Columbia Tactical Officer Program (CTP)/ Eisenhower Leader Development Program (ELDP)
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.
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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.
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.
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
Organizational Culture and Socialization
Preparation for Individual Counseling
Preparation for Coaching
Career Counseling and Development
Psychological Aspect of Organizations
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) Fourth Year at USMA (PCS or third year as a TAC)