The Angry Staff Officer

The Different Types of Army Staff Officers by Branch

As you progress in the Army as an officer – and sometimes as an NCO – you’re bound to end up on staff at some point or another. Like death or taxes, it is inevitable – and sometimes as equally dreaded. One of the perks of staff – besides the feeling of constant dread and the ability to always walk around with a cup of lukewarm coffee with the consistency of sludge – is getting to work with people from other branches.

When your career path edges you into higher echelons of the staff, you end up rubbing elbows with people from a multitude of branches – some that you never knew even existed. And nowhere are the differences in personalities from each branch more apparent than on staff. What follows is a breakdown of the type of staff officers that you’ll be wont to come across in your career.

Infantry staff officers – If you can’t ruck it, shoot it, smoke/dip it, drink it, or make it do pushups, the infantry staff officer doesn’t really care about it.

Armor staff officers – Does your course of action involve tanks? Does any part of the operation involve tanks? If not, why? And if yes, then all the tanks need to be doing tank things: namely, rolling over and through the enemy, no matter who they are.

Cavalry staff officers – What do you mean wearing a Stetson all day isn’t allowed? No, I won’t take my feet off my desk. And of course we can take that objective of dug-in T-80 tanks with one troop of cav scouts.

Aviation staff officers – No, they won’t get a haircut, and yes, crew rest always applies. They won’t be at PT because pilots don’t need to run fast, they just need to fly.

Engineer staff officers – Look, just tell us where to put obstacles and build roads and we’ll make it happen. Other than that, we’ll be in the corner trying to get rid of this killer hangover.

Chemical staff officers – Look, there’s totally a CBRN threat. Definitely. No? Ok, well, they templated out your slideshows for the next 90 days and there’s a fresh pot of coffee made.

Adjutant General staff officers – They’ll just be in the ALOC telling stories about how much fun AG BOLC was and constantly judging you for having so many late evaluations.

Military Intelligence staff officers – They’re smarter than you and won’t let you forget it. You wanted to know the enemy most dangerous course of action? Here’s a threat wheel with so much data that it will make the human mind explode and is impossible for anyone without a statistics PhD to understand. Stop asking them about the weather.

Logistics staff officers – Are long-suffering since they are ignored by all the maneuver staff officers until the maneuver force can no longer shoot or move. And then suddenly it’s somehow their fault. Often found drinking with the engineers.

Transportation staff officers – Your trucks are all broken because you don’t do proper PMCS and all routes are black. And no, they can’t get a new uniform that’s not covered in engine grease. That would just be wrong.

Military Police staff officers – No, you’re wrong. Always. Don’t argue, or they’ll take their force protection package and go home.

Air Defense Artillery staff officers – Who? What are they? Just excited to be relevant again.

Field Artillery staff officers – There is no problem that can’t be solved by the application of massed and concentrated high explosives. They have a fires template in their back pocket and are offended that your course of action regarding stability operations does not include them.

Signal staff officers – Look, the reason you can’t get on Sharepoint is because you missed one of 80 mandatory online courses that were briefed this quarter. No, you can’t get connectivity support because the 6 is at yet another cyber conference.

Cyber officers – Too new to be taken seriously at this point. But are slowly dying inside from people constantly misusing the word “cyber.”

Special Forces officers – You won’t see them. And when you do, they won’t give input for mission analysis other than, “It’s classified.”

Chaplain – Will find new and inventive ways to categorize the spiritual health of the force.

Civil Affairs officers – Yes, they’ll be wearing civilian clothes and mocking your slides all day.

Medical Services officers – Actually skilled at their jobs and can’t believe that MDMP is a real thing that people use without feelings of self-harm.

Ordnance officers – Blow it up. Just blow all of it up. Or maybe resupply it. What was the question?

Dental Corps officers – Will always politely inform you that 37% of your force is non-deployable because their teeth are falling out.

Quartermaster officers – You can’t afford to buy the things you want and even if you could, the property book wouldn’t support it. Now go see the JAG about how much stuff you’re missing and the pending charges against you.

Judge Advocate General officers – They don’t like you. They don’t like anyone. Because they know just how awful you all are.


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About the Author: Angry Staff Officer is an Army engineer officer who is adrift in a sea of doctrine and staff operations and uses writing as a means to retain his sanity. He also collaborates on a podcast with Adin Dobkin entitled War Stories, which examines key moments in the history of warfare.


Cover photo: CAMP BLANDING, Fla–Lt. Col. Michael Hoblin (left), commander of the New York Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 258th Field Artillery Regiment, talks with his staff officers after a mission analysis briefing at Camp Blanding, Fla., March 9. The staff officers trained on the Military Decision Making Process as part of the unit’s annual training in Florida. (Photo Credit: Spc. Ian Boudreau / 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs)