The Army has 17 different branches for Cadets to compete for. Being selected into one of the branches is the culmination of an assessment process that begins from the very first day a Cadet enters the ROTC program. Beginning with Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 the U.S. Army has implemented a new system to branch Cadets from its 274 ROTC programs across the country. The Army calls the new system Talent Based Branching.
The prior accessions process used an Order of Merit List (OML) to rank Cadets across the nation based off of factors such as their GPA, physical fitness test score, Advanced Camp performance, volunteer work, Color Guard participation, Ranger Challenge team, etc. Towards the beginning of their senior year, Cadets would rank order their preference of the 17 branches (career fields) in the Army they want to assess into. Their OML ranking as part of the Army’s accessions process was the primary means of deciding which branch they will receive. With Talent Based Branching, all these prior factors are still considered – but representatives from each of the Army branches (career fields) are now part of the process of determining if a cadet’s knowledge, skills, and behaviors (KSBs) are a good fit from a talent perspective. Cadets will have the opportunity to interview with each branch representative and the Professor of Military Science will provide recommendations based on their observations of each Cadet. The ultimate goal of the TBB process is finding the right fit from both the Cadet and branch’s perspective so that we place leaders in positions that they can maximize their talent and abilities. OML does still play a role, but Army branch feedback plays the most significant role in determining a Cadet’s career future.