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View Full Version : Pentagon looks at changes for 'up-or-out' rules



Bos Mutus
06-11-2015, 06:39 PM
The top Pentagon officials pushing for an overhaul of the military personnel system are setting their sights on the "up-or-out" rules that have defined active-duty career tracks for generations.
Brad Carson, the Defense Department's new personnel chief who has vowed to pursue "revolutionary" change in the way the military manages people, said those rules are ill-suited for recruiting and retaining the high-skilled force that future combat operations will require.
Also known as "high-year tenure rules," they require both officers and enlisted troops to leave military service if they fail to get promoted within specified times.
The fresh scrutiny of the up-or-out rules comes as top officials are mounting a push for sweeping change to the military personnel system, part of an effort to better compete with the private sector for highly-skilled workers.
"The best companies in America today … don't take people who are engaged in disciplines where there is a steep learning curve, where every year you are getting better, and when you are in your 40s or your 50s and at the very apex of your career, say, 'I'm sorry, we are forcing you to retire,' " Carson said at a recent event for military personnel professionals outside Washington, D.C.
"If you are an infantryman, that is a hard job and you are probably peaking at your performance in your 20s, or if not your early 30s at the latest," Carson said.
"It's different to be 50 years old in the infantry, as opposed to being a computer network exploitation expert who is getting better every single year — or being someone in the [Judge Advocate General] Corps where you are getting better every single year," Carson said.
"So maybe there is a way we need to think about how to modify the up-or-out promotion system."
Carson's public remarks Tuesday were among his first since taking over as undersecretary for personnel and readiness in April. He signaled that despite his limited time in office — only 18 months remain until a new White House administration would most likely appoint his successor — Carson is seeking to make big changes to the way the military manages its people.
Troops should not expect to be promoted just because they have clocked time in their current paygrade, Carson said.
"We need to move away from the rigid, time-based management system to one that is more competency-based or talent-based," he said.
The catalyst for such reform is partly the rising demand for cyber warriors and concern that the military is currently ill-equipped to recruit, retain and manage the kind of technologically savvy young people who are both in high demand in the private sector and vital to the military's future missions.
In response to an audience question, Carson was blunt when asked about the Defense Department's current effort to stand up a dedicated cyber force of about 6,000 troops: "I don't think we are meeting our cyber goals in quantity or quality."
Building a cyber force will require a new approach to managing people, and military personnel professionals should not view it as a unique exception, he said.
"People seem to be satisfied that cyber might be a discipline that one can experiment in. … I want to look at it differently," Carson said.
In the future, "the branches are going to be more like cyber than not, the people at the tip of the spear are going to be the kind of high-tech [people and missions], where you get better over time, not deteriorate."
The up-or-out rules for officers are mandated by Congress; the individual military services control most of the rules affecting enlisted promotions.
Some top officials disagree that up-or-out rules should change significantly, highlighting a tension today's military faces in trying to recruit and retain a force that needs both traditional soldiers as well as the next generation of high-tech warriors.
Roy Wallace, an Army assistant deputy chief of staff, said up-or-out rules are important for maintaining a force of young infantrymen.
"There is goodness in the rotation," Wallace said at the same Tuesday event.
"Inside the United States Army there is something called volume — because it takes a lot of human beings to hold ground, at least today it does," Wallace said.
"My core is a young infantryman out on point somewhere on a [forward operating base] in Afghanistan. He doesn't have a huge technological draw like a cyber guy or anything like that. And you have to be real careful that you don't disenfranchise the centerpiece of your formation that is out there sweating and bleeding on the cutting edge.

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This is interesting...

garhkal
06-11-2015, 07:28 PM
So will this impact high year tenure rules for Enlisted?

Rainmaker
06-11-2015, 07:30 PM
This is interesting...

BOHiCA!!!!

Bos Mutus
06-11-2015, 08:52 PM
So will this impact high year tenure rules for Enlisted?

Impossible to say at this point...doesn't sound like they even have a plan, they're just kicking around the idea.

