The Personnel Types Could Screw Up a Nocturnal Emission in a House of Ill Repute

Since a Lieutenant I have railed against the Army personnel system, whether MILPERCEN, PERSCOM, TAPA, TAPC, HRC.  Despite the numerous changes over thirty plus years they have consistently proven to be inept at personal management.  Over at Foreign Policy there is a great article today about what is wrought by the ineptness of our personnel weenies.

While I have not reviewed Tom Rick’s book the Generals yet, one complaint which I have is Rick’s fails to examine the role that statutory and regulatory changes have played a significant role in the quality of our generals.  This article is instructive towards that point.


  1. Mike Burke says:

    I've read both The Generals and the FP article. Both fail to discuss in any way the influence of flag officers picking who will work for them. The FP article- profiled- LTC got Korea, I bet, because the other guys selected for command that year had better sponsors and they got what they wanted; he did not have as good a sponsor and so did not get the assignment he expected. The FP article solution actually argues for MORE of this, not less, a terrible idea. I agree that the Army personnel system is deeply flawed, especially in wartime–that exposes all the sordid underbelly of the system. But the solutions people propose tend to fall short. Not that I have any better ones, of course, even from having worked within DA DCSPER for three years–my field was compensation, not personnel assignment policy, though I overlapped quite a bit–PCS policy was one of my areas, as were special pays of one kind or another–

  2. DaveO says:

    Townie, when considering the statutory aspect – the generals and admirals lobby Congress like every other special interest.

  3. Maj W says:

    Boy, where do I start? I spent 22 years as a G1 and retired as an Asst Chief of Staff/G1 but began my career as a 17 year old company clerk; so I’ve seen it (and done it) all. Being a paper-pusher is certainly not the sexiest job as a Marine, but I opted to "bloom where planted" and had a great career with garrison and combat tours. It is how-ever, a job were some-one who cares can make a hell-of difference to an individual’s life and career – and indeed, that’s what kept me in it.

    I can tell you there is only one reason this is happening with the personnel assets the army currently has – laziness, pure and simple laziness. I could probably spend about 20 minutes researching his branch and the officer population of it and tell you exactly how many officers were in his branch, at his grade, and due for assignment. Give me another few minutes and could have a spreadsheet built that I could work to allocate that “pending movers” group.

    There's no accounting for the times when you simply have to assign folks to crappy assignments, but that's rare. I found that a little personal attention whether it was an organizational IT change or sending a couple of my staff to the field to meet with a company 1stSgt about his company’s admin issues – corrected just about everything.

    Find the officers and staff ncos who can’t be bothered to walk an issue down the hall, spend some time after 1600 to research a solution, or make a few phone calls – and fire them.

    Finally, the administrative area is one of the most heavily codified and process driven activities in the service – when in doubt, pull the orders and find a SOLUTION, not an excuse not to act.