This study has defined and prioritized the objectives of current policymakers for future officer career management. The objectives that emerge from this process as most important for the likely future environment are “keep costs reasonable,” “provide career satisfaction,” “emphasize cadre with military culture,” “meet active experience needs,” and “meet active and skill needs.”
Multiobjective decision analysis enabled us to identify promising alternatives to the current career officer management system. The new system satisfies the policymakers' objectives with high early turnover, broader and deeper individual development, a promotion system better based on merit and personnel requirements, and longer careers. It depends heavily upon the priorities accorded the objectives and on our application of current knowledge about the effects of career management on alternatives. Should these priorities change significantly or new evidence emerge on the effects of alternatives, the system might no longer be appropriate.
The value of this study goes beyond the specification of a single officer career management system. It provides insights into and a framework for addressing change, and directs future discussion to the motivations for change and the priorities of the decisionmakers contemplating it. In addition, the sensitivity analysis and the career systems proposed for each of the four skill groups provide an understanding of how the proposed system should change if the supporting priorities change. Future work might further assess tradeoffs (objective weights), develop better estimates of the effects of alternatives on objectives, and investigate how the system might respond in