Senior Executive Service:

Implementation of the Navy's Program To Rotate Career SES Members

GGD-88-4: Published: Oct 5, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 5, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO investigated the Navy's implementation of its Senior Executive Service (SES) rotation program.

GAO found that the: (1) program requires the Navy to rotate SES employees after they have held a position for 5 years; (2) Navy granted 30 permanent exemptions and 10 temporary waivers from mandatory rotation in view of unique skills, program needs, or personal circumstances; and (3) Navy plans to evaluate the program. GAO also found that: (1) the Navy began the program before providing SES members with information on its implementation; (2) although 65 percent of the 360 SES members polled believed that the information they eventually received was adequate, some did not completely understand the program's operation; (3) about 48 percent opposed the program, with technically skilled members more opposed than those with managerial skills; (4) many members were concerned about the program's sensitivity to individual needs; and (5) members cited career limitations and decreased morale as the most likely program disadvantages and a broader perspective of Navy activities and management flexibility as the most likely advantages.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Navy cancelled its mandatory rotation program. Rotations are now voluntary.

    Recommendation: Since the Navy plans to conduct an evaluation of the rotation program, the evaluation should specifically address the concerns that were identified in this report so that the Navy can determine what, if anything, needs to be done to alleviate them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy


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