New Branching System?

Discussion in 'Military Academy - USMA' started by Gryffinmom, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. Gryffinmom

    Gryffinmom Member

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    Can someone explain the new branching system? My son had mentioned that it had changed and that class rank was not as important as before but I am not clear on any of the details. Thanks.
     
  2. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    From what I understand, you essentially apply to be commissioned into a branch and a panel of officers from within that branch will review your file and decide whether you're accepted into the branch or not. I caveat this with the fact that this was explained to me briefly by a cadet. I'm sure AF or another cadet could shed some light.
     
  3. Szpieg

    Szpieg Member

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    Yeah it is in a pilot phase right now. Basically it is more of an application now where you write short statements pertaining to what the branch wants. Then a panel of officers from the branch review the file and give you and interview.
     
  4. mvt93

    mvt93 Member

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    Another change they are toying with is having cadets explore what branches they might be interested in earlier. For example, they made us plebes rank our branch preferences. Apparently, they will look at our top choices and link us up with officer representatives from those respective branches.
     
  5. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    Each branch was given their opportunity to submit the criteria they wish to be used for acceptance into them. They each submitted one to six (Military Intelligence only submitted class rank as a criteria while Infantry submitted all six with class rank being the least important).

    Packets are submitted by cadets including a summary of their performance at the academy, a review by a member of the faculty of choice (sent directly to the board and not seen by the cadet), peer review(s) of choice, and 3 small 100-150ish word essays. The panels are composed of members of the faculty who voluntueered to help judge the anonymous files.

    Branching consists of three rounds. On round 1, cadets submit their top 3 choices and the branches they chose review them. The branches then submit a Yes or a No to each cadet who chose them. If a cadet's first choice said Yes, the cadet is automatically branched into that choice. If a cadet's second or third choice says Yes but first choice says No, the cadet can accept either of their acceptances or decide to move on to round 2.

    Round 2: Same as round one except cadets put in their top 6 choices.

    Round 3: Filled in the old system. All remaining cadets are put into the availible slots based on class rank.

    They said about 70% of cadets are expected to be branched on round 1, 20% on round 2, and 90% on round 3. The bottom 25% of each branch is still charged for ADSO slots if the branch volunteered for the option.

    In addition to this, cadets also submit their preferences every fall and receive counseling throughout the year to introduce and inform cadets more on branches so they have a more informed decision.
     
  6. sweettooth

    sweettooth Parent

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    How will branch night work then if this is a multi step process? It seems most of the cadets will already know there branch selection prior to the actual night. Also how will the detailed selections from the combat support branches into one of the combat arms branches work? Will the cadet's file be reviewed by both boards? For example will a cadet wishing to be detailed into infantry or armor fill out a top 3 primary combat support branch selections and a top three primary arms branches? It seems like this process hurts the high GPA cadets who are already cows most as they have to reevaluate their portfolio in the next year to maximize their chances at their top branch selection whereas in the prior system they were well placed to get their top selection. I noticed this doesn't apply to the current Firsties.
     
  7. America's Finest

    America's Finest USMA Cadet

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    They did explain branch detailing much but they did go into it a bit. From what they said, branch detail slots will be handled separately after the branches are handed out.

    They also did not go into branch night but did acknowledge that it will be different now. The new branching system is giving me flashbacks of my USMA application. I can imagine shortly after each round, I will be playing the all too familiar waiting game for that BFE next year. :biggrin: And Yes, Firsties this year will branch under the old style. A pilot of a little over 100 firsties is being conducted to test out the new system and find kinks early one but they will still receive their real branches based on class rank.

    The new system is supposed to prevent the 4.0 cadet who never leaves his room and barely gets by on his APFT from getting a branch like Infantry over the 2.5, stellar athlete, with a vast amount of leadership experience as team captain who excels in military classes and tasks but just doesn't get physics and writting history papers. It does suck for the current classes who "had the basketball hoop moved after they started taking the shot" but there is method to the madness and the individual "hurt" they receive is negligible compared to the (theoretical) benefit the Army (via more successful officers within that branch) and soldiers overall (less lives lost due to officers being sent to the field they show they will excel in).
     
  8. sweettooth

    sweettooth Parent

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    I agree with you AF but I would also add that I think it's a way of increasing the number of minority cadets in branches that close out quickly.
     
  9. USMA2016

    USMA2016 Appointee - Class of 2016

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    With this new branching system, will some academic majors be better prepared and geared toward a specific branch?

    For example, would the Signal Corps go looking for Computer Science and Electrical Engineering majors to branch signal?
     
