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This technical report describes the design of a RAND simulation model that has been adapted specifically to address general and flag officer (GFO) management subject to provisions of the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2009. The Act introduced the joint pool rubric, which provides for the designation of up to 324 GFO positions that will be allocated among the services. These positions will not be counted against service GFO grade and strength ceilings. The revised strength accounting rules were designed to increase competition for joint positions and to encourage greater use of reserve component (RC) GFOs in those positions, but they will add to the complexity of managing active component (AC) and RC end and grade strengths. The computer simulation model was applied to assess the complexity and feasibility of managing the new end- and grade-strength accounting rules. The results support the conclusion that GFO end-strength management is a tractable challenge. The model schedules assignments, holds positions open when needed, forecasts retirements, forecasts promotions, and generally operates under a fairly sophisticated set of business rules and model procedures similar to real-world processes. With these processes, the model manages end strength, grade pyramids, and limitations on officers serving in external billets. End-strength violations do occur, but they appear to fall within the admittedly amorphous standard of “acceptable.”

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Background

  • Chapter Two

    Model Description

  • Chapter Three

    Model Results

  • Chapter Four

    Conclusions

  • Appendix

    Model Results for Scenarios 2 and 3

The research described in this report was prepared for the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted in the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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