Officer Specialty Management System – What’s in it for me?

This blog post is the 27th in a series of posts highlighting the various specialties and subspecialties offered by the recently launched Officer Specialty Management System. Stay tuned as we share key information about each specialty/subspecialty in the coming weeks!

OSMS review

What is OSMS?

The Officer Specialty Management System, OSMS, was launched in June 2013; it is the Coast Guard’s official talent management system as related to officer specialties. In essence, the purpose of the system is to capture the supply and demand for all officer specialties which is accomplished by assignment of Officer Specialty Codes, OSC, to all billets and, as earned, to officers.

OSMS enables numerous workforce management decisions, while simultaneously serving as a career planning tool for junior officers. OSMS ensures your specialty expertise value is captured and known to the organization. The Officer Evaluations Branch, PSC-OPM-3, manages the overall program, while specialty managers within each program set specialty requirements.

What’s in it for me?

Career Planning

OSMS improves career planning by clarifying what is necessary to achieve specialty designation; for some specialties that includes mastery of craft progression through apprentice, journeyman and master levels, and/or specific currency requirements.


Don’t miss out on an assignment opportunity – whether it is a special detail, contingency operations or your dream job. Ensure your talents are captured and visible within Direct Access/CGBI. Currently, assignment officers use OSCs to assist them in the assignment process. OSCs are not, and are not intended to be, the sole determinant for assignment.


The Coast Guard has authority in law to promote with regard to officer specialty – sometimes referred to as ‘Enhanced Status Quo’, ESQ. The vision of promotion with regard to specialty is to maintain the tenets of a best-qualified promotion system while, to a small degree, influencing that system to better meet service needs.

While the Coast Guard is authorized to promote with regard to specialty, system policy and process are still under development. Future promotion by specialty will likely be directed via the annual Officer Corps Management Plan. It is an important distinction to note OSMS is not ESQ; and ESQ is not OSMS. OSMS is a tool that will inform promotion with regard to specialty… just as it informs other workforce and personnel management decisions.

Bottom line: officer corps specialty needs are identified through OSMS so it is important for all OSCs, both for officers and billets, to be as accurate as possible. Currently, boards and panels can view your assigned OSCs on your employee summary sheet.


OSCs will display on your separation and discharge documents. While it is important for this form to be as accurate as possible, documentation of this information could potentially affect your next job!

As a leader

Take care of your people to best execute the mission. OSMS helps get the right officers in the right jobs at the right time to positively impact mission execution. Knowing the specialty requirements can help get your officers the skills and resources they need to be recognized as a specialist. This information can also help you counsel junior officers as to potential career paths. Leaders should also be ensuring unit officer billets have the proper OSCs assigned so the “demand” signal is accurate.

What do I need to do?

• Visit the PSC-OPM-3 OSMS website and become more familiar with OSMS.
• Review the plain language listing of all Officer Specialty Codes.
• Target possible specialties in which you are interested, or for which you may qualify, and take a look at the more specific Officer Specialty Requirements.
These forms detail the competencies, training, education, licenses, and/or experience needed to qualify to become a specialist in a given field. If you qualify – apply for the specialty!
• Use form CGHQ-5319A, route for signature to your CO or their designated representative, and submit to PSC-OPM-3. Ensure your CGBI employee summary sheet accurately portrays all officer specialty requirement criteria.

If you still have questions please contact Brandon Chittum, OSMS Program Manager.

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