The Experience Mix of Enlisted Personnel in the Military
Final rept. Jun 1990-Nov 1991
INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES ALEXANDRIA VA
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This paper is one in a series of studies concerned with identifying approaches to maintaining a strong military manpower capability during a period of declining budgets and force levels. Its focus is on the proper experience mix of enlisted personnel. The experience level of enlisted personnel has been growing, raising personnel costs. Some argue that experience should be cut back. In many occupations, however, personnel performance improves substantially with experience. This paper addresses determining the mix of experience that appropriately balances performance and cost. Finding this balance could maintain a high level of force readiness and save money. The paper describes current policies concerning personnel experience, and how we came to have them. The limited evidence regarding the relationship between experience and performance is reviewed. The extent to which greater experience increases compensation costs and decreases training costs is examined. It appears that greater experience would be a good buy in at least some occupations, but existing information is too sparse to support wholesale policy changes. The paper recommends experiments the reduce manning levels while beefing up experience in selected areas, such as maintenance. It also recommends developing better evidence on the relationship between experience and performance for a wide range of occupations. Two specific policy changes are suggested as candidates for rapid implementation.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations