Army selection board

Army selection board DEFAULT

Army Officers to Face More Scrutiny as Promotion Boards Gain Access to Restricted Personnel Files

Army officer promotion boards will have access, starting this month, to adverse information and restricted files when considering leaders for promotion, the Army said.

The change aligns the Army with Defense Department guidance mandating closer scrutiny of officers as they climb up the ranks, which took effect in December.

Similar changes are taking place in all Pentagon branches. In the Air Force, the new system went into effect in March.

In the past, sensitive or negative information was examined later in the promotion process, said Maj. Gen. Douglas Stitt, director of military personnel management for the Army.

Promotion boards previously only had access to information in an officer's performance folder. Now, boards will be able to see almost all substantiated adverse information and anything filed as restricted in an officer's human resource record, the Army said.

Those files would include guilty verdicts from courts-martial, letters of reprimand, relief of command and nonjudicial punishments. Boards also will be provided a summary of any substantiated investigations or inquiries.

"Officers will be notified of applicable adverse information and will be given an opportunity to submit matters for consideration by the promotion board," the Army said.

The change affects selection boards for the rank of major and above in the active component and the rank of colonel and above for the reserve components, the Army said.

Officers who have adverse actions in their record should be aware of it and consider submitting a rebuttal before going before a promotion board, Stitt said.

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Army Officer Selection Board

Military unit

Army Officer Selection Board(AOSB) is an assessment centre used by the British Army as part of the officer selection process for the regular army and Army Reserve and related scholarship schemes. The board is based at Leighton House, Westbury in Wiltshire, England in a dedicated camp. It is commanded by the President AOSB, a Colonel in the British Army, supported by a number of vice-presidents. The current President is Col. Lucy Giles.[1][2]

AOSB is an equivalent of the Admiralty Interview Board and the Officer and Aircrew Selection Centre of the Royal Air Force.


Main article: War Office Selection Boards

The AOSB has its roots in the War Office Selection Boards (WOSBs) of World War II. The WOSBs were created by Army psychiatrists and established in 1942. They involved candidates taking a three-day stay in a country house, where tests were administered including written tests of mental ability, questionnaires, Leaderless Group tests and interviews. Psychiatrists and some psychological components of the WOSBs were removed from the Boards after the war. The Army Officer Selection Board was known as the Regular Commissions Board (RCB).[3] In 1949, the RCB moved from Sussex to its current facilities at Leighton House in Westbury, Wiltshire. Both Regular and Army Reserve officers are screened here.[4]

Application process[edit]

Applicants for the British Army undergo initial suitability assessments, through computer-based tests and interviews, along a number of routes. All officer candidates will be required to attend AOSB at a point determined by the type of entry. Candidates for scholarship, Welbeck Defence Sixth Form College and professionally qualified officers will attend only one board; other entrants will be required to attend both a briefing board and a main board.

Candidates will usually have undertaken insight or familiarisation visits to appropriate units prior to attendance at the board.

Board structure[edit]

Candidates are divided into groups of 6 to 8, each supervised by a group leader who is a major or captain and who runs the activities and records evidence.

A board consists of one or two groups and is presided over by a president or vice-president, with Professionally Qualified Officer boards supervised by an officer of the appropriate specialisation. Each group is assessed by a deputy president, who is a lieutenant colonel; their group leader; and an education advisor, who is a serving or retired officer of the AGC(ETS).

Up to three boards can be run concurrently.

Types of board[edit]

AOSB briefing[edit]

This takes place over two days and must be attended prior to being able to proceed to the main board. It is an opportunity for candidates to learn some of the techniques that will be tested at the main board and for the AOSB assessors to offer advice and guidance to those attending about how prepared they currently are to attempt the much more challenging main board. It is designed to give potential officers an idea of what is required and expected at the main board. Candidates will participate in a number of assessments including physical and intellectual ones during their time at briefing. The results will be used by AOSB assessors when feeding back to candidates.

Before leaving AOSB briefing, candidates will be assigned a category based on the evidence available to the assessors. This will be:

  1. Allowed to proceed to the main board as soon as desired.
  2. Required to delay for between three and twenty four months (often awarded to younger candidates with potential ability but insufficient maturity, or for remedial purposes such as to improve upon physical fitness)
  3. The candidate is thought unlikely to pass the Main Board based on the evidence presented at briefing. However, they are not prevented from attempting the Main Board if, after further consideration, they believe they can achieve the required standard.
  4. The candidate is not considered suitable for commissioned service based on the evidence available. This may be as a result of a number of issues including personality or their ability to apply their intellect or both. Candidates who receive a Category 4 at the Briefing may appeal against this result if they genuinely believe that their performance at briefing was not representative. If successful (strong cases must be made) the candidate may be allowed to attend a Main Board.[5]

AOSB main board[edit]

Cadets undertaking an obstacle course in preparation for an AOSB

This is a four-day selection event that consists of a number of different but inter-linked intellectual, physical, mental and aptitude tests. It is designed to put candidates for both the Regular Army and Army Reserve under pressure whilst fostering their team spirit and competitiveness.[6]

The Boards normally run from Tuesday until Friday but a small number each year take place from Thursday until Sunday.

