's and AMEDDS Transformation we will adapt new policies and refine old ones to accommodate the needs of those we serve and our officers.