The College derives its ultimate authority and receives direct oversight from three governing bodies. The world-wide Salvation Army divests the training of officers to the separate countries and territories within the 127 nations (2015) in which it operates. In the United States of America, four separate territories exist, each with its own Training College, but all requiring certain minimal standards of academic offerings as specified by the National Training Curriculum. Ultimate authority and decision-making responsibility lies in the Territory's Cabinet; thus, the Eastern Territorial Cabinet serves as the final authority for the conduct of the business of education at the College and the entire Territory. The Cabinet has, however, specifically ceded responsibility for overseeing the educational and spiritual development programs and operations to the Board of Trustees for The Salvation Army for the corporation in the Northeastern United States (one of the Board's many responsibilities in the Territory), and it is this group that takes a more hands-on role in governing and recruiting, admitting of cadets (students) to the College in Suffern, New York. The Eastern Territorial Commander serves as the President of the Board of Trustees and the Chief Secretary of the Territory serves as the Vice -President of the Board of Trustees, as well as serving on the Cabinet for the Territory.
Recognizing the need to govern and make decisions wisely for all aspects of Salvation Army function in the entire Northeastern section of the United States (from Maine to Delaware, from the eastern seaboard to Ohio and Kentucky), the Board of Trustees of The Salvation Army, Eastern Territory, then, has further delegated authority to the Academic Oversight Advisory Council for the College. This Council directly interacts, approves and governs the College's programs and faculty and is chaired by the Chief Secretary of The Salvation Army USA Eastern Territory (also Vice President of the Board of Trustees, as indicated above), who serves ex officio.
Other members of the Academic Oversight Advisory Council includes as follows: (note - ex officio members are granted voting rights here)
- Training Principal (CEO) of the College for Officer Training, ex officio
- Secretary for Personnel for the USA Eastern Territory, ex officio
- USA Eastern Territory's Education Secretary, ex officio
- USA Eastern Territory's Candidates' Secretary, ex officio
- Assistant Training Principal for Ministry Development, ex officio
- Assistant Training Principal for Administration of the College for Officer Training, ex officio
- Director of Curriculum of the College for Officer Training, ex officio
- Director of Field Training of the College for Officer Training, ex officio
- An appointed representative Salvation Army Eastern Territory officer (alumni equivalent)
- An appointed Divisional Commander of the Salvation Army Eastern Territory
- An appointed representative cadet, student of the College for Officer Training
- Representative(s) of the local community
- Educator(s) from the faculty or administration of accredited faith-based colleges or universities
- Members of non-specified constituencies interested and intentionally involved in the advancement of the Army's ministry.
Except where appointed or serving by virtue of Salvation Army position appointment, Council members are elected from nominations, for three-year terms, with one-third of the Council elected annually. The Council is limited to 21 elected members and monitors, approves and oversees the curriculum, its development and faculty appointments at the College. It meets twice per year and its minutes and recommendations are received and approved, ultimately, by the Board of Trustees.