Services Agree on Need for Personnel Policy Changes

Armed services manpower managers agree the military’s personnel system needs to change, but the enthusiasm for some proposed changes apparently varies, based on comments from several defense officials during a Defense One forum on Tuesday. Vice Adm. William Moran, the chief of naval personnel, and Roy Wallace, an Army resource manager, said they had different immediate priorities—the Navy is trying to hold on to its best personnel and the Army is forced to manage a deep cut in soldiers—but both said the rigid bureaucracy makes it hard to adjust to changing needs. Moran indicated resistance to the proposal to end the “up-or-out” promotion rules, but supported the idea of career sabbaticals and ways to bring in specialists at mid-career status. Although there was no Air Force representative on the panel, Air Force leaders launched a pilot effort, the Career Intermission Program, to allow personnel to take time from service for family or education reasons and to return without career penalties. They have asked Congress to allow expansion of the trial. Wallace and Moran both noted the problem of getting approval and funding from Congress to make major changes and urged greater flexibility in personnel policies.