It would seem "the idea" is that if you are in a certain kind of career field, cyber, contracting, legal, maybe maintenance...then those are the people they would like to keep beyond traditional high-year....so, yes.

To truly "compete with the private sector"....I wonder if we could also see something like mid to experienced recruiting...i.e. you hire are cyber security expert at a more senior level.

As it is now, all military personnel are brought in at basically entry-level and trained/grown within...not many companies do that.

I like the out of box thinking...don't think we'll see it get very far for at least a few years...maybe waiving HYT for certain careeer fields or something...but I like the out-of-the-box thinking

Rainmaker
06-11-2015, 09:15 PM
Impossible to say at this point...doesn't sound like they even have a plan, they're just kicking around the idea.

It would seem "the idea" is that if you are in a certain kind of career field, cyber, contracting, legal, maybe maintenance...then those are the people they would like to keep beyond traditional high-year....so, yes.

To truly "compete with the private sector"....I wonder if we could also see something like mid to experienced recruiting...i.e. you hire are cyber security expert at a more senior level.

As it is now, all military personnel are brought in at basically entry-level and trained/grown within...not many companies do that.

I like the out of box thinking...don't think we'll see it get very far for at least a few years...maybe waiving HYT for certain careeer fields or something...but I like the out-of-the-box thinking

compete with the private sector. what a crock of shit......Maybe they should stop outsourcing what used to be considered inherently governmental functions to industry. which as it stands now, is a self imposed wound. The military is serving as a training ground for the contractors. Now, that the writing is on the wall (that they're going to gut retirement) it will only get worse. But, that's been the plan behind these "reforms" all along. It hasn't a thing to do with what's best for the military. It's all a corporate give a way. The next war will be fought with contractors and cannon fodder illegal dreamer draftees, and special shock brigade of Jack booted transtestical Eunichs.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-11-2015, 09:15 PM
Impossible to say at this point...doesn't sound like they even have a plan, they're just kicking around the idea.

It would seem "the idea" is that if you are in a certain kind of career field, cyber, contracting, legal, maybe maintenance...then those are the people they would like to keep beyond traditional high-year....so, yes.

To truly "compete with the private sector"....I wonder if we could also see something like mid to experienced recruiting...i.e. you hire are cyber security expert at a more senior level.

As it is now, all military personnel are brought in at basically entry-level and trained/grown within...not many companies do that.

I like the out of box thinking...don't think we'll see it get very far for at least a few years...maybe waiving HYT for certain careeer fields or something...but I like the out-of-the-box thinking

I find it odd that they are focusing on HYT for retention in critical career fields. That doesn't make much sense to me.

I think the subject of an expanded warrant officer program and re-enlistment bonuses would have come up, no matter how far outside the box they were thinking.

Bos Mutus
06-11-2015, 09:56 PM
I find it odd that they are focusing on HYT for retention in critical career fields. That doesn't make much sense to me.

I think the subject of an expanded warrant officer program and re-enlistment bonuses would have come up, no matter how far outside the box they were thinking.

Re-enlistment bonuses have been around for a long time...they still are aren't they? Warrant Officer is a solid idea though for what they are trying to accomplish, I think.

The problem we have with "up or out"...is that once someone finally gets pretty good at some of these high tech/high knowledge jobs...they are moved into management, etc. just by the nature of the military progression. I've a guy is a really good mechanic, lawyer, pilot...he doesn't get to stay as one...he becomes superintendent, JAG, commander, and is more of a manager/leader than a hands on person...many of them would even prefer to stay at the worker level, but are compelled to promote out of it.

Seems in here, they are really focused on Cyber...so maybe that's the community driving this. Our real "cyber warriors" are SrA-TSgt...young guys without a lot of experience...and we aren't Google or Apple that are recruiting the brightest compugeeks from the best colleges, we're taking high school graduates and sending them to an 8-week non-fail tech school...then, once they get 10 years experience, they make master and spend their days writing EPRs and Decs and doing Asst First Shirt, etc.

