Secretary of Defense Ash Carter Announces Additional Force of the Future Initiatives

WASHINGTON — Secretary of Defense Ash Carter today announced the third and fourth links of his Force of the Future initiatives focused on military and civilian personnel policies, outlining the most significant proposed changes to the military officer promotion system in decades and new flexibilities in civilian personnel policy, including a proposal for paid maternity and paternity leave for the civilian workforce.

These proposed changes complement earlier Force of the Future initiatives. Secretary Carter announced the first link on Nov. 18, 2015, designed to increase the flow of new people and new ideas into the department. The secretary approved a second set of Force of the Future initiatives on Jan. 29, 2016, aimed at improving retention through enhanced family support.

“Winning the competition for good people is a critical part of our military edge,” Secretary Carter said. “This latest set of proposals, targeting both our military officers and our civilian workforce, will help win that competition so we can meet the security challenges of the 21st Century.”

The military officer proposals include changes to the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act, which has governed personnel policy for nearly four decades. Among the proposed changes:

– Incentivize our best performing officers by authorizing the services to establish policies to determine rank order for promotions based upon an individual’s superior performance, instead of promoting based on the date which the officer was initially commissioned.

– Providing the option for an officer to defer when they are considered for a promotion, giving officers and the services flexibility to pursue career-broadening opportunities that benefit the force without jeopardizing their career progression.

– Allowing the services expanded flexibility to bring officers in specialized fields like cybersecurity at ranks that match their skill and experience, an authority that now exists for medical specialists.

– Providing enduring flexibilities for the services to adjust DOPMA-based policies to accommodate future unforeseen needs and challenges.

Carter also proposed new flexibilities for managing the department’s 700,000 civilian workers, including:

– Authority to directly offer employment opportunities to qualified civilian students on college campuses, bypassing the lengthy application process and making the DoD a more attractive employment option.

– Instituting a two-way talent exchange program to help expose DoD civilians to best private-sector practices.

– Calling on Congress to provide paid parental leave so talented civilians don’t have to chose between a DoD job and their family.

Acting Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Peter Levine will work with the military Services to establish appropriate implementation plans for these changes. In addition, Secretary Carter said the department looks forward to working closely with Congress on the Force of the Future proposals that require legislative action.

More information on the specific initiatives is available at the following links:

Link to Secretary Carter announcement memo
Link to initiatives fact sheet

Release No: NR-209-16
June 09, 2016

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