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Starting Strong: Talent-based Branching of Newly Commissioned U.S. Army Officers (Officer Corps Strategy, Volume 9)

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Army War College - Strategic Studies Institute Carlisle United States

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For the better part of 2 centuries, the United States Army has assigned each newly commissioned officer to one of several occupational fields referred to as the basic branches for example, Infantry, Aviation, Armor, etc.. Until very recently, the key determinant of branch assignment was a new officers graduating class rank rather than any objective alignment of individual talents with branch talent demands. This was because the Army had little, if any, granular information on its talent supply or demand. Sub-optimal branch assignments often resulted, placing downward pressure on overall officer corps productivity, job satisfaction, and retention. By replacing this almost feudal, top-down, information-starved branching process with regulated market mechanisms, however, the U.S. Army has dramatically improved the information on both sides of the branching decision. Rather than being framed by an influential mentor or peer pressure, lieutenants branch preferences are now most powerfully shaped by the unique talent demand signals emanating from each branch, as well as by an improved understanding of their own talents. Strong evidence demonstrates that this talent-based approach better aligns officer talent with occupational requirements while increasing individual branch satisfaction.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

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