Mjölnir
06-11-2015, 10:21 PM
I find it odd that they are focusing on HYT for retention in critical career fields. That doesn't make much sense to me.

I think the subject of an expanded warrant officer program and re-enlistment bonuses would have come up, no matter how far outside the box they were thinking.

When I was on Capitol Hill, the warrant officer subject came up, the Air Force reps I was working with signaled that the AF was not really interesting it.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-11-2015, 10:33 PM
Re-enlistment bonuses have been around for a long time...they still are aren't they? Warrant Officer is a solid idea though for what they are trying to accomplish, I think.

The problem we have with "up or out"...is that once someone finally gets pretty good at some of these high tech/high knowledge jobs...they are moved into management, etc. just by the nature of the military progression. I've a guy is a really good mechanic, lawyer, pilot...he doesn't get to stay as one...he becomes superintendent, JAG, commander, and is more of a manager/leader than a hands on person...many of them would even prefer to stay at the worker level, but are compelled to promote out of it.

Seems in here, they are really focused on Cyber...so maybe that's the community driving this. Our real "cyber warriors" are SrA-TSgt...young guys without a lot of experience...and we aren't Google or Apple that are recruiting the brightest compugeeks from the best colleges, we're taking high school graduates and sending them to an 8-week non-fail tech school...then, once they get 10 years experience, they make master and spend their days writing EPRs and Decs and doing Asst First Shirt, etc.

The NSA civilian workforce addressed the issue you describe by creating a tech-track program within the GS ranks.

I forget the intricacies of how it worked, but they gave senior analysts a choice of going on a management track or a technical track.

It wasn't without its problems, but it did allow some analysts with highly specialized knowledge to remain doing technical work throughout their careers.

In concept it was roughly comparable to the warrant officer program, although warrant officers usually assume a mid-level management role.

As far as HYT, the Air Force was using waivers for E-6 and above not that long ago.

By the way, writing EPRs and awards isn't that hard once you get the hang of it. I never understood people who complained that doing them took up too much of their time.

That sounds like shitty desk warrior skills to me.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-11-2015, 10:41 PM
When I was on Capitol Hill, the warrant officer subject came up, the Air Force reps I was working with signaled that the AF was not really interesting it.

No kidding, the Air Force officer corps is firmly against the warrant program, at least the old guard is.

I think that attitude originated with pilots and whenever the idea came up, cold water was tossed on it.

Anytime I was present at a Q&A session with CMSAF or a Flag-level officer I would ask for their views about a warrant officer program.

All of them sang the same tune, "we don't need a warrant officer program because our NCO corps is so strong."

Mjölnir
06-11-2015, 11:11 PM
No kidding, the Air Force officer corps is firmly against the warrant program, at least the old guard is.

I think that attitude originated with pilots and whenever the idea came up, cold water was tossed on it.

Anytime I was present at a Q&A session with CMSAF or a Flag-level officer I would ask for their views about a warrant officer program.

All of them sang the same tune, "we don't need a warrant officer program because our NCO corps is so strong."

I don't know the 'why' ... but it was just very clear they (O6 - O8 level folks I was talking to) were not interested -- speaking on behalf of the USAF.

Absinthe Anecdote
06-11-2015, 11:43 PM
I don't know the 'why' ... but it was just very clear they (O6 - O8 level folks I was talking to) were not interested -- speaking on behalf of the USAF.

I never got what I considered a straight answer, or even a measured response.

I can only speculate that rated officers (pilots) were being protective of their "seat time" or their status. I'm guessing they don't want to have warrant officers in the cockpit.

We've talked about this on the forum before, and I've read some interviews of Air Force leadership responding to such a question, but it remains unclear to me why a warrant officer program is a no-go for the Air Force.

efmbman
06-11-2015, 11:53 PM
As it is now, all military personnel are brought in at basically entry-level and trained/grown within...not many companies do that.

