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Commissioned officers in the United State Army have one of the toughest jobs in the entire country. As the managers of the Army, officers are in charge of leading enlisted soldiers into battle and protecting them from unnecessary harm while taking on responsibility for completing the mission at hand. In order to ensure its officers achieve these goals, the Army expects many qualities in its officers when selecting them for commission.
Due to the fact that officers take on a greater amount of responsibility in planning and executing missions, the Army expects that its officers be of above average intelligence. While enlisting in the Army only requires a high school diploma or its equivalent, officers must have at least a bachelor's degree from a four-year university prior to earning their commission.
Warfare is hectic and is a major source of stress for both enlisted and commissioned soldiers alike. However, officers must be especially capable of keeping a cool head under these conditions and use a great deal of self-discipline in the face of danger. As a leader, an officer that does not have the self-discipline to stay level-headed in battle could put his subordinates in danger and inspire panic in the ranks.
With lives on the line, officers may be faced with a decision that could mean life or death for him or his subordinates in a moments notice. In these cases, the Army expects its officers to have the confidence to make a good decision in flexible and often changing environments. This skill goes hand-in-hand with the expectation that Army officers possess good problem-solving skills and intelligence.
The Army expects its officers to be not only mentally fit, but physically as well. Military activity often puts a great deal of both physical and mental stress on soldiers, and the Army expects its officers to be physically fit enough to overcome any tiredness or exhaustion. A high-level of physical fitness prevents decision-making ability from being clouded in times of stress of exertion.
While officers outrank all of their enlisted counterparts and therefore hold lawful authority over them, the Army expects leaders to respect their subordinates and to ensure their well-being. As leaders, officers will find themselves in command of groups of soldiers ranging in number from 10 to over 40,000. In order to effectively control such groups, officers must earn the loyalty of their troops by showing them respect and protecting them from undue harm.