Letter Regarding the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 in Budget and Appropriations, National Security and Defense

Chairman McCain, Chairman Thornberry, Ranking Member Reed, Ranking Member Smith, and Senator Inhofe:

As you begin conference on the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, we are reaching out to you to highlight the importance of a flexible personnel system to national security.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Task Force on Defense Personnel was convened to address the strategic and personnel challenges facing the Department of Defense. As the co-chairs of the Task Force, we worked to raise awareness of these issues and further, made numerous recommendations for meaningful reforms to both to Congress, the Administration, and the Pentagon.

As you well know, the men and women who volunteer to serve are the foundation of our military and the key to our military’s strength. But the rigid personnel and promotion systems the services currently employ to organize our service members are not optimal to serve the manpower demands placed on our modern and ever-changing military. These stiff systems have made it far too difficult for the services to recruit and retain highly-skilled talent and were designed for a bygone era. To preserve our edge, these systems require reform; to allow for the flexibility and adaptability required by our National Security Strategy.

Read the full letter.