Leadership: December 18, 2001

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Faced with a growing gap between warriors (some ten percent of the military) and support people (the rest), there is growing sentiment for coming up with a solution. One of the fears driving this issue is that the warriors are so outnumbered that the support people are increasingly dominating the senior leadership positions. Although it has long been customary for only combat officers to hold the highest positions, this has been steadily eroding. Another issue is money. The support people get the same extensive benefits (including retirement after 20 years) that the warriors get. One of the more interesting proposals is to expand the number of government civilian employees doing support jobs. This has actually been happening, slowly, over the last few decades. The idea is to do this conversion much more aggressively, replacing a large percentage of uniformed personnel (twenty percent or more) with civilians. Most likely, these civilians would work under a contract that would require them to transfer overseas as needed, and even be put into uniform if war is declared. Another proposal is to mandate that these civilians be members of the reserves. Expect to see this issue surface in the news more often in the future.

 


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