On arrival, candidates are allocated a number (used instead of one's name) and placed into teams known as groups. They remain in these groups for the duration of the board, making it common for strong friendships to develop during the process. As candidates are assessed against a standard and not against each other's performance (there are no set quotas for acceptance – if you meet the standard you pass), it is not uncommon that strong groups will see a large proportion of their members meet the standard.

On the last night of the course a formal dinner is held for the candidates. The staff are at pains to point out that the meal is not an assessment, and no directing staff are present at the event.

The details of the physical tasks, command tasks, interviews and academic tests are not made public. It is known that the assessment consists of a physical fitness assessment, an individual obstacle course, three multiple-choice tests on current affairs, general knowledge and military knowledge, three interviews, a group discussion and essay on current and moral affairs, a 5-minute lecturette, individual planning exercise, and both leaderless team tasks and a series of command tasks where an individual team member commands the rest. There are also group races where each group gets an opportunity to test themselves against the other groups undergoing selection at the time.[7]

Candidates are only permitted to make 2 attempts to pass the board. These must be separated by a minimum of 8 months. AOSB selectors are looking for evidence throughout the main board that the candidate has the appropriate characteristics that after training will allow them to perform effectively as a Junior Officer in command of soldiers both in barracks and on operations.

CFCB (Cadet Forces) Board[edit]

The Cadet Forces Commissions Board is used to select officers for the Army Cadet Force. Run over a weekend, the course is broadly similar to the AOSB Main Board however there are no physical tests. There is no set quota for selection and candidates are assessed against a standard, not each other.

Following completion of CFCB, a candidate is awarded one of four possible results:

  1. Selected - The candidate has been successful at the board and is recommended for an army cadet force commission.
  2. Not Selected (Encourage) - The candidate has not been successful, however it has been recognised that they have potential and are encouraged to attempt the board again at a later date.
  3. Not Selected - The candidate has not been successful. If they wish, they can attempt the board again at a later date.
  4. Not Selected (Discourage) - The candidate has not been successful and is deemed to be unsuitable for a commission. The candidate cannot normally attend for another attempt, however in extenuating circumstances their county commandant can appeal to the President CFCB for an exception to be made.

If a candidate has not been successful at the board, they must wait at least 1 year before a second attempt. If the second attempt is unsuccessful, they must wait a minimum of 5 years for a third attempt.

Army Scholarship Board[edit]

The Army runs two Scholarship Boards each year for boys and girls aged between sixteen and seventeen. The board is similar in many ways to the Main Board, with a fitness test, interviews, planning exercise and leadership tasks. The board is only 24 hours, and is specifically tailored to suit candidates in this specific age range. The Board is designed to identify intelligence and leadership at a young age. Successful candidates are then subject to further scrutiny by Recruiting Group prior to potentially being awarded a financial award whilst at sixth form, and then a subsequent annual award for each year whilst studying at university. They are also awarded a final lump sum on completion of the 44-week Commissioning Course after university. By passing the Board, scholars have a guaranteed place at Sandhurst, and they do not need to pass the AOSB Main Board to enter RMAS.

Physical fitness requirements[edit]

Following the roll-out of new standardised fitness tests across the entire army in April 2019,[8] the general fitness requirements for both regular and reserve officer entrants consists of the Role Fitness Test (Entry):

  • Reach 8.7 on a bleep test
  • Throw a 4kg medicine ball 3.1 metres from a seated position
  • Lift 76kg in a mid-thigh pull

Standards are the same for male and female candidates.[9]


Leighton House[edit]

The estate on which Leighton House stands belonged to the Phipps family, a prominent family in Westbury's cloth industry who first leased a house there in the early 18th century, and bought the property from the Earl of Abingdon in 1791. In 1800 Thomas Henry Hele Phipps, father of coffee merchants and politicians John Lewis and Charles Paul Phipps, built a new neoclassical box house, naming it Leighton House.[10]

William Laverton (d.1925), who ran a wool mill inherited from his uncle Abraham Laverton, bought out the entire estate in 1888.[10] He employed Bristol architect Sir Frank Wills to alter and extend the house,[11] and planted trees, including a row of Araucaria araucana (Chilean pine) which still stands there today. Laverton ran his own in-house cricket team which played at W. H. Laverton's Ground, across the road from the house (now part of Wiltshire Council's Leighton Recreation Centre).

