Communicating in the Army

The U.S. Army has always stressed effective communication. But new efforts testify even more emphatically to the importance of sound writing and speaking at every level of its operations.

The West Point Writing Program contributes to this mission from the ground floor on up, preparing Cadet writers for future officership as well as supporting the continuing development of other Army professionals (including rotating military faculty and staff, even senior leaders) as teachers, mentors, and scholars.

Writing Assessments in the Command Assessment Programs

The WPWP leverages its expertise in support of Army Talent Management Task Force's new Command Assessment Programs' argumentative and strategic writing assessments by designing, developing, and scoring written communication exercises. 

The Battalion Command Assessment Program (BCAP) and Colonels Command Assessment Program (CCAP) are pivotal moments in officers' careers. Army senior leaders intend these assessments to drive behavior throughout the officer corps. Former Army Talent Management Task Force Director, MG Joseph McGee, cites increased attention to communication as a primary example of this desired effect: "Though we have only anecdotes so far, we are now seeing individual officers and units training on verbal and written communication skills, which are integral components of effective leadership."

Listen to the Army Talent Management Task Force's podcast on preparing for Command Assessment Programs, including BCAP and CCAP on Google or Apple Podcasts. Insight into the writing assessment, specifically, begins at minute 14:00.

Army Writing: In the Press

Don't just take our word for it. Read what others have to say about the importance of professional military writing.

In the pages of the Army's own Military Review, Desirae Gieseman argued that scholarship in higher education and writing studies holds the promise to redefine Army writing standards and practices to achieve more "functional" communication. The Military Writers Guild observes "Despite the hyper use of emails and PowerPoint in today's military culture, the need for writing well which itself is the sum of critical thinking, is an absolute vital skill."

"Effective writers are effective leaders" in the NCO ranks, too, writes Dayton Ward. Crystal Bradshaw offers insights and exercises for NCO communication development.

Professional Development: Officers as Communicators

Rotating military faculty assignments at West Point offers junior officers extraordinary opportunities for professional communication development. Consider making use of our resources for faculty or becoming a Cadet Writing Fellow Mentor. Make use of the Mounger Writing Center's contracted consultants. Engage your colleagues in discussions about your own academic and professional writing. 

You might also consider advice from the official preparation guidance for BCAP, CCAP, and SMAP candidates, including suggestions to 1) "Read professional journal articles across a variety of disciplines. Identify best practices in organizing and communicating an effective argument" and 2) "Assess your job-related writing using the provided written communication scoring rubric."