Answers to the Top Army Questions


Looking to join the U.S. ? You probably have many questions about what Army life and training are like. What are the benefits? What is training like? What does it ? How can you get ready?

What is the U.S. Army?

The U.S. Army is one of six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. It is a strategic instrument of national policy that has served our country well in peace and war for more than two centuries. Soldiers enable America to fulfill its world leadership responsibilities of safeguarding our national interests, preventing global calamity and making the world a safer place.


We do this by finding peaceful solutions to the frictions between nation states, addressing the problems of human suffering and, when required, fighting and winning our nation's wars -- our nonnegotiable contract with the American people.

What's the ASVAB?

The is a test that measures your aptitudes. It consists of 10 short individual tests covering word knowledge, paragraph comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, mathematics knowledge, general science, auto and shop information, mechanical comprehension, electronics information, numerical operations and coding speed. When you take the ASVAB before enlisting, not only do you receive scores on each of these individual tests, but several individual test results are combined to yield three academic composite scores: verbal, math and academic ability.


What is Army basic training like?

Red Phase (weeks 1-3): In this phase you'll start your transformation from volunteer to soldier. You'll learn the Army values and fundamentals of soldiering. You'll also take the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

White Phase (weeks 4-5): White Phase, also known as the Rifleman or Gunfighter Phase. This phase focuses heavily on combat skills and is all about marksmanship.

Blue Phase (week 6-9): These weeks include a lot of testing. During them you'll also learn leadership skills and self-discipline, and improve your understanding of teamwork.

Basic training graduation (week 10):


The final week is all about capping your training, followed by sharing your accomplishments with your friends and family.

Should I do anything before I go to basic training?

Yes. For tips on how to prepare yourself physically and mentally for boot camp, see .

How do I become an Army officer?

You can become an officer through the , Army , OCS or Direct Commissioning programs. If you have or soon will have a four-year college degree, you may consider enlisting in the U.S. Army with the intention of becoming an officer. Graduates of the Army Officer Candidate School (OCS) are commissioned as second lieutenants (O-1) and earn sergeant (E-5) pay while in the school.


This program is available to qualified applicants, with or without any previous military service, who enlist for a period of three years.

What is the U.S. Military Academy?

The U.S. Military Academy at , New York trains Army officers. Its mission is to educate, train and inspire the Corps of Cadets so that each graduate is a commissioned leader of character committed to the values of duty, honor, country; professional growth throughout a career as an officer in the United States Army; and a lifetime of selfless service to the nation.

What is Army Officer Candidate School?


Officer Candidate School (OCS) is another way to become an officer in the Army. After completing basic combat training, candidates participate in rigorous training for 14 weeks and then attend the Officer Basic Course.

What about direct Army commissions?

As a professional lawyer, engineer, member of the clergy or doctor, you also may qualify for a direct commission. .

Does the Army promote enlistees to the officer ranks?

Yes. This program is known as "green to gold."

What if I'm a physician or dentist?

The Army also is seeking qualified health professionals.


For more information about the medical programs. You can have someone contact you about applying your medical trade in the service by .

Does the Army have Reserve opportunities?

Yes. You can . For more detailed information on the Reserves, you also can check the .

What is a drill?

This applies to Reserve and Guard service. Drills are periods of inactive duty training (IDT), under orders, scheduled to augment training. No more than two drills can be performed on one calendar day, and each drill must be at least four hours long. Most units schedule multiple drills over one weekend each month (two drills Saturday and two drills Sunday).


What if I have a problem getting time off from my employer to fulfill my Reserve military service obligations?

By law, as a member of the Reserve, you, upon request, must be granted a leave of absence to satisfy a requirement for military training. The Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act () requires employers to provide Reservists with time away from their jobs to perform military duty. However, you must notify your employer that you intend to take military leave. You must be reemployed after completion of your military duty and return to your job within a reasonable time. You must be treated as though you had never left employment, including scheduled s, promotions or credit for longevity or vacation. Your employer only has to hold a job open for 60 months if you accept voluntary orders.