The estate and its farmland were sold off by Laverton in 1921.[10] The house was briefly used by a prep school, Victoria College, before the War Office bought the estate in 1939. It previously housed a selection board for National Service. Since 1949 the Regular Commissions Board, later Army Officer Selection Board, has been based there.[4]

The 40 acres (16 ha) estate comprises a 19th-century manor house (Leighton House itself), a trout lake and an assault course where potential officers are put through their paces.[4]

In 1978 Leighton House was designated as Grade II listed for its architectural significance, as it features designs from two different periods.[11]


In March 2016, the Ministry of Defence announced that the Westbury site was one of ten to be sold in order to reduce the size of the Defence estate.[12] In November 2016 the estimated date of disposal of the site was given as 2024, with the Selection Board due to move to Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Berkshire.[13]


External links[edit]

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The Army Warrant Officer (WO) is a technical expert, combat leader, trainer, and advisor.

Get your records in order and APPLY!

The following personnel may apply for WO appointment whenever procurement is open in the WOMOS for which they are occupationally eligible:

  • Army Enlisted personnel (Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve).
  • Enlisted personnel of the other Uniformed Services.
  • RA/AR Commissioned Officers (restrictions may apply based on AOC/MOS and AFS).
  • RA/AR Commissioned Officers (non-aviation branch) applying for MOS 153A are only eligible to compete in the November and May Warrant Officer Selection Boards (WOSB).

MILPER Message 21-166, FY22 US Army Warrant Officer Selection Boards

General Requirements:

  • High school graduate or general education diploma (GED).
  • Minimum general technical (GT) aptitude area score of 110.
  • Adjudicated SECRET clearance.
  • U.S. Citizen.
  • In compliance with Army height and weight standards IAW AR 600-9.
  • Have a passing score on last record APFT IAW AD 2020-06.
  • Able to walk the 6.2 mile foot march with 48 lbs. in their rucksack within school time parameters.
  • Meet prerequisites for the desired WOMOS.
  • Not exceed 12 years of active federal service for technicians and 8 years of active federal service for 153A as of the applicant signature date on the DA Form 61.  Commissioned Officers have less than 48 months active Federal commissioned service at the time of the selection board for 153A.
  • Not exceed 46 years of age when pin WO1 for all technicians and not more than 32 years of age at time of board selection for 153A.
  • Applicant must be worldwide deployable IAW reference H.
  • In compliance with the Army’s Tattoo, branding, and body mutilation policy IAW reference I, para 3-3.

Applicants should refer to AR 135-100, para 1-6, AR 350-1, para 3-13 and AR 611-110, para 2-1 for additional details or visit for more information.

Army Officer Selection Board - British Army AOSB Main Board TimeTable and Advice

Removing photographs may not give a bigger picture for selection and promotion boards

Fostering greater diversity and inclusion in the Army requires deliberate actions to ensure women and minorities are adequately represented in positions of leadership and influence. The decision to remove photographs and demographic information from promotion and selection boards is unlikely to improve diversity and inclusion. The decision, instead, appears to be an emotionally charged reaction to the important and needed conversations currently occurring in the United States relative to issues of racial and, to a lesser extent, gender equity. What is required, however, are deliberate approaches to secure diversity and inclusion that confront institutional bias, that educate soldiers about implicit bias, and that cement attitudes and behaviors, which foster diversity and inclusion into the Army’s foundation.

On June 26, 2020, the secretary of Army suspended the requirement to include the DA Photo as part of officer, warrant officer, and enlisted selection boards and he directed that soldiers’ race, ethnicity, and gender information on officer and enlisted record briefs that are part of board files be redacted. The assistant secretary of the Army manpower and Reserve affairs later expanded redactions and photograph removal to selection boards for initial service accessions, assignments, military and civilian education, training, promotions, and command or key billet positions. The secretary’s action is aligned with the sentiment that removing photos and redacting race and gender information will reduce implicit, or explicit bias and make selection processes fairer.

On its face, the secretary’s action appears to be one that reduces barriers to diversity and inclusion. The secretary of the Army contended, for example, that the Army’s strength comes from its diversity and that diverse leadership is critical for mission effectiveness. Removing photographs and demographic information from promotion/selection boards, key billets’ assignments, and training selection processes, however, attempts to remedy the issues surrounding bias at the end of the process rather than at its beginning.

Research on relational demography, social categorization theory and leader-member exchange theory demonstrate that subordinates are evaluated more favorably by supervisors who perceive them as similar. Individuals’ perceptions of similarity can be influenced by seemingly benign variables such as schools attended, hometown, and religious affiliation, and by surface-level characteristics like gender, ethnicity, and race.

