Congress has recently expressed concern that the current tenure system for developing general and flag officers does not effectively prepare them for handling increasing levels of responsibility and for performing with maximum efficiency at each level of assignment. This report assesses the continued appropriateness of mandatory retirement of general and flag officers after35 years. It focuses on the value of extending tenure, specifically examining promotions, number of assignment, and career length. The study discusses two types of consequences resulting from such an extension. Systemic results of longer service lead to fewer promotions and fewer rising to the highest grades, but increased stability and experience. Career-path consequences indicate more depth or breadth of experience could result for officers. The appropriateness of continued mandatory retirement after 35years depends, finally, on objectives. If the objective is rapid career-path movement to positions of responsibility, the 35-year limit accomplishes this. If the goal is more experienced officers and greater stability, removing the limit seems best. Decision makers will need to decide which objective is most important.
Table of Contents
Certain Consequences of Additional Service
Legislation Pertaining to General or Flag Officer Tenure
Discussion of Manpower Models