Having two sons go through ROTC I have followed with interest the branching process over the last seven years. There have been many changes over the year, some good and some bumps in the road. I have to say, from reading this board and another, this year seems to have had the highest level of branch satisfaction compared to previous years. My older son branched under the old system which included the dreaded "Dead Zone" For those not familiar they would fill 50% of the branch from the top of the OML, then fill the remaining from the bottom 50% mark of the OML down. This left a large Dead Zone for the more popular branches, if a cadet fell into that Dead Zone they had no chance at all of getting that branch. Cadets knew before they submitted their packet where they were on the OML. These cadets would then use previous year models to determine if they would fall into that Dead Zone and then would choose their branches accordingly, some called this "Gaming the System". With the new system they have gotten rid of that Dead Zone and do not release the OML so cadets do not know where they are on the list, no Gaming the System so to speak. They now select the first 45% from the top, then the next 10% from the ADSO's. The remaining slots are given out based on a branching model. The system was designed so cadets would now put on their list the branches they actually want, not what they think they will get. A cadet that would have been in the Dead Zone a few years ago now has a chance to still get one of the more competitive branches, and it seems to have worked that way this year. Last year was the first year of this new system, and it seems from watching the results last year that they were still working out the bugs. This year they seemed to have got it right. With 65% on the AD list getting their first choice and 94% getting one of their top three choices, the new system seems to have achieved what it had intended. The satisfaction among cadets seems a lot higher this year. I really think CC should be commended for how they handled branching this year, I hope this trend continues. Next year could be a little stressful with all the new changes to how the OML is put together. The new training, standardized testing, and changes in how things are calculated may take at least a year to work out the kinks, but at least they seemed to have a good system in place when it comes to actual branching. I have to admit, I am not sure my son or others would have received the branches they did under the old system. It was nice to see so many happy with the results this year. Of course not everyone received the news they wanted, that is to be expected in such a large community like AROTC. I would just like to say that I have great admiration for every cadet, whether they are AD or reserve, no matter what branch they have, your service to your country is an amazing thing and I thank you.