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How Do I Become an Adjutant General?

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  • Written By: Mike Howells
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 05 November 2016
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An adjutant general is a specialized post that acts as the administrative head of a military. Only an officer may become an adjutant general, and normally it requires years of service before obtaining the title. In most jurisdictions, the position is one appointed by the executive branch of government. Adjutant general is not a rank but rather the title afforded to the individual charged with the duties of that office.

Adjutant generals are in charge of the human resources department of an army. From training and combat readiness to salaries, pensions, chaplain service, and inter-operability with other aspects of the military, an adjutant general must be able to handle the many administrative aspects of maintaining a modern fighting force. In the United States, there are adjutants general for each state National Guard in addition to one for the US Army. The human resources departments that exist within the militaries of other countries tend to mirror the organizational setup of that used by the US.

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Training to become an adjutant general typically involves completing an undergraduate degree, officer candidate school (OCS), and often a master's degree as well. Given the nominative nature of the position, it is somewhat of a political role as well. To that extent, skill in diplomacy, public speaking, and other aspects of communication are valued as well. Given the fact that there is only one adjutant general for each state national guard and one for the army, being in the right place at the right time is nearly as important as the qualifications and resume necessary to become an adjutant general.

At the state level, this position is the most senior military official. This means that to become an adjutant general, a candidate must be able to manage emergency situations, such as natural disaster response and domestic terrorism in addition to normal day-to-day operations and supplementing the country's active duty military. Most state constitutions require an adjutant general to be nominated by the governor and confirmed by the senate.

The Adjutant General Corps of the US Army is responsible for an additional variety of duties, including maintaining national military cemeteries, tracking ranks and promotions, and overseeing recruitment efforts. This organization as well as the state adjutants general are additionally responsible for their respective marching bands. An officer who becomes adjutant general of an army instantly finds himself charged with the most varied responsibilities in a modern military.

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