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US Military Officials Urge Congress to Update Officer Personnel Mgmt Law

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Officials at the four U.S. service branches have called on lawmakers to change federal law that governs officer promotions across the military.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Seamands, U.S. Army personnel chief, told the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee in a written testimony that the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act of 1980 limits the flexibility that the military needs to fill officer positions, the Army said Friday.

He noted that Army leaders are studying proposed changes for the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act “to modernize the DOPMA to recruit, develop, promote and retain officers for today’s operational requirements.”

Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of U.S. Navy personnel, said that changes to DOPMA will help the Navy compete for talent and manage its workforce more effectively.

“Just as the scope and complexity of the warfighting challenges we face on the battlefield demand a different approach, so, too, does our approach to recruiting, developing, and retaining the kind of talented force we need to compete and win in this warfighting landscape,” said Burke.

Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, testified that the proposed DOPMA modernization will offer more flexibility to address human capital needs.

Lt. Gen. Michael Rocco, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs at the U.S. Marine Corps, noted that the proposed reform will create incentives needed to recruit officers with “critical skills” in cyber, information warfare, electronic warfare, intelligence and robotics, among others.

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