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Much of current officer personnel legislation was created to address the Cold War and is based on the experiences of World War II in developing a large officer corps. In the post-Cold War environment, with the officer corps at its lowest level since the aftermath of World War II, and with a changing national security and military strategy, Congress in Section 502 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1993 (Public Law 102-484) asked for a fundamental examination of officer management for the period beyond the current drawdown. Congress and the Department of Defense expressed interest in several primary areas to include grade and skill requirements; flows into, within, and out of the services; turnover and stability; career lengths; and promotion. The conclusions reached in this study were based on a broad method of analysis designed to provide analytical information about changes that could be made in the officer career management system. The authors set forth alternative future systems from which needed policies can be selected to address DoD and service objectives for officer careers. The authors also suggested criteria for measuring how well the systems meet the purpose and objectives of officer career management described in this report.

Table of Contents

  • Preface

  • Figures

  • Tables

  • Summary

  • Acknowledgments

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Officer Requirements

  • Chapter Three

    Future Officer Requirements Options

  • Chapter Four

    Career Management Principles and Application to Officer Careers

  • Chapter Five

    Career Management in Practice

  • Chapter Six

    Alternative Officer Career Management Systems

  • Chapter Seven

    Evaluation Methodology

  • Chapter Eight

    Evaluation of Alternative Officer Career Systems

  • Chapter Nine


  • Appendix A

    Methodology for Sizing the Officer Requirements Options

  • Appendix B


  • Appendix C

    Career Satisfaction

  • Appendix D

    Description of Officer Career Management Systems of the Military Departments

  • Appendix E

    Description of Foreign Officer Career Management Systems

  • Appendix F

    Description of Military-Like Public Sector Organizations

  • Appendix G

    Developing Alternatives for Future Officer Management

  • Appendix H

    Illustrative Example of Increasing Warrant Officer Requirements

  • Appendix I

    Military Experience

This research was sponsored by RAND's National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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