Overview of the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) I:
ROTC Basic Course (MSL 1201/1202 - MSL 2201/2202)
Instruction in the five topical tracks is sequenced into the ROTC Basic and Advanced Courses through the Military Science and leadership (MSL) courses. The Basic Course (MSL I and MSL II) is designed to enhance student interest in ROTC and the Army while providing an overview of each of the five MSL tracks. The Basic Course normally corresponds to the cadet’s freshman and sophomore years, and is designed to enhance student interest in ROTC and the Army, thereby helping retain them in the ROTC program. By the end of the Basic Course, cadets should possess a basic understanding of the unique aspects of the officer corps, fundamentals of leadership and decision-making, the Army’s institutional values, and principles of individual fitness and a healthy lifestyle. The lessons are designed to maximize cadet participation, inspire intellectual curiosity, stimulate self-study, and encourage cadets to contract.
MSL 1201 introduces cadets to the personal challenges and competencies that are critical for effective leadership. Cadets learn how the personal development of life skills such as critical thinking, goal setting, time management, physical fitness, and stress management relate to leadership, officership, and the Army profession. The focus is on developing basic knowledge and comprehension of Army leadership dimensions while gaining a big picture understanding of the ROTC program, its purpose in the Army, and its advantages for the student.
MSL 1202 overviews leadership fundamentals such as setting direction, problem-solving, listening, presenting briefs, providing feedback, and using effective writing skills. Cadets explore dimensions of leadership values, attributes, skills, and actions in the context of practical, hands-on, and interactive exercises. Cadre role models and the building of stronger relationships among the cadets through common experience and practical interaction are critical aspects of the MSL 1202 experience.
MSL 2201 explores the dimensions of creative and innovative tactical leadership strategies and styles by examining team dynamics and two historical leadership theories that form the basis of the Army leadership framework. Cadets practice aspects of personal motivation and team building in the context of planning, executing, and assessing team exercises and participating in leadership labs. Focus is on continued development of the knowledge of leadership values and attributes through an understanding of Army rank, structure, and duties and basic aspects of land navigation and squad tactics. Case studies provide tangible context for learning the Soldier’s Creed and Warrior Ethos as they apply in the contemporary operating environment (COE).
MSL 2202 examines the challenges of leading tactical teams in the COE. The course highlights dimensions of terrain analysis, patrolling, and operation orders. Further study of the theoretical basis of the Army leadership framework explores the dynamics of adaptive leadership in the context of military operations. Cadets develop greater self awareness as they assess their own leadership styles and practice communication and team building skills. COE case studies give insight into the importance and practice of teamwork and tactics in real world scenarios.
Overview of the Basic Officer Leadership Course (BOLC) I:
ROTC Advanced Course (MSL 3401/3402 - MSL 4401/4403 and LDAC)
The BOLC I: ROTC Advanced Course is comprised of four academic courses, MSL 3401, MSL 3402, MSL 4401, and MSL 4403 plus the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). These courses develop each MSL track in greater depth in order to teach the cadet all the knowledge, skills, and attitudes essential for commissioning, success at BOLC II and BOLC III, and the establishment of a solid foundation for a career as a commissioned Army officer. The BOLC I: ROTC Advanced Course is founded on the BOLC I Common Core Critical Task list. Cadets who did not complete the Basic Course attend the Leader’s Training Course (LTC) in order to prepare for the Advanced Course. Advanced Course lessons are carefully sequenced, linked, and progressive in their treatment of key officer knowledge and competencies. Cadets are encouraged to synthesize lessons to form broader perspectives, deeper insights, and more robust problem solving abilities, by the use of case studies and simulations that require the use of skills and knowledge learned in a wide variety of earlier lessons. The sequencing of lessons is also designed to meet the immediate needs of cadets by addressing topics needed for success in the performance of cadet responsibilities early in the MSL 301 term and at LDAC, and topics designed to facilitate entry into active military service during the MSL 4403 term.
MSL 3401 challenges cadets to study, practice, and evaluate adaptive leadership skills as they are presented with challenging scenarios related to squad tactical operations. Cadets receive systematic and specific feedback on their leadership attributes and actions. Based on such feedback, as well as their own self-evaluations, cadets continue to develop their leadership and critical thinking abilities. The focus is developing cadets’ tactical leadership abilities to enable them to succeed at ROTC’s summer Leadership Development and Assessment Course (LDAC).
MSL 3402 uses increasingly intense situational leadership challenges to build cadet awareness and skills in leading small units. Skills in decision-making, persuading and motivating team members when "under fire" are explored, evaluated, and developed. Aspects of military operations are reviewed as a means of preparing for the Leader Development and Assessment Course (LDAC). Cadets are expected to apply basic principles of the Law of Land Warfare, Army training, and motivation to troop leading procedures. Emphasis is also placed on conducting military briefings and developing proficiency in garrison operation orders. MSL 3402 cadets are evaluated on what they know and do as leaders.
LDAC/Warrior Forge is the crucible of the Army ROTC Program. The primary focus at LDAC is to evaluate each cadet's officer potential in a collective environment. The secondary purpose of LDAC is to validate specific skills taught on campus and to impart selective individual and collective common skills. LDAC represents the only opportunity to assemble cadets from disparate schools into an environment with common operational conditions.
MSL 4401 develops cadet proficiency in planning, executing, and assessing complex operations, functioning as a member of a staff, and providing performance feedback to subordinates. Cadets assess risk, make ethical decisions, and lead fellow ROTC cadets. Lessons on military justice and personnel processes prepare cadets to make the transition to Army officers. MSL IV cadets analyze, evaluate, and instruct cadets at lower levels. Both their classroom and battalion leadership experiences are designed to prepare MSL 401 cadets for their first unit of assignment. They identify responsibilities of key staff, coordinate staff roles, and use situational opportunities to teach, train, and develop subordinates.
MSL 4403 explores the dynamics of leading in the complex situations of current military operations in the COE. Cadets examine differences in customs and courtesies, military law, principles of war, and rules of engagement in the face of international terrorism. They also explore aspects of interacting with nongovernmental organizations, civilians on the battlefield, and host nation support. The course places significant emphasis on preparing cadets for their first unit of assignment. It uses case studies, scenarios, and "What Now, Lieutenant?" exercises to prepare cadets to face the complex ethical and practical demands of leading as commissioned officers in the United States Army.