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The Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986 forged a cultural revolution in the U.S. armed forces by improving the way in which the Department of Defense (DoD) prepares for and executes its mission, in part by addressing joint officer personnel policies and management requirements. In the past 15 years, successes in Iraq (Operations Desert Shield/Storm), Bosnia, and Afghanistan, and more recently in Operation Iraqi Freedom, testify to the effectiveness of the joint military force and its warfighting potential. However, recent studies and assessments have suggested that a strategic approach for joint officer management in terms of education, assignment, and promotion is necessary to address the challenges that DoD confronts in preparing officers to serve in joint organizations and leadership positions. This RAND research, sponsored by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness), revisits Goldwater-Nichols and defines and frames a strategic approach to further officers’ development in joint matters.

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted by the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

This report is part of the RAND monograph series. RAND monographs present major research findings that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND monographs undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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