Research has also consistently demonstrated, for example, that white employees receive more favorable evaluations from white raters and conversely that black employees receive less favorable evaluations from white raters. As such, evaluations received by women and minorities from white male supervisors could reflect biases (implicit, or otherwise) owing to perceptions of dissimilarity, in-group or out-group status, and social categorization, which could be less favorable than the evaluations received by white male subordinates. Correspondingly, promotion boards that rely exclusively on the language communicated in performance, or academic evaluations will likely generate outcomes more favorable to subordinates who share greater similarities with supervisors.

Consequently, eliminating photos and redacting demographic information on a promotion/selection board does not help reduce any bias contained in performance evaluations, academic evaluations, or other materials relied upon to make promotion, selection, or assignment decisions. It merely creates the illusion that selection decisions will be fairer, or more merit-based.

Merit, in the context of work, conveys the notion that people are appreciated or rewarded commensurate to their efforts and their outcomes — it is a vision that power and standing are conveyed through personal effort rather than origin, or other factors. While individual merit appears to be the most appropriate tool to foster fairness, it is inadequate for improving diversity and inclusion in the Army. Soldiers, owing to their backgrounds, race, and gender, enter the Army with different lived experiences. Despite the Army’s effort to ensure equal treatment, soldiers’ backgrounds and experiences influence their behaviors, how they are perceived, and the opportunities they are provided.

Unequally provided opportunities that benefit one individual over another, in turn, influences achievement and outcomes and, hence, is not meritocratic. The military, for at least 200 years perpetuated and bolstered institutional conduct unfavorable to women and minorities and, at times, may even have operated hostile to them. Women, for example, were only admitted to U.S. military academies in 1976 and saw their first graduates in 1980. Accordingly, most individuals who served in leadership positions, or positions of standing before 1980, and many even after 1980, would have benefited from a faux meritocracy (i.e., an institution that was structured to deliver positive outcomes to them if they worked hard and were white males); this, of course, is in contrast to the fewer opportunities that would have existed, or been afforded to women and minorities.

Given historical institutional bias, and the research on relational demography and social categorization theory, relying heavily on merit as a panacea to systemic issues surrounding diversity and inclusion is flawed. Merit, blind to systemic issues of exclusion, or the challenges faced by people of different backgrounds will not improve equity, diversity, and inclusion because it does not see the whole picture. Instead, what is required are tools for better appreciating diversity, eliminating bias and making affirmative efforts to promote the selection of diverse individuals on perhaps a representational scale.

When people contemplate affirmative efforts, they often perceive it to mean race-based quotas; they are not. The 1978 Supreme Court Decision in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke, for example, ruled that the university’s employment of racial quotas was illegal, but the court opined that employing affirmative action tools, which permitted the acceptance of more minority applicants, was constitutional. In 2016, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the previous precedent, in the case of Fisher v. University of Texas, by opining that a two-part admission process to create student body diversity was not unconstitutional.

For the Army to improve diversity and inclusion at all ranks, it must take affirmative steps to create diversity. The National Football League’s (NFL) employment of the Rooney Rule in 2003, which requires teams to interview ethnic-minority candidates to fill head coach and other senior operations vacancies, exemplifies affirmative steps toward diversity and inclusion. In the years following the NFL’s employment of the Rooney Rule, the NFL would see 14 non-white head coaches up from three in the year the rule was adopted. Although that number has been reduced to three in 2020 — the same number that existed at the start of the Rooney Rule — the NFL’s employment of affirmative steps towards diversity should be commended. The NFL’s example also demonstrates that steps to promote diversity and inclusion should endure.

Removing photographs and demographic data from promotion/selection boards, and relying strictly on the “notion of merit” to ensure greater fairness without employing affirmative efforts to improve diversity and eliminate bias in the ranks, will almost certainly result in a less diverse and less inclusive Army. Blind hiring might work for some companies (and could work for military recruiting), but blind promotions could detract from efforts to foster diversity in senior and leadership positions. We cannot blind ourselves to systemic issues of exclusion (which occur before the board even meets), or the challenges faced by our diverse population and expect greater diversity and inclusion. To be inclusive, we must do so purposefully. To be inclusive, we must embrace our differences, which begins by seeing the whole picture.

CW5 Ron Prescott is a senior legal administrator in the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps; he possesses a Ph.D. in organizational psychology and is an adjunct professor for Webster University in the George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology. The views expressed are his own and do not represent those of the Army or Department of Defense.

Editor’s note: This is an Op-Ed and as such, the opinions expressed are those of the author. If you would like to respond, or have an editorial of your own you would like to submit, please contact Military Times managing editor Howard Altman, [email protected]



Board army selection

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