On the 9th of June, Ashton Carter, Defense Secretary, proposed several major changes to personnel policies and practices for both civilian and military personnel. Some of these practices are long-standing, and may face some opposition from Congress, whose approval will be needed for many of the proposed changes. This could be a problem.
It is no secret that Congress has been gridlocked on many issues concerning the military, especially since the election cycle has started in earnest. Carter, however, remains optimistic, saying: “We’re pleased with the positive support we’ve seen,” referring to his talks with Capitol Hill leadership that focused on Carter’s Force of the Future initiative. This far-reaching plan is designed to modernize bureaucracy within the Pentagon. Carter also said that he hopes to make the majority of the proposed changes permanent, rather than slotting them into pilot programs that are usually temporary. This permanency would give personnel a sense of stability as they plan careers.
One change that he proposed would eliminate all paperwork during the recruitment and enlistment process, making all forms digital within the next five years. This change would not need Congressional approval. Carter said that currently the services are using up between 70 and 80 million pieces of paper a year just during these two processes.
Congress, however, will need to approve the changes he wants to make as he attempts to revise the 1980 Defense Officer Personnel Management Act. He mentioned the “up or out” policy for officers specifically. He would like Congress to change the somewhat strict guidelines that are currently being used to dictate just how long any officer can stay within one rank before he or she is penalized if they are not promoted within that time period.
He also proposed that Congress approve six weeks of paid maternity and paternity leave for civilian personnel, that changes be made to make hiring personnel directly from college easier and more streamlined, and that certain qualified civilians in fields such as cyber, encryption, and other tech fields be allowed to be recruited at higher entrance ranks such as is currently being done with doctors and attorneys.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
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