News: Army raises age limit, extends deadline for eligible OCS applicants
Story by Andrea Wales
FORT KNOX, Ky. - The Department of the Army has raised the age limit to 33 for eligible Active Component, in-service soldiers to apply for Officer Candidate School at the upcoming July OCS selection panel. Applicants must possess baccalaureate degree or higher.
The application deadline is June 21.
The customary age limit of 30 for AC applicants [set forth in Army Regulation 350-51, In Service OCS Program,] reflects the old requirement that, when they become commissioned officers, those without baccalaureate degrees will pursue their bachelor's degrees to completion.
However, now that a bachelor's degree is a requirement to apply for OCS, the age limit has been adjusted for the July panel since most in-service soldiers are over 30 by the time they earn their bachelor's degrees, according to Clifford M. Preetorius, the OCS program manager in the Officer Accessions Branch, which falls under the Officer Personnel Management Directorate at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
The next HQDA OCS Selection Panel is scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 2. The original deadline for packet submission of May 20 has been moved to June 21 to give more applicants the opportunity to complete local application procedures. Packets may only be submitted to the Army Knowledge Online, or AKO, folder.
Soldiers must check their personnel file in iPERMS, the Army's Interactive Personnel Electronic Records Management System, and have missing documents scanned in by their S-1/personnel.
HRC intends to release Selection Panel dates by MILPER Message in the near future.
To aid soldiers and S-1s in preparing packets and answering general questions, HRC officials plan to hold training and application sessions through Defense Connect Online, or DCO, online seminars. Dates of the webinars will be released with the MILPER Message announcing fiscal year 2014 Selection Panel dates.
"The Army is looking for high-speed, forward-thinking soldiers with unimpeachable character," Preetorius said. "Those are the ones we want to apply to OCS."
News of the age-limit increase doesn't affect prospective OCS applicants who aren't in the Army's Active Component: Reserve Component applications, which are submitted through the U.S. Army Reserve Command's Army Reserve Careers Division, are paneled through HRC, but the RC age limit for OCS is already at 34 [when appointed as a commissioned officer (AR 140-50)]. The U.S. Army Recruiting Command has a USAREC panel process for civilians who apply for Army OCS or Army Reserve OCS (AR 601-210). Army National Guard recruiters should be the initial point of contact for National Guard soldiers interested in OCS or civilians interested in joining the National Guard to attend OCS [National Guard Regulation (NGR) 351-5].
"As a commissioned officer, you will encounter new challenges that will enhance your leadership abilities and enable you to inspire and motivate others," said Jon A. Banco, the interim chief of the Officer Accessions Branch at HRC OPMD. "Seize this opportunity. Remember the June 21 deadline."
AC enlisted soldiers and warrant officers can find out how to apply to OCS by reading MILPER Message No. 12-380, MILPER Message 13-042 and MILPER Message No. 13-097. Visit the HRC website at http://www.hrc.army.mil and look under "Popular HRC Resources."