FAQs for Commissioned Officers

FAQs for Commissioned Officers

Working at West Point FAQs

Rotating faculty positions are for officers who will come to West Point to teach for three years before returning to their basic branch or functional area. These officers will also attend graduate school through the Advanced Civil Schooling process for two to three years before coming to teach. Thus, the entire tour ("round trip") as a rotating instructor is typically five years. These faculty members are selected through the TEACH online application discussed below. These FAQs mostly apply to those who are considering positions as a rotating faculty member.

Academy Professors are permanent professors at USMA that must earn a PhD and become a Functional Area 47 officer for the remainder of their career. This hiring process is handled by an external committee. 

Absolutely not! We seek officers from all backgrounds and make a distinct effort to ensure that not all of our instructors come from the same colleges, commissioning sources, or branches. We maintain a faculty with a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences and having officers from ROTC and OCS is important for the development of cadets at USMA.

It depends.  Most of our rotating faculty show up as Captains and come out on the promotion list to Major within their first 1 or 2 years at USMA.  The majority of those officers are selected for Resident ILE. Officers selected for resident ILE normally defer attendance until the summer following the completion of their ACS utilization tour at USMA. Officers selected for resident ILE will have an opportunity to submit preferences (e.g., Army Command and General Staff College, Sister Service equivalent, foreign equivalent schools) before ILE attendance.  West Point also offers a blended option for the AOC portion of ILE in which officers assigned to West Point conduct classes and planning exercises at USMA with an instructor from CGSC. The limiting factor in an officer’s ILE planning is that you must have a minimum of 30 months between leaving USMA or resident ILE and your Primary Zone LTC board (currently occurs at YG + 16 years). If you can fit resident ILE into your timeline and still have 30 months before your LTC PZ board, you can attend in-residence.  If your timeline precludes this, you must complete ILE via satellite or distance learning. Officers selected for satellite ILE normally attend common core ILE at Fort Belvoir or Redstone Arsenal during the summer preceding their last year at USMA. 

Yes, there may be opportunities to attend Army schools in periods that do not interfere with your department duties and responsibilities (typically during one of your summers as an instructor).  These schools are usually tied to career progression opportunities in your branch or career field (a Special Forces officer recently attended Dive Supervisor training; Functional Area 59 officers have attended BSAP during their tours, etc.).

Absolutely. We cannot guarantee a job for your spouse, but we will do what we can to help you and your spouse stay together.

No. The Office of Economic and Manpower Analysis (OEMA) conducted research that reveals rotating military faculty at West Point are promoted at rates in-line with their non-faculty peers. Rotating faculty who were promoted below the zone to major were promoted below the zone to lieutenant colonel at a slightly lower rate than their non-faculty peers (which are much higher than the average office) and are promoted to LTC and COL at approximately the same rate. Tactical officers who went through the ELDP program who were promoted below the zone to major tend to be promoted at a slightly higher rate below the zone to lieutenant colonel. ​

Both slots typically include three years of ACS (for a PhD).  The major differences between the two are:  The FA 47 slot is tenured. This means that you can stay at USMA until 30 years of commissioned federal service as a COL, and 28 years as a LTC.  The FA47 positions are USMA advertised and selected positions.  They really belong to the Dean, and a special selection committee is established, usually chaired by a Professor, USMA, normally a Department Head or Vice Dean. It is very competitive with an average of 30-50 very qualified personnel competing for 1-2 positions in each advertisement (in the Army Times).  Rotating PhD positions are controlled by individual department heads, who establish internal procedures to conduct the selection process. Rotators have a three-year utilization (teaching) tour.

A captain/major is eligible for the title of “assistant professor” after two successful years as an “instructor”. Officers earn this academic promotion based on merit as determined by criteria established by the senior faculty. These criteria often include demonstrated pursuit of excellence in teaching, in cadet development, in service, and in scholarship. 

Teaching at West Point FAQs

Instructors are evaluated based on their performance and potential, as in any other Army unit.  This involves an assessment of performance across West Point’s five domains, including teaching, cadet development, faculty development, service, and scholarship.  We expect each faculty member to contribute to our community through a combination of activities in the five domains, and program directors will work with instructors to develop an individual plan for their tour and for their placement beyond their time in the department. 

USMA offers robust opportunities for cadet development outside the classroom.  You can volunteer to escort cadets on an academic summer enrichment opportunity, mentor a cadet-run club, or partner with a cadet on research outside the classroom.  Many of our faculty take cadets on AIADs to countries across the world, mentor cadets on sports teams, or help with cadet summer training. 

Once you've formally accepted a position, congratulations! In the months following your acceptance offer, we will communicate with your branch for the by-name request (BNR) for you to attend graduate school and serve at USMA. You will be assigned a mentor, usually a senior faculty member within your discipline, to help guide you through the application process for graduate school. Most application deadlines for graduate programs of study are December-January; your focus after accepting an offer to teach should therefore be preliminary research into graduate programs and planning for the application process. After applying and being accepted to the graduate program of your choice by early 2023, you will then apply for final ACS approval as the last step before your Permanent Change of Station (PCS) to graduate school in summer/fall 2023.

If selected, you will hear from the Department between December and February of the following year with an offer to teach. If you don't hear from us right away, you may still be contacted, as the Department routinely activates alternate selectees. The deadline to accept any offer is generally mid-February to mid-March 2023 and will be communicated as we near that time of the application cycle. We encourage all selected applicants to take as much time as needed to consider the offer before formally accepting. 

Besides teaching, there are numerous opportunities to serve the department and become involved in mentoring cadets. Other duties, as assigned, could include academic engagement with other faculty and cadets, participation in cadet extra-curricular development, service to the department, or participation with one of the Department's clubs. Instructors are also encouraged to complete their own scholarly projects and research. 

USMA housing is managed by Balfour Beatty communities under the Residential Community Initiative. Most members of the community live on-post, while several opt to live in the local surrounding area. Tactical Officers are designated as "Key and Essential" personnel and receive priority for an on-post housing assignment if they desire. For more information on housing, see https://www.westpointfamilyhomes.com/.

Yes. We understand the value of diversity of thought. Therefore, women and minority officers are encouraged to apply to join the team as staff or faculty.