Today’s best junior officers, those with high talent and a strong calling to service, should become the admirals and generals who testify before Congress and serve as Joint Chiefs in 20 years. Retaining them is vital; losing them hurts our long-term ability to creatively transform the military as security challenges change. The U.S. military must replace its industrial-age personnel processes and insular culture with contemporary personnel and talent management systems that reward innovation. …
A short list of overdue changes to the military personnel system includes efforts to:
• Promote top performers only when they are selected for higher responsibilities.
• Eliminate year-group and “time in grade” promotions.
• Find and release the worst performers at all levels.
• Establish a job posting system.
• Give senior leaders responsibility for assessing, hiring and developing talent.
• Allow top talent to choose non-command assignments.
• Establish succession-planning processes.
• Create assignment flexibility between active and reserve components.
• Learn from exit interviews.
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