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Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership : Eisenhower Leader Development Program

Columbia Tactical Officer Program (CTP)/ Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP)

Please tell us a little about yourself.
       I grew up in the suburbs of Boston, Mass, and graduated High School in Concord, CA. I attended the United States Military Academy, where I majored in Mechanical Engineering, and commissioned into the Infantry upon graduation. I married my wife, who was a fellow classmate and company mate at USMA. She was an Intelligence officer for five years. I served in infantry positions including Platoon leader, Executive officer, Assistant Operations Officer, and Company Commander, in both 3rd Infantry Division and 10th Mountain Division, in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have three kids, ages 5, 2, and 3 months.  
       Please describe your duties as a Tactical Officer (TAC)?
       My job is to integrate the leader development experiences of cadets across all four pillars, military, academic, physical, and character. I spend most of my time assisting the cadet chain of command in running the company, supervising execution of character and military development training at the unit, and individual counseling and mentorship of cadets. My job is to integrate the leader development experiences of cadets across all four pillars, military, academic, physical, and character. I spend most of my time assisting the cadet chain of command in running the company, supervising execution of character and military development training at the unit, and individual counseling and mentorship of cadets.

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I graduated from the United States Military Academy (USMA) with a major in Systems Engineering and earned my commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry. Following graduation, I served as a platoon leader and executive officer in 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division at Fort Campbell, KY. Next, I served as a Ranger Instructor in 4th Ranger Training Battalion at Fort Benning, GA. I then commanded a Stryker Troop in 3d Cavalry Regiment at Fort Hood, TX. Recently, I earned my graduate degree from Columbia University in Organizational Psychology. I am married and have three amazing children.

Can you please describe your duties as a Tactical Officer (TAC) at the US Military Academy Preparatory School?
As a TAC at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School (USMAPS), my main focus is on preparing Cadet Candidates (CCs) to become USMA Cadets and leaders of character. The CCs are the vanguard for the next USMA class; generally 90% of the CCs go onto USMA to make up approximately 20% of any USMA class. USMAPS consists of CCs that applied to USMA, but the Admissions Committee determined they needed an additional year of development before attending USMA. Some of the CCs are prior service active duty Soldiers who have combat experiences and some are even NCOs. Other CCs have a great deal of athletic ability. As a TAC Officer, I am the legal company commander. In conjunction with my TAC NCO, a Sergeant First Class, I also serve as a teacher, mentor, and coach for the CCs and oversee the integration of their entire USMAPS experience as they develop from civilians/Soldiers to USMA Cadets. I also have the ability to shape the CC’s initial perspective of USMA and the Army.
FEATURED TACTICAL OFFICER (Commander): MAJ Chaveso "Chevy" Cook​​

Please tell us a little about yourself. 
I’m married to my high school gal from Columbia, SC and we have one five year old daughter by the name of London.  I enjoy working on and playing with my ’77 Vette and my ’97 Wrangler.  I’m a Psychological Operations (PO) Officer by trade and a ’04 graduate of the Academy.  I majored in Psychology at USMA and have subsequently earned an MA in Leadership Development from University of Texas-El Paso (UTEP) and an MA in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.  I spent all my time at Fort Bragg between the 82nd and the PO community (three deployments) before my first real PCS coming back to West Point.
What made you decide to come to USMA as a TAC?
Truth be told, I saw both good and bad TACs as a cadet, and I thought I could be one of the good ones. I didn’t see much minority representation either, so I thought it was important for me to fulfill that role. I didn’t want to teach at first because the truth is TACs get the MOST interaction with cadets – period! I thought I could get the most touch points and opportunities to grow the next crop on the TAC side of the house. And the Ivy League Masters degree in a year’s time is unprecedented.
FEATURED TACTICAL OFFICER (Commander): CPT Alissa Morrison​​

Please tell us a little about yourself. 
I am married to CPT Doug Morrison and we are both from Massachusetts.  Our children are our two English Bulldogs named Daisy and Dozer, who love coming to work and playing with the cadets.  The cadets love Daisy and Dozer so much that they painted a mural of the two in my company.  I studied Architecture at Roger Williams University and received my commission through ROTC.  I also hold a Master of Science in Geological Engineering from Missouri University of Science and Technology and a Master of Arts in Social Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. I have served in the Corps of Engineers for more than nine years, including service in Afghanistan, Jordan, and Qatar, with concentrations in force protection, vulnerability assessment, non-lethal targeting, and construction operations.  My interests include four-wheeling, traveling, and cooking.
How has serving as a TAC prepared you for future assignments back in the operational Army?  Being a TAC assists your transition from being a company grade to a field grade officer.  As a company grade officer your primary focus is on tactical leadership.  As a TAC your level of influence begins to shift to organizational leadership and systematic problem solving, which will set you up for success in future field grade key development positions. 
What is the Eisenhower Leader Development Program?  
The US Military Academy Brigade Tactical Department, in conjunction with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership, is currently seeking branch qualified (or soon-to-be branch qualified) captains for assignments as Company Tactical Officers, regardless of commissioning source. Annual selection boards convene each December and make selections for the academic year beginning 1.5 years ahead. (In other words, the December 2010 selection board will choose officers for a class start date of May 2012, and so forth.) Selection as a "TAC" begins with your enrollment in the full-time, 12-month Masters of Arts Program where you complete an M.A. in Social-Organizational Psychology (Leader Development) from Teachers College, Columbia University.  
Additionally, officers seeking graduate school training through the Enhanced Graduate Program (EGSP) are encouraged to contact their respective branch to explore this opportunity. EGSP officers generally return to the larger Army for a follow on assignment upon completion of their degree and do not serve as TACs. 
All officers are assigned to West Point, New York with academic instruction divided between West Point and the Teacher's College in New York City. Officers are afforded priority housing placement (future TACs only), individual study areas, government transportation to Teacher's College, full duty exemption and abide by the Advanced Civil School SOP. An Active Duty Service Obligation (ADSO) of 3 years is incurred upon completion of the M.A.
You are strongly encouraged to begin an on-line application and populate it as much as you can even if it is not possible to complete it by December. While incomplete packets will go before the board, it is in your interest to best represent your skills and experience to include a GRE minimum of 153/144/4.0. 
To BEGIN/COMPLETE the on-line application, click here. 
In the "Type of Position Desired" field, be sure to select "Tactical Officer" and add the "Brigade Tactical Department" for your department of assignment interest. Fields marked with * are required before submissions are accepted. Upon completion of this initial step, you'll receive an e-mail reply with a unique user name and password. (Do not lose or delete it, as it will be known only to you.) You'll then be set to access, manage and complete your file. 
To view "What is in a Complete Packet", 2014 Applicant WEST Instructions 10oct14.pdf2014 Applicant WEST Instructions
A Tactical Officer (TAC) is the legal Company Commander of a Cadet Company and the primary developer of cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, New York. He or she assists each cadet in balancing and integrating the requirements of the physical, military, academic, and moral-ethical programs. A "TAC" trains and coaches the cadet chain of command to establish and sustain high unit standards and behavior essential to a cohesive company environment. TACs have a senior NCO (SFC or MSG) assigned as their NCO partner (1SG equivalent) - together they form and model a professional command team for the cadets. TACs inspire cadets to develop effective leadership styles through role-modeling, counseling, teaching, and training. A Tactical Officer also presents formal and informal instruction to the company, implements special development programs for individual cadets as needed, and is responsible for all company administration. 
BS&L and USCC (Tactical Officers) requires and wants diversity among the officer role models we place before cadets, and we are aggressively committed to a diverse faculty. It is very important that cadets are coached, taught, mentored, and led by both genders, and all ethnic groups. Women and minority officers are strongly encouraged to apply to work our programs.  
ELDP Educational Goals 
The Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) portion of the Eisenhower Program takes 12-months to complete. Officers are stationed at West Point during this period and are assigned to the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership. (They are inter-post transferred to the Brigade Tactical Department after graduation for the remainder of their tour as a TAC.) Classes are coordinated between USMA and Columbia University, with some held on post but all others held on the Teachers College campus in New York City. A sample of the classes in the program include:  
  • Human Resource Management
  • Leadership
  • Leadership Development
  • Systems Leadership
  • Organizational Dynamics
  • Organizational Culture and Socialization
  • Organizational Change
  • Preparation for Individual Counseling
  • Preparation for Coaching
  • Career Counseling and Development
  • Instructional Design
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Psychological Aspect of Organizations
  • Military History/Profession
The academic program is rigorous but highly rewarding. It requires completion of 45 credit-hours of graduate study. Past participants confirm that it was challenging, both in terms of its workload and intellectual rigor. But historically, most have done very well. With this in mind, it is possible to not complete the degree due to any of numerous factors. Applicants should honestly self-assess their academic skills and personal situations before committing to this program.  
Tactical Officer Timeline
First Year at USMA (ELDP)  
  • May - PCS to USMA, assigned to the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership
  • June - begin ELDP / Masters of Arts Degree work
  • Graduate from ELDP with M.A. from Columbia after 12 months (late May)
Second Year at USMA (first year as a TAC)  
  • Inter-post transfer / assigned to the Brigade Tactical Department, United States Corps of Cadets
  • Serve as Associate TAC for cadet summer training (late May – mid August)
  • Primary TAC of a cadet company for academic year (mid-August – May)
Third Year at USMA (second year as a TAC) 
  • Serve as Primary TAC for cadet summer training (mentoring recent ELDP graduates)
  • Primary TAC of cadet company for entire academic year
Fourth Year at USMA (third year as a TAC)  
• Primary TAC of cadet company for entire academic year  
• Possibility of serving as an XO to a Regimental Tactical Officer or as the XO to the Brigade Tactical Department  
For more information please contact MAJ Matt Pratt, ELDP XO, 845-938-8337 or Mr. Billy Austin , USCC S1, 845-938-2213