By Col. Mark Riccio Chief, ARCIC Initiatives GroupApril 5, 2011
The Chief of Staff of the Army recently approved a comprehensive approach to address the Army's Officer Grade Plate challenges in the Army Competitive Category with a net officer structure decrease of 816 positions.
Currently, the Force Design Directorate of the Army Capabilities Integration Center is conducting an ACC Operating Force Officer Grade Plate review in compliance with a 2009 CSA directive. In this directive, the CSA requested ARCIC to examine the disproportionate growth of majors driven in part by modularity; the growth of the Army to support OEF, OIF and others; and the growth in Joint and DOD staffs and SOF. Also, excessive promotion rates to major; long-term excess company grade officers; and earlier than historic major pin-on promotion points are to be studied.
The methodology used to achieve the target decrease consists of eliminating some positions, converting some to warrant officer or enlisted ranks, and rolling down or downgrading others to a lower grade, such as recoding from a major's to a captain's billet. As a result of the review, the operating force will add 159 captain and 600 first lieutenant positions, while the generating force will add 516 captains and 117 first lieutenant positions. Officer positions in the operating force which will be cut are 100 colonel, 341 lieutenant colonel and 818 major positions. The generating force will lose 200 colonels, 341 lieutenant colonels and 408 majors.
This review, with a net decrease of 816, will serve as the Army's down payment toward the 4,900 officer reduction in accordance with the Jan. 6 announcement by the Secretary of Defense in which Army leaders were challenged to reduce the Army's end strength by 27,000.
Reducing officer positions by 4,900 enables the Army to properly size selected year groups while reducing the size of the force. Leading this effort are ARCIC Director Lt. Gen. Michael A. Vane and FDD Director John Twohig who hosted a video teleconference General Officer Review Board on March 15 at Fort Monroe. Participants included general officers from Army commands; Army service component commands; direct reporting units; Army National Guard; Office of the Chief of Army Reserves; Headquarters, Department of the Army; U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; non-TRADOC Force Management; and functional area proponents. The purpose of the GORB was to finalize operating force officer grade adjustment recommendations for the TRADOC Commanding General's review and requirements validation. GORB recommendations achieved operating force targets within a prudent level of risk. In addition, GORB participants raised several concerns that require follow on work.
"The OGP review is not about just implementing a draw down. It is about restoring balance by realigning ranks and adjusting authorizations," Twohig said.
The historical U.S. Army leader-to-led ratio serves to illustrate this need. The officer to enlisted ratio during World War I was one officer for every 35 enlisted Soldiers. During World War II, it was one officer for every 20 enlisted; and prior to operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, it was one officer for every 12 enlisted. Over time, the number of officers to enlisted Soldiers increased due to the expansion of joint billets and the demands of fighting a two-front war.
"One of the benefits of this current officer review will be to achieve more optimum rank alignment and promotion rates by allowing the Army to become more selective," Twohig said.
The current promotion rate to major is 94 percent, to lieutenant colonel is 84 percent and to colonel, 52 percent. The target primary zone promotion rate will be 85 percent, 80 percent and 52 percent, respectively. This will bring these rates closer to the original Defense Officer Personnel Management Act promotion rates of 80 percent, 70 percent and 50 percent, again respectively.
FDD leads TRADOC in developing operational force design and structure solutions and manages the organization domain of Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership, Personnel and Facilities to support the Joint Capabilities Integration Development Systems and Army requirements determination processes.
FDD serves as the lead for JCIDS-derived organizational solutions and the Total Army Analysis process. The directorate ensures TRADOC-approved organizational products are introduced into the Army. These products include approved force design updates and changes in required force designs and force structure.
"Grade structure adjustments expand beyond the Army operating and generating forces to include Joint/Defense/SOF. This will enable the Army to provide officers with the requisite knowledge, skills and attributes to meet operational and strategic needs within an ever-tightening, resource-constrained environment," Twohig said.
Once recommendations are finalized, they will be presented to the TRADOC Commanding General to review the identified operating force ACC officer grade adjustments and net officer structure decrease. His officer grade adjustment recommendations will be provided to the Chief of Staff of the Army for his decision and probably will identify the impacts on key developmental positions for both majors and captains with respect to major position roll down.
HQDA, DCS G-3/5/7 and TRADOC, in coordination with DCS G-1, will coordinate actions for implementation by fiscal year 2014.