All Active Duty Officers to Receive Regular Army Commissions

New officers to receive Regular Army commissions (Army News Service)

All new officers going on active duty will be commissioned “Regular Army†beginning May 1. Beginning late this summer, the Army will start changing the U.S. Army Reserve commissions of officers currently in the active component to RA commissions, a G1 official said. He said the process of converting USAR commissions to RA should be completed by May 2006.

During the past decade, officers did not receive RA commissions until they reached the rank of major. Since 1996, even cadets graduating from the academy at West Point, N.Y., received USAR commissions. The Defense Science Board last year recommended a change in policy and the Army is now adopting a “One Active Army, One Commission†theme, said Col. Mark Patterson, Officer Division chief in the Directorate of Military Personnel Management, G1.

Only officers going to reserve-component units will continue to receive USAR commissions, Patterson said.


Years ago, officers with RA commissions may have had some advantage over USAR officers during a reduction in force, Patterson said. Since the 1990s, though, such personnel decisions are strictly performance-based, he said.

via Jeff Quinton

This is an excellent move. The old system is a remnant of a pre-World War II system whereby only a tiny cadre of officers served permanently and all others served only when the Army expanded for wartime footing. It was especially confusing, because no such distinction existed for enlisted soldiers, so my troops were “Regular Army” while I was “Army Reserve.”

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jeff says:

    The one thing not mentioned is that DMGs in ROTC BNs usually received a RA commission as well. That takes a small bit of luster off being a DMG now I would presume.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Not anymore–they took the RA away from DMGs and USMA grads in 1996.

  3. John says:

    Of course in the days of the draft enlisted soldiers were distinguished between enlistees and draftees. Draftees serial numbers had a “US” prefix while enlistees serial numbers had the prefix “RA”.

  4. Jeff says:

    James, thanks for clarifying…. I saw the USMA part in the article I posted, just didn’t know it applied to DMGs as well.

    I was having a discussion about this with a friend who pointed out the CCB article to me and he missed the part about RA not getting preferential treatment in RIFs anymore over ARs but we both missed the DMG part.