  10. mtnman17

    mtnman17 USMA Appointee 2015

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    From what they told us, yes, Signal would probably prefer a CS guy over an international relations guy. Engineers would take a Engineer student before they took a history major. They look at the whole picture now.
     
  11. scoutpilot

    scoutpilot Member

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    Infantry will prefer guys who majored in "dirt" and aviation will prefer guys who major in "awesome."
     
  12. BillSL

    BillSL USMA Class of 2016

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    Haha, scoutpilot!


    Now I was wondering, Infantry considers class rank as the least important aspect according to AF. That does not mean they prefer some specific major, right? I mean, would excellence in military training work better if one wants to become an Infantry Officer?
     
  13. Chockstock

    Chockstock "Forever One Team"

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    Some things I think are important

    *Don't choose your major with the thought of using it as an advantage to get a particular branch. Do what you enjoy and love! Being a mech engineer certainly helps you to branch engineers, but it will not guarantee it.

    *Diversify the breadth and depth of your experiences. Panel members may consider a cadet who has gone to one MIAD, one AIAD, and a FAEP/SAEP over another cadet who has gone to three MIADS. Interested in a particular club or major? Join that club as a plebe or yuk. Show a 3-4 year commitment to it as well as leadership experience in it if possible.

    *FOCUS ON GRADES. I was told this by a major on the infantry panel. Your class rank will still make up the bread and butter of your application. This new method is simply a way to give branches a say in who they accept as well as give people near the bottom a better shot at getting what they want.


    I'm really happy with this new system and I think it makes a lot more sense. After my class was briefed, I was pretty excited and motivated. It made me want to work much harder towards the branch that I want and I think it has had an influence on me. I hope they carry through with this system after they run the pilot test. Now, if someone with similar ingenuity and influence could make some changes in the mess hall menu...
     
  14. edhvoice

    edhvoice Founding Member

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    My son was toying with an Econ. Major, but decided on a Systems Eng. Major as he wants to branch Engineer. This is an example of how the new system is working to allign majors with some branches.
     
  15. alparent

    alparent Member

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    Is the new branching system for all the service academies or USMA specific?
     
  16. GoArmyBeatNavy

    GoArmyBeatNavy Member

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    From what I hear in the Army, just USMA.
     
  17. oldcorpsdad

    oldcorpsdad Member

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    Ahhh, the law of unintended consequences. I have a six pack I’d bet that this new method will not produce any quantifiable qualitative difference in the cadets each branch receives. I have watched (over 20 years) how some people seem to excel at each level of leadership. You really can’t tell for the most part. Some of my classmates who were marginal cadets as well as some who were all around super stars have both been promoted to General. Others who fit both categories washed out as LTs. I watched 4.0 hives who never left their rooms excel in Ranger school and huge studs from the football and lacrosse teams collapse under the stress. This continued in combat zones. I’ve seen quiet unassuming leaders who never failed, made good decisions and were a credit to the institution. I’ve seen star men who didn’t have the common sense of a gnat as well as star men who were practically worshiped by their troops for their sound judgment. I’ve seen rugby stars who made decisions where they were relieved of duty and others who excelled under the toughest circumstances. Some will excel at the platoon level but then not have the intellectual rigor to be a successful staff officer let alone plan a group movement to the latrine. It is a whole new world out there once you leave the gates for the last time. Your major will follow you for life. Do something you like. Most of you will not be in the Army for 20 years. We might like you to do 20, but most will not. All branches need good leaders. All need smart people. Regardless of your branch preferences, be physically fit. Max the PT test or come close. Study hard. Do what you enjoy, make good decisions. I’ll be curious to see how this pans out (and how many years it lasts before it changes back)
     
  18. billyb

    billyb Member

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    oldcorpsdad is spot on. I agree 100%. I saw guys that were bottom of the class at USMA become the best leaders in the Army (and in business). One of the most important things I have learned in my life is that you really excel at things you love. Choose the major and branch that you love the most and all will work out in the end.
     
  19. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

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    Agree no significant changes in the futre to the overall quality of the officer corps.

    It will be interesting to see how Aviation Branch selection plays out. When I graduated, I think Aviation Branch wen out around 600 (class rank). So with the new branching system, would some Aviator wannabes believe they need to pick technical majors to increase their chances of getting aviaiation but at the same time reduce their chances by getting lower GPA. One my roommates was a Political Science major and flies AH-64 now, but I doubt that he would have graduated if he was an Engineering major.
     
  20. cisco

    cisco Member

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    Wasn't Ulysses S. Grant in the bottom of his class? He became the first 4-Star General in the United States.

    What Major would help best in going into Infantry? I would enjoy having a degree in Political Science, but I know I can excel in many other degrees just as well.
     

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