WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 1, 2007) - Active-duty officers aspiring to the rank of brigadier general now have two ways to earn points toward becoming a Joint Qualified Officer.

The new Joint Qualification System lets officers earn points for their experience in joint-duty assignments in addition to the points they gain through joint-duty assignments and education courses.

JQS replaces the Joint Specialty Officer System. Under JSOS, an officer was assigned to a validated joint-duty position for a specified period of time and completed joint-education courses. The new dual path still requires joint education; however, it now offers more flexibility in recognizing joint experiences, such as contingency operations with other military forces or non-government agencies.

"You have to know how to operate in a joint environment because that's how we do our day-to-day operations now," said Lt. Col. Trudy Leonard, policy integration officer for the Director of Military Personal Management. "What the new system does is offer a way to capture that joint experience."

Under the new system, points may be retroactive for time officers spent in joint environments back to Sept. 11, 2001 for active-duty officers and to Oct. 1, 1986, for reserve-component Soldiers.

The JQS has expanded the term "joint matters," originally defined by Title 10 United States Code, Section 668, to include all the elements of the combined-forces environment the Army operates in today. According to Lt. Col. Leonard, the new definition encompasses all the ways officers can gain joint experience.

"The way we do operations is changing now, and that led to the change in the definition of joint matters. It went from a very narrow definition to a very broad definition," she said.

The JQS is divided into four levels. In Level I, officers complete basic officer courses that introduce them to joint matters.

Level II is accomplished with the completion of Joint Professional Military Education I, the accrual of 18 joint-qualification points, 12 of which must come from joint experience and certification by the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. To complete JPME I, the officer must complete intermediate-level education or other accredited schools.

In Level III, an officer must complete JPME II, accrue 36 joint-qualification points and be certified by the secretary of defense. To earn credit for JPME II, an officer must complete an accredited senior-service college. Officers who complete Level III are then designated as a JQO as long as they hold the rank of major or higher.

In Level IV, officers reach their maximum joint qualification through completing the CAPSTONE, a military education course designed to teach general officers how to work with other armed forces. Officers must also earn 60 joint-qualification points; at least 24 must be earned while the officer serves as a general or flag officer in a joint billet within the Office of the Secretary of Defense, a joint staff, a combat command headquarters, a joint task force headquarters or a defense agency headquarters.

Joint-qualification points are calculated through a formula combining joint education with joint-experience points and other discretionary points.

Joint-experience points are computed by multiplying the duration by the intensity. The number three is assigned to combat; two indicates non-combat; and the one represents steady state.

Discretionary points are a combination of education, training and exercises. Points for an exercise depend on the officer's role as a participant, leader or planner. Education refers to instruction other than JPME.

While reserve-component Soldiers do not need JQO designation, Lt. Col. Leonard said the new system gives them a chance to develop in today's joint environment.

Officers who had gained joint-specialty officer under the JSOS will be automatically classified in Level III as JQOs.

Page last updated Mon October 1st, 2007 at 08:01