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Military Compensation to Support Retention, Performance, and Talent Management

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[Technical Report, Congressional Testimony]

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Chairwoman Speier, Ranking Member Kelly, and distinguished members of the subcommittee, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to testify this afternoon. The Defense Officer Personnel Management Act DOPMA of 1980 is a key piece of legislation that governs officer management. In recent years, service leaders, Congress, and outside experts have come to the conclusion that DOPMA prevents the services from achieving certain personnel outcomes. It hampers the services ability to recruit experienced civilians with specialized skills, such as cyber skills, or to accommodate nontraditional career paths, such as noncommand and technical career tracks. It provides insufficient opportunities for servicemembers to control their career trajectories, and it too closely ties promotions to rank and seniority, rather than performance. These concerns were highlighted in service leadership testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee in January 2018. The National Defense Authorization Act NDAA for 2019 created new authorities to address some of these concerns. It repealed the age limit of 42 for entry to the armed services created more expansive constructive credit for relevant civilian labor market experience to allow direct commissioning i.e., lateral entry up to the grade of O-6 permitted merit-based promotion lists that allow officers up to five opportunities to compete for promotion and allowed officers to opt out of promotion board consideration. At the same time, the services are also pursuing their own efforts. For example, the Army has established a Talent Management Task Force, and the Navy is pursuing its Sailor 2025 initiative to modernize personnel management and training systems. But any effort to improve retention, performance, and talent management must also consider whether and how the military compensation system might need to change. Like personnel management, military compensation is a critical strategic human resource tool.


Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Economics and Cost Analysis

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]