Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The free market fix for personnel system: This just might be the lever that does it

“Up or Out Has to Go,” Lt. James McLaughlin, U.S. Navy, writes in the February issue of the resurgent “Proceedings.”

chaplin_-_modern_times
chaplin_-_modern_times

 

“Up or Out Has to Go,” Lt. James McLaughlin, U.S. Navy, writes in the February issue of the resurgent “Proceedings.”

His solution is very similar to the one our Sebastian Bae described the other day: Let commanders pick and choose from military applicants for open jobs. “We need an open and transparent system where commands can solicit sailors to apply for open positions,” he argues. He would have position precede rank: “The sailor should be ‘hired’ for a position and then promoted to the corresponding rank.” (By the way, this reminded me of when General George Marshall encountered an Army Air Force major negotiating with Army and Navy brigadiers about an aviation issue. The next day, if I recall correctly, he promoted the Army Air Force guy to brigadier.)

 

“Up or Out Has to Go,” Lt. James McLaughlin, U.S. Navy, writes in the February issue of the resurgent “Proceedings.”

His solution is very similar to the one our Sebastian Bae described the other day: Let commanders pick and choose from military applicants for open jobs. “We need an open and transparent system where commands can solicit sailors to apply for open positions,” he argues. He would have position precede rank: “The sailor should be ‘hired’ for a position and then promoted to the corresponding rank.” (By the way, this reminded me of when General George Marshall encountered an Army Air Force major negotiating with Army and Navy brigadiers about an aviation issue. The next day, if I recall correctly, he promoted the Army Air Force guy to brigadier.)

“In addition, if a command was dissatisfied with the performance of a sailor, it could elect not to renew the person’s contract. If that sailor was unable to find another gaining command, the person would leave the Navy at the end of his or her enlistment,” McLaughlin writes.

The more I hear old salts scream “hell no” at this suggestion, the more I suspect it is the way to go.

Photo credit: Wikimedia commons

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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