An Overview of the US Army Early Commissioning Programme


Early Commissioning Programme (ECP) is a United States (US) Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programme that allows graduates of one of the nation’s four Military Junior Colleges (MJC) to become commissioned officers in the reserve components (National Guard or Reserve) in two years, instead of the usual four. Upon completion at MJCs, ECP Second Lieutenants must go on to finish a bachelor’s degree before serving as active duty officers or continuing a career in the reserve components. They must graduate within the next 24 months (waiver for one additional year may be granted by Cadet Command) after receiving early commission. While attending their 4-year university, ECP Second Lieutenants will be serving in a non-deployable status.

Brief History

Before 1966, a prospective officer in the US Army could only gain a ROTC commission after being awarded a baccalaureate degree. However, to meet the manpower requirements of the Vietnam War, Congress approved a measure that allowed cadets at MJCs who had completed all requirements of the ROTC Advanced Course to be commissioned as second lieutenants and called to active duty at the conclusion of their sophomore year.

In the mid-1970s, the elimination of the draft and the anti-military backlash caused by Vietnam led to officer recruiting problems, especially in the reserves. To address these concerns, the ECP was revised in 1978. Cadets from four-year schools who had successfully completed Advanced Camp and Military Science IV, but who had not yet earned their four-year degree could also be commissioned, provided they were slotted against a valid lieutenant vacancy.

Throughout the 1980s, the ECP played a major role in officer production. In some years, ECP officers constituted over 60% of all ROTC second lieutenants. The programme is a major financial incentive for students who could receive their commissions early and serve as officers while still attending college. In 1984, the California Guard received 95% (74 out of 78) of its ROTC lieutenants from the ECP. The Army Reserve had a similar experience.

In 1991, the downsizing of the Army reduced officer production requirements, leading to the reduction of the ECP to only the MJCs.

Notable Graduates

  • Julio R. Banez, US Army brigadier general, Assistant Adjutant General of Army Alaska National Guard.
  • Matthew P. Beevers, US Army major general, assistant adjutant general of California National Guard.
  • Robert W. Bennett, US Army brigadier general, deputy commander of US Army Cadet Command.
  • Susan A. Davidson, US Army major general, commanding general of the 8th Theatre Sustainment Command.
  • Scott L. Efflandt, US Army brigadier general, deputy commandant of US Army Command and General Staff College.
  • William A. Hall, US Army brigadier general, director of European Partnership Task Force.
  • John F. King, US Army brigadier general, deputy commanding general of Army National Guard.
  • Francis S. Laudano III, US Army brigadier general, commander of 164th Air Defence Artillery Brigade.
  • Clark W. LeMasters Jr., US Army major general, commanding general of the United States Army TACOM Life Cycle Management Command.
  • Harry E. Miller Jr., US Army Major General, mobilisation assistant to the director at Defence Intelligence Agency Washington, DC.
  • Johnny R. Miller, US Army major general, former assistant adjutant general of Illinois Army National Guard.
  • Gustave F. Perna, US Army general, the commander of US Army Materiel Command.
  • Dennis E. Rogers, US Army brigadier general, former commander of US Army Installation Management Command.
  • Raymond F. Shields Jr., US Army major general, the adjutant general of the New York National Guard.
  • Kevin R. Wendel, US Army major general, commander of Combined Security Transition Command in Afghanistan.
  • Walter T. Lord, US Army major general (retired), military advisor in residence, Austin Peay State University.

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