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The Biggest Thing to Know Before OCS (SULE and 5 Paragraph order)

Officer Candidates School is a rigorous training program, in which candidates are screened and evaluated based on physical fitness, academics, and leadership capabilities. There are many components to each section, but the main focus of this post will be to better prepare you for the leadership aspect; specifically, the Small Unit Leadership Evaluations otherwise known as SULE.

At Officer Candidate School, Small Unit Leadership Evaluations are conducted on two scales the fire team sized element (4 candidates) and squad sized element (13-15 candidates). Each candidate must fill the shoes of a unit leader. The unit leader is evaluated based on their ability to take an order given to them from an instructor verbally. The unit leader must then plan, brief and execute their plan at their scale of operation in accordance with the information provided. Instructors look at several things when evaluating: confidence, command and control, knowledge of the operations order and mission focus. When going through the execution of their plan many candidates forget the mission because they expect the end point to be when they take contact and neutralize an enemy. In many cases, however, this is not the end. Some missions can be as simple as as a resupply. Do not make the same mistake as many other candidates. Pay attention to your mission as this is what you are expected to complete.

Now that you know what a SULE is, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with the 5-paragraph order as this is how you will be briefing your order when you are the unit leader.

What exactly is a 5-paragraph order?

A 5-paragraph order is a way of giving subordinates or peers the essential information that is needed to carry out the mission. This order specifically allows for plans to become actions. While also providing specifics of instruction and direction to the units and elements.

If you go into OCS knowing the format of the order and have an understanding of how it works you will be far ahead of your peers. Keep in mind that not everyone's 5 paragraph skeletons will be the same, but this will be a helpful tool to utilize for practice.

See the resources below for additional assistance in preparing for OCS.

Skeleton for OP Order
Download DOC • 50KB

Manhattan OSS Op Order Brief
Download PPTX • 781KB


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