Human Resources Roles in the U.S. Military

A human resource department is vital in many different industries, including the U.S military. Human Resources in the military are responsible for providing the support that affects all soldiers’ welfare and well-being along with traditional HR responsibilities.  

If you’re thinking about pursuing HR in the military, here’s more about what your role may look like. 

What HR Looks Like in the Military 

Human resources primarily helps soldiers develop careers, which includes providing promotion and future training information. It also covers personnel support and assistance with regard to transfers, travel orders, and salary details to all divisions of the military. 

HR support is delivered in both home station and deployed environments. The operational mission of HR provides support and readiness services to commanders, soldiers, families, retirees, veterans, and contractors.  

What Makes HR in The Military Unique 

Most military organizations require candidates to have at least a Bachelors degree in Human Resources, business administration or a related field. Some high-level positions will require extensive experience, certifications or a Masters in Business Administration or human resources. 

On top of your traditional educational structure for HR professionals, candidates will be required to complete 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and nine weeks of Advanced Individual Training with on-the-job instructions on Human Resource systems. Part of this time is spent in the classroom and part in the field. 

Additional training opportunities are available based on the type of unit you’re assigned to, including, but not limited to, postal operations, airborne, or air assault school. 

Another unique aspect of HR in the military is how all promotions and advances are pursued from within and by rank.     

Responsibilities of HR Professionals in the Military 

HR professionals assist on all human resource support matters such as preparing orders or requests for orders, preparing personnel records, and assignments. More HR support responsibilities include: 

  • Transfer records to the new home of record or new duty station. 
  • Process personnel for separation and retirement. 
  • Process and executes Personnel Service Center SIDPERS level procedures and actions. 
  • Process applications for OCS, warrant officer flight training, or other training. 
  • Process recommendations for awards and decorations. 
  • Initiate action for passports and visas. 
  • Oversight of all strength management and strength distribution actions 
  • Evaluate soldiers’ career desires and qualifications for advanced assignments and prepare and process requests for transfer or reassignment. 
  • Process classification or reclassification actions. 
  • Postal and personnel accountability support 
  • Maintain emergency notification data 

All of these responsibilities play an integral role in the overall functionality of the military.  

Cari Hawthorne

Cari Hawthorne, MBA, SPHR, CP

Using Your Military Background in HR 

If you’re transitioning from a military role into HR, one of our test preparation instructors, Cari, is happy to share how she used her military experience to push her forward in her HR career.  

Cari is an Army veteran turned author and Certified Human Resources Professional. She started in the Army as a petroleum supply specialist and a fueler before transitioning to a Human Resource specialist role. Cari enjoyed HR in the Army and knew she could use it to start a civilian career once she left the military.  

She says it was a challenging transition since most civilians aren’t familiar with military terminology. But, now her strength lies in her ability to provide HR professionals with the tools they need to become thought leaders. 

“Start working on your goals early. HR in the military is transferable but has some differences in the civilian sector,” Cari says of the advice she has for military members looking into a role in HR. “Start looking at job descriptions early. I knew that certifications were important because I read job descriptions. The roles I was interested in preferred or required them. You should understand your career story and ensure you’re able to articulate it in a way that is understandable.” 

Her Current Role in HR 

Cari works diligently to equip HR professionals with the knowledge and confidence they need to ace their certification exams and excel in their careers. She’s spent the last 12 years specializing in career coaching, talent management, recruiting, and training and development. Currently, she is a Global Human Resource Business Partner for a Fortune 500 company where she advises senior leaders on people and strategy. Some of her more prominent responsibilities include: 

  • Operationalizing global and business-specific HR strategies for more than 2,200 companies across 15 countries 
  • Partnering closely with finance and business operations and acting as a consultant for labor trends and forecasting. 
  • Contributing to and leading the administration of the worldwide assessment survey to measure and solution organizational change on employee engagement, business strategies, and HR programs and initiatives 

In addition to her role as a Strategic HR Business Partner, Cari is also the founder of HR Defined, LLC where she acts as the lead facilitator for PHR/SPHR prep courses in Houston, Texas. We are proud to partner with Cari and HR Defined on our online PHR/SPHR prep courses as well.  

HREN Supports Our Military 

Active duty, military reserves, National Guard and retired military personnel are now eligible to receive a 15% discount on all online recertification courses. You can apply this discount to single courses and bundles, as well as additional discount codes offered throughout the year by HR Education Network. 

Additionally, for military personnel who’re seeking an HR Certification, we’ll offer a 10% discount on our online HR Certification Test Preparation courses. 

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