Recommendations from Experience

Discussion in 'Special Operations Discussion' started by InfoBiz310, Jul 29, 2017.

  1. InfoBiz310

    InfoBiz310 Unverified

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    Hello everyone

    So long story short, I am an Army Reservist attending college with the intention of joining Army ROTC and going active. My goal is to branch into MI and am relatively confident that it can happen given my discussion with ROTC leadership. My question for everyone here is, what would be the best way to do this? Would it be wise to go straight into MI if I have aspirations to eventually join the SpecOps community? I have heard that it can be better to go into a combat branch like Infantry, Armor, or Artillery, and then request intelligence school although I am completely ignorant on how that would work. Just looking for the best path anyone can recommend whether you were an officer, or someone who is/was enlisted, and what you would expect to see in a leader. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.
     
  2. AWP

    AWP Formerly Known as Freefalling Administrator

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    @Marauder06 and @Il Duce have had distinguished careers in MI. I'd take any advice they offer as gospel, move out, and draw fire.
     
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  3. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    The window for going SF happens when you are a 1LT - brand new CPT. So, you'll only get about 3-4 years in whatever branch you choose before you start the SF pipeline (if you are selected). If you're really interested in MI and are set on the SF path then you've only got time to do straight MI - but it will not prepare you for SF the way combat arms will.

    For a career in MI I recommend the branch detail program - to a combat arms branch. You're an MI officer from commissioning - but you spend until CPT in your detailed branch. Gives you good maneuver experience - and the opportunity to attend some hooah schools - but moves you over to MI when you make CPT.

    @Marauder06 was an Infantry branch detail - I was straight MI.
     
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  4. InfoBiz310

    InfoBiz310 Unverified

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    I see. I do like the sound of the branch detail program. Specifically what you mentioned about manuever experience. If I understand that correctly, you mean that it will give me more options as my career goes on? I imagine that once CPT comes around and, if I am selected, this will place me in some place where I can actually do some good within the spec ops community or even outside of it. I want to do my best to avoid some of these horror stories I have been reading about concerning MI officers with paperpushing and all that. Not trying to be that typical hoah hoah guy, just want to know how and where I can earn my place and hopefully be an asset. I will definitely be asking some ROTC cadre about this program. Thank you @Il Duce

    If you do not mind answering another question and it does not get into OpSec, what would an MI officers duty look like within the spec ops community? I know that it can probably be very broad, but curiosity is making me ask.
     
  5. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    I think we're talking about different things. When you say 'SepcOps' community do you mean being an MI officer assigned to support special operations or are you talking about going through selection and becoming a Special Forces (SF) officer yourself? The latter was what I was referring to in my earlier post.

    As an MI officer in special operations - but still performing MI duties - it's a much different story and there are a variety of different paths and functions. @Marauder06 has much more experience than I - having served in special operations aviation, commanded a company in an SF Group, and worked in JSOC. I also served in JSOC as an MI officer. There are also MI-centric Special Mission Units (SMU) - which we won't talk about except in the very general sense.

    One thing you should understand from the beginning is an MI officer is almost always a staff officer. Your primary job will be behind a desk. If you want to kick in doors, win medals, be out in the field with men you command as your primary job those are other branches. However, even other branches do that primarily as company grade officers. An officer's job is different than that of enlisted. If you want to be a 'doer' instead of a staffer maybe a commission is not the right fit for you.
     
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  6. InfoBiz310

    InfoBiz310 Unverified

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    I meant becoming SF myself, so the branch detail program would be most helpful in that regard since you mentioned it will better prepare me, correct? Sorry for the confusion, I need to get used to the right terminology. But kicking down doors and all that does not really interest me. I have always prefered the intelligence aspect of the military. Like the intel gathering, analytics, and I guess you can say planning of operations if that makes sense.
     
  7. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    If you plan to become SF I would focus on that over anything in the MI realm. I recommend you take a look at the myriad SF forums on this site in terms of what you need to do to prepare. The SF officer I think of off the top of my head is @Viper1 but the enlisted threads will also give you great information and there are a number of SF NCOs active on the site.

    I'd recommend branching whatever will prepare you the most for SF. In my opinion that's combat arms but since I'm not SF myself I'll defer to others.
     
  8. AWP

    AWP Formerly Known as Freefalling Administrator

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    Would a branch detail allow you to go SF? MI wouldn't benefit from an officer it may never see, so would it release him for SF?
     
  9. Il Duce

    Il Duce Intel Enabler Verified SOF

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    Branch does have to release officers for SFAS, then if they are selected for SF (the SFAS release counts for both). I've heard there were times when certain understrength branches would not release officers - but that has not been the case for at least 10 years (maybe longer). Any basic branch will almost certainly release an officer for SFAS - there's no danger in MI that I know of to not be released. The only branch I can think of that would have a problem would be Aviation (AV) - since they send you to 18 months of flight school. However, a quick check of this year's MILPER on the subject has zero restrictions.

    If I were doing things over again and wanted to go SF (which, when I joined and was a LT I did - but ultimately decided against trying out) I would definitely pick a combat arms branch. For me, the reasoning would be attending Ranger school and getting maneuver experience - which for me would have been the hardest things about SF (in my imagination - which should always be taken with less weight than actual experience) - the physical side. But, what they tell you when you go to the recruiting briefs is that any background can make it - they just need the fortitude, character, and attitude. Again though, I would go with the guys on the board that have actually gone to SFAS, the Q-course, etc. over me - who has not.

    I will add the reason why I decided not to apply for SF. I had been in the Army for 2.5 years and was in the middle of my first deployment. I was in a position to have an idea of what an MI officer did - and would do - over the next decade, and had some idea of what SF officers did - and what made them good/bad at their respective jobs. I felt that I was a good MI officer and had the ability to be a good one in the years ahead - as a CPT, MAJ and maybe beyond. I thought I would struggle to meet the physical requirements of being SF - and I might be only a mediocre one. That my primary driver was how cool they seemed and the high status. Being in the Army, especially being an officer (in my opinion) is about service. If you are not able to render the best service to your men and your mission then you need to go home. Hunting tabs or status or trying to be in a group where you're not sure you have value to contribute is not the recipe on doing that - again, in my opinion.
     
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  10. AWP

    AWP Formerly Known as Freefalling Administrator

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    Jesus...I wish all officers were as candid and self-aware.
     
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  11. Kraut783

    Kraut783 Verified SOF Support

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    yep, you run into only a few in a career.....I call them unicorns.

    Not surprisingly, all had some type of prior time with the SOF community.
     
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  12. Viper1

    Viper1 Special Forces Verified SOF

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    Thanks for the mention. Yes, I agree, do what prepares you best; however, we've had plenty of MI officers come through the SFQC with no issue. Stay physically fit, get to Ranger School if you can (and graduate) and be the best MI officer you can be.

     
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