OPNAV N14 Quick Reference

Officer Manpower and Personnel Governance in the U.S. Navy — Law, Policy, Practice

by Roland J. Yardley, Peter Schirmer, Harry J. Thie, Samantha J. Merck


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The Navy manages its officer corps with the primary goal of meeting the national security and military strategies. Within that broad goal, it also manages its officers to provide them with individual opportunities and a reasonable quality of life, in the most cost-effective way, within a framework of law, policy, and practice. The Navy has a number of personnel management tools that it can use to shape the officer corps to meet various goals. If the Navy wishes to alter its personnel management practices, it can do so. However, its ability to change some aspect of management depends on what determines the nature of the specific management practice. Changing a law, of course, requires congressional action, typically a lengthy process. Changing a Navy policy simply requires the Navy to issue a new one, which could happen quickly. This document describes the laws and policies that affect various aspects of active component officer personnel management. It distinguishes between DoD policy and Navy policy, because they are not always identical. While this research focuses on the U.S. Navy, it could apply to other services.

The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Navy. The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center supported by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the unified commands, and the defense agencies.

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