Second Major



Economics, Gender & Women's Studies, Military Science & Leadership


Granai, Cornelius, O

Advisor Department

Military Science




Army; U.S. Military; Officer; Retention

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


There are four primary paths to commission as an Officer in the US Army. The most common way of commissioning is through the Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), which allows students to enroll in elective leadership and military courses at colleges and universities. Then, at graduation, ROTC Cadets are commissioned as Second Lieutenants. The second most common route is through the United States Military Academy at West Point (commonly referred to as USMA or West Point), where Cadets are immersed in military customs and traditions while working toward a college degree and upon graduation are commissioned as Second Lieutenants. The third most popular route is Direct Commissioning, which provides individuals with specialized skills in professional fields like law, medicine and religion an immediate way to apply their skills in the Army, these Officers usually begin their Army careers as Captains. Whereas the least common path to becoming an Army Officer is through Officer Candidate School (OCS), an officer training school which trains applicants who are already college graduates on the skills necessary to become a US Army Second Lieutenant.

This project sets out to determine if commissioning source can be used as a predictor for Officer retention. It will analyze the general traits of Officers coming from each commissioning source and provide an explanation for inequalities amongst commissioning sources. Equipped with this academic information I will also interview officers of various ranks in order to build a profile of the successful Officer who aims to make the Army a career. I will use my findings to create a road map in order to be as successful an Officer as I possibly can be.