Not all... but I know what you mean. Health care professionals and lawyers come to mind as far as direct commissioning goes. The only enlisted specialties I know of that can enter the Army at a higher rank are band members. Coincidentally, band members are often exempt from HYT in the Army. The rub is that in the military experience is often equated to rank... and with rank comes authority (in some cases command authority). That is not something (I hope) the military is willing to hand out based on experience in the civilian sector.

Bos Mutus
06-12-2015, 02:16 PM
Not all... but I know what you mean. Health care professionals and lawyers come to mind as far as direct commissioning goes.

Direct commission, yeah...but they still start out as Captains, right? I mean, do we bring in a Surgeon with 20 years experience directly as a Colonel? Or an experienced judge/lawyer the same?


The only enlisted specialties I know of that can enter the Army at a higher rank are band members. Coincidentally, band members are often exempt from HYT in the Army.

Yeah...so it can be done! I think they do this so that they can get real professional musicians for the Service Band...so, why not do it with real technical specialties?


The rub is that in the military experience is often equated to rank... and with rank comes authority (in some cases command authority). That is not something (I hope) the military is willing to hand out based on experience in the civilian sector.


Valid point.

Mjölnir
06-12-2015, 02:27 PM
Direct commission, yeah...but they still start out as Captains, right? I mean, do we bring in a Surgeon with 20 years experience directly as a Colonel? Or an experienced judge/lawyer the same?

The highest I have seen is an anesthesiologist that came in as an O5 -- had about 25 years experience.

The dentist on my last MEU was a direct commission O4. He had been a dentist in private practice 20-some years.

Bos Mutus
06-12-2015, 02:30 PM
The highest I have seen is an anesthesiologist that came in as an O5.

Interesting...I didn't realize they did that.

Mjölnir
06-12-2015, 02:32 PM
Interesting...I didn't realize they did that.

I have only seen medical fields do it beyond O3.

Mjölnir
06-12-2015, 02:38 PM
Interesting...I didn't realize they did that.

The age limit for commissioning is 35, but there are waivers for certain fields depending on the specialty.

SomeRandomGuy
06-12-2015, 04:02 PM
Direct commission, yeah...but they still start out as Captains, right? I mean, do we bring in a Surgeon with 20 years experience directly as a Colonel?

Lt. Col, actually


Months of paperwork came to fruition in late June when Stewart accepted a commission as a lieutenant colonel in the Army Medical Corps. He said he is spending the remaining weeks of summer "continuing my surgical practice" and tying up loose ends in Cleveland.

http://www.cnn.com/2005/HEALTH/07/19/profile.cardiac.army/

In your defense, that is the highest direct commission I have ever heard of. Usually, medical personnel are direct commissioned as Captains and mostly it that is dentists. The highest direct commission I personally saw was an 0-4. I remember talking to her about it. They have some formula to determine what each year of experience is worth. I also think it has something to do with commission age.

efmbman
06-12-2015, 04:07 PM
The age limit for commissioning is 35, but there are waivers for certain fields depending on the specialty.

Speaking for the Army medical recruiting (I did it for 6 years) anything and everything can be waived. Yes, even malpractice.

The oddest part of it all was commissioning a O6 with no years time in grade. That's where the regs and laws come in. The selection board does the determination of grade at entry to include what is called constructive credit. That get the newly minted officer into a year group for promotion consideration. As far as I know, the constructive credit rules apply to all services as well as the rules for advanced rank at entry. Otherwise, each branch would be competing for docs and dentists. Can't have that.

Bos Mutus
06-12-2015, 04:08 PM
The highest I have seen is an anesthesiologist that came in as an O5 -- had about 25 years experience.

The dentist on my last MEU was a direct commission O4. He had been a dentist in private practice 20-some years.

Not related to this subject...but one base I was at had an E-6 Dental Tech who was an actual DDS a Dentist and practiced part-time at an office off-base.

As I understand it, he got his DDS later in his career and didn't want to do the 10-years commissioned or whatever...so was finishing out his 20 enlisted and planned to go full-time civilian Dentist after retirement.