Reassignment of Senior Military Officers Can Be Managed Better

FPCD-78-28: Published: Mar 21, 1978. Publicly Released: Mar 21, 1978.

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The effect of senior military officers' assignment policies and practices were reviewed with an emphasis on: the cost and extent of senior officer reassignment, reasons for reassignments, the services' assignment policies, and control which may be needed to manage turbulence.

The military made 1.6 permanent change of station moves at a cost of $1.6 billion in fiscal year 1977. Senior officers accounted for 1 percent of all moves and 4 percent of all costs. Worldwide staffing requirements, career development, training, promotions, and retirements are the principal reasons for reassignments. There are no criteria to define how often senior officers should be reassigned to provide continuity, accountability of decisions, good performance, and unit readiness. The thrust in recent years has been to achieve stability by reducing permanent change of station costs. While costs should be a factor, a more rational reassignment policy for senior officers should also consider the effects of frequent reassignments on other elements of personnel policy. The total effect of turbulence, a term used for refer to shortened tours and their effect on the permanent change of station budget, has not been measured. Since senior officers are only a small part of the total military personnel, reducing senior officer movement will not greatly reduce the permanent change of station appropriation.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Office of the Secretary of Defense and the services need to develop specific policies on senior officers. They also need to better control the reassignment process so that reassignments will not be excessive. This will involve defining turbulence and developing a control system that identifies total reassignments, measures levels of reassignments, and provides for corrective action.

    Agency Affected:


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