Wednesday July 25, 2012
What is it?
U.S. Army Europe's Best Junior Officer Competition is an annual five-day training event that brings top young officers (second lieutenant through major) from units throughout USAREUR together at the Joint Multinational Training Command in Grafenwoehr, Germany, to test their skills in a high-intensity competitive training environment.
What has the Army done?
USAREUR commander Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling created the competition, the first of its kind in Europe, shortly after USAREUR selected its top Soldier and NCO at the command's Best Warrior Competition in 2011. The general directed that the command conduct a similar competition for up-and-coming company-grade officers. The resulting event tested officers selected by their units in pistol and rifle qualifications, two foot marches totaling 25 kilometers, and day and night land navigation, all under conditions designed to simulate battlefield stress. Competitors were also evaluated on their military knowledge, military appearance, communication skills and knowledge of world and local current events.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Following its inaugural success, USAREUR established the Best Junior Officer Competition as an annual event coinciding with its Best Warrior Competition. This year's BJOC takes places July 23-27, the week prior to the BWC. This year's challenges have been updated to test competitors' leadership and cognitive decision-making skills using scenarios related to sexual assault, media engagement and professional writing. USAREUR uses the competition to shape young leaders for the unique challenges units in Europe face every day, and hopes to inspire similar competitions in other Army commands.
Why is this important to the Army?
Competitive training such as USAREUR's Best Junior Officer Competition reinforces the standard-centric community being developed in the U.S. Army in Europe and Armywide, and supports the Army Profession Campaign by fostering the kind of expertise, esprit de corps and honor that are some of the essential characteristics of the profession of arms. Competitors will face challenges to their competence, character and commitment designed to test their skills as experts and professionals, develop them as leaders, and help them further internalize the Army Ethic and the ethical application of leadership and combat power. Through tough, realistic competition, these junior officers gain renewed confidence and authority to maintain the profession of arms by investing in their development and sharing their knowledge and proficiency with peers and subordinates.
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"One of our fundamental responsibilities as a government is to properly prepare and support those serving in our military so they are career ready as they transition back into civilian life. This collaborative effort will have an impact well beyond this current generation of individuals returning from combat."
- Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki and a retired 34th chief of staff United States Army, speaks of the Transition GPS, which is the first major overhaul of the military's Transition Assistance Program
"I learned that there is another way to do stuff. In the U.S. we do everything at a fast pace. But here in Spain, this is another developed country and they do things at a much more relaxed pace and they still get results. It is OK to do stuff at a relaxed pace if you do it well. I am going to try to trust my Soldiers more and on that day I become an officer in the U.S. Army I will try to implement that -- to trust my Soldiers and not rely only on myself."
- Cadet Yoel Polanco, University of South Florida, one of the 20 cadets participating in the U.S. Army ROTCs Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program, speaks of the historical mission to Spain to train with the Spanish military.
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