Esper: Army Changing Personnel Management to Attract, Retain Talent

Jeff Brody
Mark Esper

Army Secretary and 2019 Wash100 Award recipient Mark Esper said the service is making changes to its personnel system to keep up with adversaries amid the "war for talent," National Defense Magazine reported Thursday. The service wants to implement a new approach to organize, train and retain forces. 

“We must make the best use of all of our talent if we are to stay ahead of our very capable adversaries,” he said at the Women In Defense annual conference in Arlington, Va. “The current system — as effective as it has been in the past — simply will not allow us to optimize the potential of our workforce going forward.”

The Army intends to prioritize the skills, knowledge, behavior and preferences of future workforce to better attract and retain talent. The current personnel system lacks focus on talent and personal preferences of people, the secretary said. 

“Oftentimes, only rank and military specialty are all that are used in most cases to determine a person's next to assignment,” Esper said. “Such rudimentary management of our people is no longer sufficient for today's generation.” 

The proposed changes to the Army’s personnel management include increased transparency, expanded opportunities for officers, noncommissioned officers and civilians, career flexibility, reduced frequency of change of stations and new parental leave and on-base child care policies. 

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