Learn about the categories of the branches of the Army


A branch is a grouping of officers that comprises an arm or service of the Army in which, as a minimum, officers are commissioned, assigned, developed and promoted through their company grade years. Officers are accessed into a single basic branch and will hold that branch designation, which is later augmented between the 5th and 6th years of service with a functional area. An accession branch admits officers upon commissioning; a nonaccession branch admits experienced officers from the accession branches. With the exception of Special Forces, all other branches are accession branches. Special Forces recruits officers with a minimum of 3 years experience. Officers will serve their first 8 to 12 years developing the leadership and tactical skills associated with their branch. They will continue to wear their branch insignia throughout their military service. All career branches are in the Operations Career Field.


Through company grade years, most officers will serve predominately in positions from within their basic branch. Some officers will serve in functional area or branch/functional area generalist positions (not related to a specific branch or functional area) after they are branch qualified as captains. Following Career Field designation, officers will be assigned to positions within their Career Field (basic branch or FA) or to generalist positions. This type of assignment pattern promotes assignment stability and development within a branch or functional area.