25 April 2015

Make Manpower Matter

APRIL 22, 2015 

Brad Carson faces formidable challenges as he steps in as the Pentagon’s acting undersecretary of Personnel and Readiness (P&R). As Gordon Lubold describes in his excellentarticle in Defense One, the former Army undersecretary and former Congressman from Oklahoma will inherit a weak and dysfunctional office that has combined rapid turnover at the top with a large and demoralized workforce. With no consistency or empowered leadership, the office has languished, despite the central importance of personnel and readiness to the capabilities of our armed forces. Carson, while highly competent, has less than two years to turn things around. A real long-term fix needs a number of big steps. 

First, and most important, senior defense experts must acknowledge how central the Office of Personnel and Readiness is to the health of our armed forces, and put themselves forward as candidates rather than holding out for the more prestigious posts. The list of luminaries who angled for the P&R job in the Obama administration is notably short. As a result, the office has suffered through nine leaders over the last nine years, including being helmed by acting undersecretaries more than 40 percent of the time. No wonder the office has been left out of key personnel debates and decisions.

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